As a passionate and committed supporter of the Arts we want to make sure that you are aware of the shock news that was released last Thursday (5th December). In Australia, there will no longer be a federal Ministry for the Arts. Instead, the Arts will now fall under the new Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, which among other things will oversee road and rail.
This sends a message that erodes the importance of the Arts in all of our lives. The statistics tell a different story though; did you know that you are amongst the 86% of Australians that visit a cultural institution or event each year? That’s double the amount that attend a sporting event. And you are among the 18.7 million people that attend a live performance event in Australia each year which more than the combined attendances at AFL, cricket, NBL, NRL, soccer, and Super Rugby.
The Arts, despite losing 9% of federal funding over the last 5 years continues to make a significant contribution to the economy. The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics results demonstrate that creative and cultural activity contributes $112 billion dollars a year to the Australian economy which equals 6.4% of GDP, outranking Britain, the US, Spain and Canada.
We want to thank you for supporting an industry that builds empathy, improves health and aids social cohesion. We are proud to be part of an industry that increases divergent thinking and allows us to examine who we are. Theatre can throw a light on history and help us to look towards the future. It brings us together. It builds and strengthens communities. It is fun, thrilling and transformative.
Art is essential.
So, what can you do? Encourage friends and family to join you at the theatre, especially if they haven’t been before. Be an advocate for the Arts being accessible to all in your own community. And please contact your local member and tell them why the Arts are important to you.
And what will we do? We promise to keep filling the theatre with laughter, standing ovations and extraordinary talent. We will keep telling vital and relevant stories.
We can’t wait to see you at Cloudstreet. I’ll leave you with some words spoken by Tim Winton about the inspiration at the heart of the playscript of Cloudstreet:
“And the breeze at its back was not nostalgia.
It was moral aspiration.
The hope for better times and better ways.
It was a yearning to go forward together.”