Music, News & Commentary, Stage

By George! Brandis wrong again on arts touring

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Earlier this year at Senate estimates, Arts Minister George Brandis made the following claim, defending his decision to rip $105 million from the Australia Council’s discretionary fund to create his own National Program for Excellence in the Arts:

… let us not forget that the major performing arts companies are the heart and soul of the performing arts sector in this country. They are the big employers of artists and arts workers. They are the people who undertake most of the touring, including the regional touring, as well as the international touring. They are the people who provide the performances that the great audiences of Australia enjoy.”

There are a few claims in that statement which are questionable, but the notion that the 28 major performing arts companies (whose funding is all quarantined under Brandis’ changes) are responsible for the most touring is clearly false.
Ben Eltham and Joely Mitchell crunched the numbers at Crikey and found that small-to-medium companies are responsible for the vast majority of international touring. Small-to-medium companies are responsible for drawing a staggering 82% of audiences for international tours supported by the Australia Council. The major performing arts companies are responsible for just 18% and one smaller company, Circa, drew a larger audience for its international tours over the last four years than the entire major performing arts sector.
Read the full story at Crikey

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