TNA’s advocacy program provides a voice for the small to medium and independent performing arts sectors through:

  • Policy campaigns;
  • Meetings with the Australia Council, Creative Victoria and other state agencies;
  • Liaison with and advocacy to politicians and their advisors;
  • Representing issues to the Meeting of Cultural Ministers;
  • Representation of the sector in the media;

In Victoria, TNA works with colleagues on the Arts Industry Council Victoria (AICV) to ensure that the arts is highly valued and is well supported by government. We work to increase support for the small to medium and independent sectors in particular, which contribute to Victoria’s vitality, yet are vulnerable to financial insecurity.

TNA is actively involved with national arts advocacy, working with our colleagues in other service organisations to achieve better support for the performing arts across Australia. These include Artfront (Feral Arts), the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), Performing Arts Connections Australia (PAC Australia), Blakfella Performing Arts Alliance (BPAA), the Performing Arts Touring Alliance (PATA), Ausdance National, and BlakDance.

We also maintain a close working relationships with our peers in each state including: Theatre Network NSW.

Theatre Network Australia's work

Theatre Network Australia has been working on Addressing Sexual Harassment on behalf of the performing arts sector since late 2017, sharing information and representing the small to medium and independent sectors in particular.

As with all successful programs of cultural change, multiple initiatives will be required over the coming years, from strong and appropriate legislative frameworks; to a comprehensive, transparent and effectively utilised backbone of policy and procedure; to peer-to-peer campaigns that promote respect, inclusivity and responsibility and make these the accepted norms amongst theatre workers.

In Victoria, TNA is represented on an arts-wide industry working group designated by Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley, and we have been attending national roundtables and meetings with various stakeholders including Live Performance Australia, who are finalising a sector wide code to be adopted by the performing arts.

On 23rd March a group of 47 people from across the theatre sector released a joint communique about the inaugural Safe Theatres Forum that took place on the 18th and 19th of March 2018 on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne. TNA was represented by Executive Director Nicole Beyer. 

Download the full communique here: Joint statement- Shared commitment to cultural change in the theatre sector.

At the Safe Theatres Forum, TNA committed to undertake 10 actions:

1. Information and Communications to the sector using our existing resource library and databases.

2. Support and collaboration with Safe Theatres Australia.

3. Facilitate ongoing conversations with sub-sectors including Circus and Physical Theatre, Dance, Youth Theatre and Theatre for Young Audiences.

4. Advocate for a sector wide Employee Assistance Program for those small to medium companies and independent artists without capacity to manage or access their own.

5. Advocacy around easing the burden of reporting for small organisations and project based collectives.

6. Work with other partners on Best Practice toolkits, guides and resources.

7. Assist other partners with one-pagers and summaries of other codes and guides, in particular of the Live Performance Australia Code when it is final.

8. Run or assist other partners with running face-to-face forums, especially for small to medium companies and indies – explaining the industry standard, discussing ways that smaller companies and indies can comply. (Meetings planned to date for Victoria, Hobart and Darwin). 

9. Organise peer to peer meetings for dialogue on issues specific to sub-sectors. Also act as a broker between resources provided by agencies and major companies for the small to medium and independent sectors.

10. Feedback input to LPA on draft Code and work with LPA to promote and distribute Code. (The forum agreed to adopt the final LPA Code as the industry code.) 

TNA will also: assist with following-up actions and implementation status of partners and update regularly as needed in partnership with Safe Theatres Australia; and consult the group/sector in one year to schedule a reconvening.

Check the TNA Events page for upcoming meetings and forums.

Tasmanian Performing Arts Sector Communique

On November 17th, 2017, Theatre Network Australia and Tasmania Performs brought together a group of performing artists and companies, venues and festivals in Hobart to explore the critical factors affecting the performing arts sector in Tasmania.

As part of this event, a number of critical issues and problems were identified:

  • Lack of recognition of the value of artists’ contribution to the State’s brand and reputation as a cultural leader and their economic input (including foregone income).
  • Limited access to funding and other support so as to capitalise on increased opportunities provided by new arts festivals and events around the state– the ‘pool’ of government funding is relatively small and shrinking, the ‘competition’ for resources (from government, business, donors, audiences) is increasing.
  • Little informed criticism of work produced and presented in Tasmania, which inhibits growth and development.
  • Limited opportunities for creative exchange, especially with colleagues in other states as the costs of travelling are beyond capacity of most artists and companies.
  • Because of the poor financial return, many artists lack time to devote to their creative work due to other pressures and responsibilities.
  • The costs of creating, producing and presenting work – venue hire, staff, promotions and marketing, advertising, etc – are considerable impediments and mean that artists’ time and energies are often diverted to more practical and administrative than creative tasks.
  • Inadequate recognition of the mental health issues faced by artists, exacerbated by financial struggles.
  • To date, there has been no opportunity to include childcare costs for artists in Arts Tasmania grant applications (though Arts Tasmania’s new guidelines allow for child care costs to be included in a funding request).

Download the full communique for more information.


TNA Director, Nicole Beyer, recently stepped down as Convenor of ArtsPeak, the confederation of 33 national arts peak bodies, after being actively involved in ArtsPeak for several years.

ArtsPeak promotes the value of the arts in Australia and supports growth, development and sustainability through purposeful advocacy.



ArtsPeak drives the national debate in innovation, creativity and arts industry development. ArtsPeak functions as a confederation of Australia’s peak arts organisations collaborating with other sector organisations and artists.

Catalyst Fund Scrapped by Coalition

From The Australian, Matthew Westwood, 18 March 2017.

“The Turnbull government has bowed to pressure from the cultural sector and will scrap a controversial arts “slush fund” that stripped millions of dollars from the independent Australia Council and threw arts companies into turmoil.

…The funding “reset” will see $61 million from the Catalyst fund returned to the Australia Council from next financial year, ending almost two years of upheaval in federal arts subsidies.

Arts Minister Mitch Fifield said the government had listened to concerns of the arts sector. “It’s clear that there were lessons to be learnt and we’ve learnt them,” he said yesterday.

The Department of Communications and the Arts, which ran Catalyst, will retain $2m a year for cultural programs but “Catalyst as we know it will be concluded”.

Former arts minister George Brandis established the fund in 2015 as the National Program for Excellence in the Arts, a move that blindsided the Australia Council and was condemned by the Opposition as a ministerial “slush fund”. The program removed more than $100m across four years from the Australia Council, forcing the agency to downsize and scrap grant programs.”

I Stand With The Arts

The four year funding announcements in May 2016 had a devastating impact in the small to medium sector, illustrating exactly what the sector feared when then Minister George Brandis took $104 million from the Australia Council (reduced to $72million when new Minister Fifield returned some of the funding). 62 organisations have lost multi-year funding in total in this round, and many others were affected.

The total amount of funding now allocated on a recurrent basis, to small to medium organisations, is less than what used to be available to this sector across a variety of investment streams, not just through the key organisations program.


Theatre Network Australia urges the following:

  1. That an additional $21.25 million per year be added to the Australia Council for the Arts’ budget to cover unfunded excellence, as recommended in the Angus James and Gabrielle Trainor Review of the Australia Council (2012).[2]
  2. That all political parties articulate their policies on arts and culture, and outline how they see the arts contributing to Australia’s future.


Free the Arts

#freethearts was a campaign in response to Former Federal Arts Minister George Brandis pulling $104.8 million from the Australia Council, over four years, to start a National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA) run by the Ministry for the Arts.

The sector’s actions brought about a return of most of the money to the Australia Council, and the essential closing down of the Catalyst program.



TNA director, Nicole Beyer, and her colleagues across Australia, including Tamara Winikoff (NAVA) and Norm Horton and Sarah Moynihan (Feral Arts), worked tirelessly on the campaign, informing the sector about progress, liaising with MPs and Senators, facilitating media coverage, and continually urging the sector to speak up.

Performing Arts Touring

We advocate for changes that make the touring system fairer for artists and producers. We do this through our roles and partnerships with Performing Arts Touring Alliance (PATA), APACA and VAPAC (the presenters associations), and with the Regional Arts peak bodies.

Performing Arts Touring Alliance (PATA)

The Performing Arts Touring Alliance (PATA) has emerged through the cooperation of a number of key stakeholders in the touring sector, working together to for a stronger national performing arts touring sector. TNA’s Director, Nicole Beyer, has been a Councillor on PATA since 2013.


In April 2009, a governing council was established consisting of three representatives from each of the identified touring sub-sectors (producers, presenters, tour coordinators) as well as an observer from each of these groups. An independent Chair was appointed and the project is managed by an Executive Officer.

In 2013, an action plan for the sector was developed at a national forum, with the aim of “fostering a more dynamic, sustainable and diverse touring environment that actively engages audiences.”

Five priorities came out of the forum:

  1. Selection mechanisms
  2. Communities and audiences
  3. Policy, planning and professional development
  4. Relationships
  5. Finance and evaluation

Priority one (selection mechanisms), has been the focus of the work of PATA in 2014-2016. This included the shift of governance of Long Paddock to PATA; supporting a more relationship-based Performing Arts Exchange (PAX run by APACA); and running an Expression of Interest process that endorsed a new market for tour ready work – Show Broker in Adelaide (27 Feb to 1 March, 2017).

Go Pitch Strategy

In 2014, at Showcase Victoria, TNA Director Nicole Beyer proposed a new strategy and focus, under the banner of a GO PITCH strategy, to encourage and support new independent work onto more stages nationally. Go Pitch has since been introduced in Victoria for Showcase Victoria (funded by Creative Vic) and at the national Showbroker market.


We recommend that elements of the strategy could include:

  • Independent producers and artists who are pitching work are given free registration for the event, in recognition that they have no core funding to cover such costs.
  • A ‘Go Pitch’ fund (similar to the ‘Go See’ fund for presenters), as currently the economic model does not provide incentives or support for unsalaried artists to present (or travel).
  • A re-orienting of the showcasing models, to include the aim of getting new companies in the mix.
  • More resources and professional development for new producers – such as the Victorian annual touring forum rolled out nationally.
  • Support for presenters to attend in-situ festivals and premier seasons of work – not just the Go See fund, which is underutilised, but facilitation of it – perhaps a brokering system.
    – In 2015 a Go Pitch fund was introduced by Creative Victoria, running for Showcase Vic in 2015 and 2016. The fund provided a small bursary to offset the costs of travel to and pitching work at the Showcase event.

– In 2015 and 2016, the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association (APACA) secured some funding from state arts funding agencies to support the travel costs of artists and companies who had been selected to pitch work. In 2016, Keynote Speaker John Knell gave a platform for the issue in his presentation, and encouraged further discussion.

– In 2017, Showbroker in Adelaide introduced a Go Pitch funding pool for  producers successful in attaining a pitch at this inaugural national marketplace.

Theatre Network Australia will continue to work with partners to ensure that the increasingly vibrant and independent work that is being presented in venues and festivals across Australia is properly supported.

November 2017
Creative State Strategy - Progress Report

Creative State is the Victorian Government’s four-year strategy to grow Victoria’s creative industries and the contribution they make to Victoria. Its 40 actions vary in complexity and focus. Some are about getting the foundations right for success, some address longstanding gaps, and others seek to create bold new opportunities.

…Some interventions have been swiftly and simply actioned, others require further consultation and input from the sector and other partners….

Read the Progress Report for updates on each of the actions.



Together they work to strengthen our state’s creative landscape from the ground up; providing increased opportunities for those who work in our creative sectors – at all levels – and those who benefit from, or enjoy, the fruits of their labours.

The process for implementing these actions varies too. Some interventions have been swiftly and simply actioned, others require further consultation and input from the sector and other partners. Like the development of the strategy, the implementation of Creative State is underpinned by collaboration with the voice of Victoria’s at its core.

I invite you to explore the 40 Creative State actions and learn about their implementation. This information will continue to be updated to reflect the progress and impact of the strategy.

If you have any feedback or ideas about Creative State or any of the individual actions, please get in touch via the feedback section of this website.

Martin Foley
Minister for Creative Industries & Chair of the Creative State Advisory Board

May 2016
Creative State Advisory Board

Chaired by Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley, The Creative State Advisory Board has been appointed to provide advice on aspects of strategy and implementation in support of Victoria’s new Creative Industries Strategy, Creative State. TNA’s Nicole Beyer serves on the board.


The board will work across Government, with Creative Victoria and with Victoria’s creative industries sector to advise on the development and delivery of new priorities. It will debate, prioritise and take a leadership role in implementing government policy to ensure the success of Creative State.

The Creative State Advisory Board will comprise 12 members appointed for an initial three-year period.

Board members include:
Nicole Beyer (Director, Theatre Network Australia)
Robert Connolly (Film Director, Producer, Screenwriter)
Richard Frankland (Filmmaker, Artist, Head Of Wilin Centre, VCA)
Ella Hooper (Singer-songwriter, Radio Presenter, TV Personality)
Graeme Lewsey (CEO, Melbourne Fashion Festival)
Alice Nash (Executive Producer and Co-CEO, Back To Back Theatre)
Tony Reed (CEO, Game Developers Association Australia)
Katrina Sedgwick (Director/CEO, Australian Centre For The Moving Image)
Melis Senova (Founder and Managing Director, Huddle Design)
Kate Torney (Chief Executive, State Library Victoria)
Peter Tullin (Cultural entrepreneur and co-founder, & REMIX Summits)
Marcus Westbury (Broadcaster, Writer, Media-Maker, Festival Director, CEO)

May 2016
Victorian Government: Creative State

Creative State is Victoria’s first creative industries strategy. With more than $115 million in new funding, Creative State is designed to grow Victoria’s $23 billion creative and cultural economy, turbocharge local creative enterprises, create new jobs and employment opportunities, and bring social and cultural benefits to Victorians.

December 2015
TNV Creative Industries Strategy Submission

During 2015, TNV lobbied for a performing arts representative and an Arts Industry Council representative to be included in the Expert Reference Group. We wrote a TNV Creative Industries Strategy Submission for the small to medium and independent sectors.


We pursued this through consultation workshops, meetings with Taskforce and Reference Group members, and meetings with Minister Martin Foley. The Taskforce Report is now public, and TNV will ensure that throughout 2016, we support a budget bid for funding to support the new Creative Industries Strategy.

Arts Industry Council Vic

The Arts Industry Council of Victoria (AICV) is the State’s independent voice for the arts. AICV was established as a non-profit peak body in 1989 to enable all sectors of arts activity in Victoria to speak with a common voice.

AICV now operates as an alliance of 12 Victorian based peak bodies, providing advice to Creative Victoria and the Creative Industries Minister, seeking sector input from a membership of over 1000 artists and organisations, and developing policy positions on arts and creative industries issues as they arise.


The current Council is:
Anne Robertson, Executive Officer, Public Galleries Association Victoria
Joe Toohey, Director, Regional Arts Victoria
Jenny Ryssenbeek, Executive Officer, Victorian Association of Performing Arts Centres
Andy Miller, General Manager, Multicultural Arts Victoria (AICV Co-convenor)
Angela Savage, Director, Writers Victoria
Laura Miles
, Executive Director, Museums Australia (Victoria)
Michelle Silby, 
Executive Director and CEO, Ausdance Victoria (AICV Co-convenor)
Nicole Beyer, Director, Theatre Network Australia 
Patrick Donovan
, CEO, Music Victoria
Veronica Pardo
, Executive Director, Arts Access Victoria 

AICV Manifesto:

We believe that…

  • everyone has the right to participate in and enjoy the arts;
  • the arts are integral to Australian life;
  • arts practice has profound intrinsic value;
  • a healthy, sustainable arts sector makes a vital contribution towards stronger communities and enhanced health & wellbeing;
  • a vigorous and stimulating society is as dependent upon a healthy, sustainable arts sector as it is on healthy, sustainable economic, social and cultural sectors;
  • government and the private sector have a responsibility to support and assist the arts sector.

We support…

  • ‘arms length’ public support for the arts;
  • the involvement of peers in policy development, program design and the distribution of public funds;
  • the development of a ‘whole of government’ cultural framework within which arts and all other policies can be integrated;
  • clear, fair and transparent processes for the selection of peers;
  • clear, fair and transparent processes in the distribution of public funds;
  • the growth of a national network of state and territory based arts sector peak bodies.

We pursue these things by…

  • providing a focal point for discussion, debate and action;
  • consulting with our membership and with other artists & arts workers;
  • consulting and engaging with all levels of government, their agencies, the private & corporate sectors and with the broader community

We urge all artists and arts workers to join us in these pursuits.