Melbourne’s Platform Youth Theatre, established in 1998, this week announced it will close its doors, due to insufficient funds.
In an email sent to the company’s database, company manager Rose Godde wrote:
“The demise of this long standing youth arts resource has come about within the context of significant shifts in Federal funding priorities and cuts – more specifically the extinction of priority funding for youth and young emerging artist programs at the Australia Council for The Arts.
“We do not have the reserves to continue and like many others who applied to Creative Victoria for Organisation Investment Funding 2017 – 2020, we were not successful.”
In December last year, the Australia Council withdrew its support from 10 of its 13 previously funded youth arts organisations. The Abbott/Turnbull governments’ sweeping cuts to the Australia Council forced the body to reorganise its priorities, which left youth-focused companies out in the cold.
“The impact of Australia’s youth arts community is almost too great to measure. People like Nicole Kidman, Paul Capsis, Toni Collette, Michael Gow, Hugo Weaving, Rose Byrne, Rebel Wilson, Wesley Enoch, Deborah Mailman, Tommy Murphy, Alana Valentine, Baz Luhrmann, Cate Blanchett and Jacki Weaver are amongst the thousands that have been supported by youth theatre companies…
Unless something changes urgently I suspect we will see more than half of the nation’s youth theatre companies disappear over the coming three years. The impact of that loss will then resonate for years to come.”
In its 18 years of operation, Platform Youth Theatre provided opportunities for hundreds of 16- to 26-year-olds, with a focus on marginalised young people (recent migrants, young people with disabilities and at risk youth). The company had been nominated for Green Room Awards and won an Australian Writers Guild Award.