Australian Theatre Forum 2009

Theme: What will we do now?

May 14 – 16, 2009
Arts House, Meat Market, North Melbourne

This site summarises the original 2009 Australian Theatre Forum website and is included here for archival purposes.

Overview of 2009 Forum

On May 14th, 15th and 16th in Melbourne’s Arts House Meat Market there was a unique gathering of Australia’s theatre practitioners, producers, presenters and commentators to explore the urgent issues of our time and imagine possible futures for the Australian theatre sector. This forum was the first time the theatre sector got together in this way for over 20 years and it was hoped that this would be the first of a regular biennale forum hosted by different cities and towns across Australia.

With the intention of making sure that what needed to get talked about did, we radically departed from the traditional conference model and used instead Open Space, a self organising conferencing method for a full day of the conference, facilitated by Improbable Theatre.

Over the three days, five outstanding international and Australian speakers gave keynotes that struck a chord on future thinking on the big issues at the marathon opening night dinner, with speed dating opportunities for people and their work, confessionals on the failures, facilitated action planning and of course parties in the fabulous Melbourne bars.

Australia’s cultural luminaries – presenters, commentators, academics, producers and artists were actively engaged as respondents before, during and after the conference, including Robyn Archer, Stephen Armstrong, Vallejo Gantner, Bruce Gladwin, Chris Mead and Fiona Winning.

Who was invited? Delegates from Major Performing Arts Organisations, Key Organisations, Major Festivals and Venues, independent producers and project funded companies. Registration fees were scaled according to company turnover. To ensure that there were people coming from the full breadth and depth of the sector, each of the funded companies could also invite an independent artist (at no registration cost) from outside their company. Delegates had to meet their own travel and accommodation costs.

“Talk about and take action with your colleagues on the things that matter to you most.”

“Leading speakers and practitioners in social capital, cultural production and creation, human rights and the environment.”

The 2009 ATF used Open Space for Day Two. The resulting report (250 pages) is the direct write-ups by the delegates, during the Open Space session. Because it is 250 pages, it takes about 20 seconds to download!