When you consider that less than $1million funding has been allocated to support theatre activity in Tasmania compared to the many millions of dollars given by the government to support Australian Rules football and horse racing it is easy to see that sport is considered to be more important than art and culture.
While I am sure that the theatre companies that have received funding do a good job with the funding they receive, the limited number of projects/shows they produce results in only a small number of actors, directors, playwrights, theatre technicians etc being employed in this industry and only a small number of productions for the general public to see.
Yes there are shows put on at the Theatre Royal but the ticket prices of these shows are, on the whole, very expensive and out of the reach of many Tasmanians. In addition, many of these shows are from interstate theatre companies and therefore do little to support Tasmanian theatre professionals. Over the past three years the Tasmanian Theatre Company (TTC) has provided the general public the opportunity to see a number of productions, written and performed by Tasmanian theatre practitioners, at an affordable price.
In addition to its theatre productions, the Tasmanian Theatre Company (TTC) provides activities that, to my knowledge no other Tasmanian Theatre company provides. Through TTC’s play readings, opportunities are provided for playwrights to receive feedback from actors, directors and attending audiences which contributes to the further development of work with the final outcome for some being progression to full production with set, costumes, sound and lighting etc.
The TTC established and provides ongoing support for training for professional Stage Managers and provides assistance for emerging Tasmanian theatre companies and practitioners through its Associates Program.
With some additional funding from corporate sponsors, the TTC provides support to a number of community groups, e.g.:
• Second Echo Ensemble (performers with and without disabilities);
• Generations Ensemble Theatre (elderly from Northern suburbs of Hobart);
• Theatre skills workshops (Risdon Prison); and
• Schools Tours of a play dealing with issues around bullying.
With the demise of the TTC will we see the above mentioned community groups/activities also cease to exist along with the training program for State Managers and will our young upcoming theatre practitioners have to leave the state to gain employment in this industry?
Earlier on Tasmanian Times: What Does the Community Lose if the Tasmanian Theatre Company Closes? Damian Bugg responds ...