Outcomes – Ten Priority Areas For Action

This site summarises the original 2011 Australian Theatre Forum website and is included here for archival purposes.

The delegates of the Australian Theatre Forum 2011 commit to and call on individuals, organisations and agencies involved in theatre in Australia to commit to:

=> Strengthening Young People and Theatre

Increasing the scope of theatre and young people, particularly on main stages; increasing access to theatre for young people; embedding non-assessed arts experiences in National Curriculum and sharing best practice engagement with young people as decision makers.

=> Embracing Environmental Sustainability

Venues to develop environmental strategies; companies to adopt ‘green ticket’ strategies – free or cheap for audiences who walk, ride or use public transport (and promote in program and PR); artists to ask for green tickets in contract negotiation; more workshops for sharing Green Plans; Theatre Network Australia website to share information, successes, case studies; lobby educational institutions; idea for a national survey show of green work.

=> Better and More Efficient Managing

Request a status report on inter-governmental reporting framework “Road to Harmony” to streamline reporting requirements; set up a skills sharing network to share information-“Go Meet”; develop case studies of best practice administration and producing hubs; develop a Who’s Who of independent producers (Independent Producers Association); invite “innovator experts” to advise on better arts business practice; development of, and lobbying for professional best practice standards that include superannuation, long service, leave, theatre-specific work cover.

=> Taking up Digital + NBN Opportunities

Continue to create digital tools to support production process and creative collaboration; create a closed Ning (online shared space) platform for sector to share knowledge and information; call for R&D into available applications to improve remote collaboration; share copyright + IP clauses for contracts involving digital work; promote case studies of previous digital broadcasts of live works – best practice + pain!; professional development – “Be ready to use the NBN when it reaches you. Add ‘Digital’ as a checkbox to all your planning and creativity.” ATF 2013 Online?

=> Developing New Ideas for Touring

Support new diverse touring models (e.g. through PATA); Review funding processes to improve harmony and flexibility; encourage deeper and earlier engagement – residencies, advance tours, etc; sharing resources with communities (e.g. not freighting); rethink why we tour.

=> Arts Action – politics + money

In the new National Cultural Policy, call for: policy to include improved arts stats by ABS, cultural citizenship and values, the value of art in and of itself, real inclusivity, role of professional arts practice, $30 million playing the world fund, more artists and arts managers on Government boards, Bipartisan promotion of Cultural Policy.

=> Strengthening Partnerships and Networking

Develop a digital tool to share resources and information, to reactivate national community, to make personnel exchanges and unusual connections, to highlight case studies. Investigate a National Development Pool of funds for multi-partner collaborations, co-commissions and co-developments. Support an Australian Theatre Network.

=> Mixing it Up – Commitment to Diversity in Theatre

Develop a pledge that theatre community can adopt that commits to diversity; pilot “Inclusivity Officer” program at Australia Council; collate and promote case studies; resource and celebrate existing inclusive work.

=> Supporting Independent Practice

Investigate new building development percent-for-art legislation in each state and lobby for allocation to LIVE ARTS; audit current resources and existing models of the independent sector state by state – to feedback to existing lobby groups and funding bodies; aim to increase funding and resource sharing; a proposal from independent sector for an artist stipend in the National Cultural Policy.

=> Valuing Creativity and Imagination

News ways to encourage time and space for thinking; next ATF to include provocateurs from outside sector, and a full creative strand; venues to support unconditional residencies (no determined outcomes); more residencies and secondments in non-arts environments; house swaps; more time for Artistic Directors to meet and talk.


Images of the 2011 Australian Theatre Forum courtesy of Sean Young. (See all of the 2011 Forum’s fabulous faces here.)


The Australian Theatre Forum has submitted a formal response to the National Cultural Policy discussion paper, on behalf of the delegates, based on outcomes from the Forum.



Urgent conversations. Compelling ideas. Inspiring vision.

Professional theatre makers and artsworkers from around Australia—working as independents, in large and small companies, in festivals and venues—congregated in Brisbane for the second Australian Theatre Forum. Coinciding with Brisbane Festival 2011, this forum saw cultural leaders and contemporary thinkers teasing out some of the big issues around practice, infrastructure and sustainability. Over three packed days, delegates exchanged experiences and ideas and build a vision for a future. The inaugural ATF was in Melbourne in May 2009 and was attended by 300 theatre workers from around Australia – providing the first meeting place to strategise collectively in 25 years. At ATF 2011 we invited the sector to review the changes since 2009 and set some new and dynamic directions for the next decade.

2011 ATF - 'What To Expect'

To participate… To make new connections… To identify priorities for the next decade of Australian theatre… To collaborate with peers after the ATF to implement those priorities. To engage with ideas and with colleagues, through a range of exciting processes:
  • Open Space forums – where participants take responsibility for driving the agenda and facilitating the conversations that matter;
  • presentations from leaders in and outside of the theatre sector;
  • salon scale discussions;
  • continuing the conversation in social settings by night and enjoying performances around the city in the Brisbane Festival and Under the Radar.

Why Meet

We all grapple with what it means to live with rapid change. A world where geopolitics, technology, economics, culture and ecology converge and connect in increasingly complex ways. A world with finite natural resources. Where technology connects us with what’s happening almost anywhere in the world in real time, and where social networking facilitates dialogue and has the potential to mobilise en masse. We watch as the world grapples with disaster at what seems an unprecedented rate – floods, earthquakes, cyclones, bushfires, tsunamis, nuclear disaster and the slower but equally devastating decimation of island communities by rising sea levels. We see world powers and established institutions being challenged – about greed, ethics, transparency, inclusion and access. New networks, leaders and powers are emerging – relationships are being reinvented, innovation remapped, governance reframed and business re-imagined. As theatre workers, how do we engage – both on and offstage – with the urgent and the undeniable? Is our art speaking to contemporary communities? Is our infrastructure porous enough to welcome new generations of practitioners with different ways of seeing and doing? Are we thinking for change? Or are our practices further entrenching old habits – producing as if the world’s resources are limitless, making assumptions about who our audiences are and what they want, doing it because it’s ‘how we do it’? The ATF is an opportunity to collectively recognise the innovations that are taking place in the sector and sketch out the changes yet to be made to negotiate our ever-evolving worlds. What needs to be held on to? What can be left behind? With vision and conviction, we can dream, assume responsibility and take action. VENUE: Brisbane Powerhouse