Limelight Magazine is delighted to have received a grant from the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism & Ideas as part of its initiative to support freelancers and casual contributors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute will continue to award grants on a rolling basis, with new grantees to be announced soon.

Limelight will use the financial support to employ three freelance writers – Deborah Jones, Lynden Barber and Dr Nick Gordon – to write a weekly column about digital highlights in dance, film/television and visual arts, respectively. Their pieces will accompany weekly columns by Limelight editorial staff about classical music, opera and theatre/musical theatre to help readers discover some of the gems among the overwhelming amount of arts material now available online.

Dr Nick Gordon, Deborah Jones and Lynden Barber

Deborah Jones is a writer and critic specialising in dance, with an honours degree in Drama from the University of Newcastle. A former, long-serving Arts Editor of The Australian newspaper, she is currently the paper’s national dance critic. She is also the Sydney correspondent for the London-based Opera magazine and is a regular contributor to The Australian Ballet’s theatre programs. She has previously written several dance features for Limelight.

Dr Nick Gordon is a cultural historian, lecturer and artist. He holds a University Medal and PhD from the University of Sydney and has more than 15 years’ experience as a lecturer on topics ranging from the classical world to modern and contemporary art in Australia and abroad. He regularly travels around the world, curating small group tours to galleries and art fairs – which he looks forward to doing again when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Lynden Barber is a Sydney-based freelance film and television critic, and a lecturer in screen studies. Ordinarily, he writes a monthly column of film reviews for Limelight Magazine – though the printed version is not currently being published due to the impact of the coronavirus. He is a regular contributor to the National Film and Sound Archive’s Australian Screen Online website. He was Artistic Director of the Sydney Film Festival in 2005 and 2006, and is a former film writer for The Australian and former film reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald.

With theatre, concert halls and galleries closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, artists and arts organisations are producing digital material to maintain a connection with audiences, and provide entertainment and culture for people in what are very challenging times.

There is now so much available that it’s hard to know where to start. Hence the new series of Limelight columns, supported by the Judith Neilson Institute, which will be published daily on our website from Monday April 27. We will cover Classical Music each Monday, Theatre/Musical Theatre on Tuesday, Dance on Wednesday, Visual Arts on Thursday, and both Opera and Film/Television on Friday. Our writers will choose a selection of highlights, which will be available to watch online the following week, and provide background information and a critical insight to the pieces they have chosen.

Seeing concerts, opera, theatre, dance and exhibitions online is a very different experience to seeing them live. It’s less visceral, less immediate, and you inevitably miss being in a venue and sharing the experience as part of an audience. However, while venues are closed, it’s a terrific way to keep in touch with the arts organisations that you love, and to discover new works and other companies. What’s more, a camera can take you close up, and give you a different insight.

Arts organisations and artists are thinking laterally and creatively with the new digital material they are producing – so there is much to enjoy. We hope that our weekly columns will be a valuable resource for our readers, and help promote the companies and artists featured.