Eight new organisations are to join the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework in an important milestone for Australia’s creative and cultural sector. This marks the first time an organisation from the Northern Territory and regional organisations from Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria have been included in the Framework.

Dancenorth’s Tectonic. Photograph © Amber Haines

The new entrants are Artback NT (Darwin, Northern Territory), Back to Back Theatre (Geelong, Victoria), Dancenorth Australia (Townsville, Queensland), Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney, New South Wales), Ilbijerri (Melbourne, Victoria), Marrugeku Inc (Broome, Western Australia), Terrapin Puppet Theatre (Hobart, Tasmania), and Windmill (Adelaide, South Australia).

Their addition brings the number of arts organisation supported by the Partnership Framework to 38.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the NPAP Framework would provide vital support to these leading performing arts companies.

“These eight new organisations will significantly broaden the scope of the Partnership Framework and reflect the importance of arts and culture being for all Australians, not just those in the inner-city areas of our capital cities,” said Minister Fletcher.

The National Performing Arts Partnership (NPAP) Framework is a collaboration with states and territories administered through the Australia Council, which aims to bring more diversity and innovation to our national performing arts organisations. It replaced the Australian Major Performing Arts Organisation (AMPA) Framework in 2019. At that time, two companies joined the Framework, Circa and Victorian Opera.

Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette AM said the eight new Partnership organisations represented the potential of the new Framework to reflect and promote the diversity of Australian performing artists and organisations.

“It’s wonderful to see more opportunities for our performing arts companies, including those delivering innovative and important works in our regional communities, to join the national Partnership Framework which will help to build a stronger, more sustainable and vibrant performing arts sector for the benefit of all Australians,” said Collette.

“The new entrants exemplify the diversity of artistic excellence and imagination that was envisaged for the new Partnership Framework. We have worked closely and collaboratively with our colleagues in state and territory governments to bring this vision to life.”

“They include our first national partnership organisation from the Northern Territory, and the first organisations based in regional areas, making the new Partnership Framework a truly national undertaking embracing our most remote First Nations communities through to our regional centres and major cities.”

Dancenorth Artistic Director Kyle Page said that today’s announcement marked a significant achievement for the contemporary dance company and that it acknowledged a regional arts revolution playing out across the nation.

“Australia is filled with extraordinary, regionally based organisations doing incredible work and we feel immensely fortunate to work alongside our colleagues around the country as ambassadors for regional arts,” said Page.

“What I am most excited about is the expanded focus to include more voices in the national Framework, particularly voices that don’t reside in capital cities. There is this growing sense that ‘regional is the new international’ which is a really beautiful way to crystalise a more thoughtful approach to art-making and inclusion.”

“We are deeply committed to engaging with regional artists and audiences, honouring the communities with whom we collaborate and anchoring everything we do in a unique sense of place.”

“People often remark that Townsville feels like an unusual place for a contemporary dance company to exist; for that reason, perhaps, it is the most important place for it to exist,” added Page.

“We honour this place by imbuing the creative process with our environment and previewing all our works in Townsville before they’re seen elsewhere.”

Symphony Services Australia (SSA) welcomed the eight new entrants to the APAP Framework. SSA provides support and services to Australia’s six symphony orchestras, the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, which are long-time members of the Framework.

Kate Lidbetter, CEO of Symphony Services Australia said: “We are excited to see the National Performing Arts Partnership framework broadened and extended to include companies based in regional Australia, reflecting through their work the diversity of this country. We congratulate all of the new entrants to the framework.”

Lidbetter noted that the National Performing Arts Framework provides important stability for arts organisations. “The past year has been challenging for the performing arts, so it’s timely to have good news in the sector. We look forward to hearing more from these eight exciting companies.”

Further information on the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework here

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