Rehearsals to restart along with grants to give arts a lift

Rehearsals to restart along with grants to give arts a lift

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The theatre industry in Victoria will get a lockdown lift with the announcement that rehearsals for major productions can resume at the same time as the state government announced a new $15 million support package.

Creative Industries Minister Danny Pearson confirmed on Saturday that major productions would be able to start rehearsals so they would be ready to open their doors when restrictions eased.

The move came after some of Melbourne’s major performing arts companies warned they may not be able to reopen as anticipated by the state government’s road map because they could not rehearse or build sets in advance.

Mr Pearson said the move followed consultation between government departments and the industry.

“We’ve now been able to establish the capacity for our national performing arts companies to be able to access that rehearsal bubble,” he said.

“This is a really important step because in order to be able to perform your art, create, perform when restrictions open up, you’ve got to make sure that your artists have had the capacity to be able to try and rehearse.

“This is something that has just recently occurred through the revised directions, and that will be a really important first step to enable artists to be able to come out of that quickly and be able to respond and get back to what they do best.”

Mr Pearson said the changes would apply to large groups such as the Melbourne Theatre Company and the Australian Ballet.

“It’s about allowing them to get back to doing what they do best,” he said.

Victoria will also provide $15 million to support the creative industry through grants to workers and organisations as they cope with the state’s prolonged shutdown.

The funding is split into two packages.

Individual workers and micro-businesses can apply for one-off grants to develop new work, undertake professional development or reach new audiences.

Grants of up to $5000 will be available to individuals including sole traders and freelancers. Collectives, micro-organisations and business will be able to apply for grants of up to $10,000.

A further $10 million will be available for larger organisations of state significance. These will include festivals, performing arts companies and others.

“There’ll be money that will go directly to some of the creative organisations so it might be for example the Abbotsford convent, it might be Bakehouse, it could be the Footscray Community Arts Centre,” Mr Pearson said.

“The creative sector is a rich and diverse sector, it’s a huge ecosystem of talent right on our doorstep. This is a really targeted, focused approach to people who, for example, might not have been able to apply for example, for business support because they’re not a business, they might not have been provided support because they’re not a venue.

“This is about artists practitioners at the coalface being able to be access involved, and support to keep them going at a really challenging time.”

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