THE AUSTRALIAN, APRIL 11, 2016, Michaela Boland.
Almost half the nation’s mid-size arts companies are looking down the barrel of losing federal funding after their epic bid last year failed to prevent government cuts to the Australia Council grants system.
In five weeks, the winners and losers will be revealed when, from May 9, the federal funder begins telling grant applicants whether they were successful in securing core funding for the next four years.
Nicole Beyer, the director of Theatre Network Australia, said: “The mood of the entire sector is extremely anxious, not just those who have applied for funding, but also individual artists and major companies, too, because the whole sector is interrelated. Companies work together a lot.
“Essentially, $12 million a year is now missing from the Australia Council’s programs in total.”
Some 130 small-to-mid-sized arts companies are expected to have reapplied, alongside some newcomers, for what the Australia Council calls key organisation funding.
Successful companies use the money to underpin their day-to-day activities with grants worth $75,000 to $300,000 a year over four years.
Beyer said the Australia Council had told applicants that only 60 per cent of them would emerge as winners next month — about 60 to 80 organisations.
Existing key organisations are funded to the end of this year; the new money announced next month will come into effect from January.
The Australia Council website says applications have closed and companies can reapply in 2019.
Key organisations include companies catering to kids such as theatre troupe Snuff Puppets; others work with prisoners and publish poetry, like Red Room Company; Wangaratta Jazz Festival is a popular event; and Townsville troupe Dancenorth is one of the nation’s two professional regional dance companies.
Australia Council funding was partly redirected towards a new scheme, Catalyst, administered by the Arts Ministry, but first-round announcements are overdue.
Three successful applicants were announced in February, but more applicants with projects ready to roll after April 1 have still not been announced.