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Australia Council restructure

By the time you read this the Australia Council will have met to consider its Future Planning Task Force’s recommendations. Now, after a period of intense debate and hurried consultation, these are weighted with new perspectives, concerns and possibilities (see pages Gallasch, Bott, Harkin, Shaw et al). What Council initially announced as an internal restructure just had too many implications for the future of artform practices, especially in new media, hybrid and community arts, to go unchallenged. The New Media Arts and the Community Cultural Development Boards seem most certainly on their way to oblivion, but various guarantees, quarantinings and reviews will keep in place, at least in the short term, support for the vision and momentum of these fields. The proposed restructure has generated a more vigilant arts community with the formation of new peak organisations coming out of the many meetings held across the country by new media and community cultural development practitioners and organisations. It has also unleashed critiques of the limits of the restructure, specifically its failure to fully address the overall situation for contemporary arts practices, the further erosion of peer assessment, problematic appointments to the artform boards, and the little discussed changing role of the Australia Council, an area of serious concern. On the upside, a welcome dialogue between artists and Council has commenced; lets hope it continues.

For theatre watchers

RealTime’s commitment over the last decade has been to contemporary performance in all its multiplying, hybrid manifestations, and that includes, from time to time, plays. If we had the space we’d cover more, but our attention is on productions of cultural and formal significance that break with the predictable. Theatre has not had the benefit of a dedicated national magazine; a few valiant, short-lived attempts (Theatre Australia, New Theatre Australia, Theatre Australasia) did not get the support of either the industry or audiences that they warranted. It’s a mystery, one that perhaps could be addressed in the larger context of public and press attitudes to Australian theatre by Currency Press’ Platform Papers, provocative essays on the the state of the arts. (We’ll be taking take a close look at the series to date in RT 67.) In the meantime, there’s more theatre than usual in RealTime: Melissa Reeves’ Spook, David Hare’s The Permament Way, Ilbijerri’s Rainbow’s End, Red Stitch’s The Pugilist Specialist, Max Gillies’ The Big Con, Mayu Kanamori’s Chika , Brendan Cowell’s Bed, Bell Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses, and, coming soon to Sydney and Brisbane from South Africa, John Kani’s Nothing but the Truth.

And from those in contemporary performance who are expanding the notion of what is possible in and beyond the theatre, we have Romeo Castelluci, New York’s NYC Players, Radiohole and NTUSA, the UK-USA duo, Curious, Sydney’s version 1.0 and the UK-Australia collaboration Strangers and Intimacy at Melbourne’s Westspace. Movement-based and dance theatre is a critical component of this expanding vision and in this edition we report on Alchemy (Brisbane physical theatre artists working with John Burtt and Katie Laver’s of Perth’s skadada), the dance theatre of In the Dark, Martin Del Amo’s Under Attack, Kate Champion/Force Majeure’s Already Elsewhere and Bagryana Popov’s Subclass26A.


The Editors welcome the many new writers who have been joining RealTime over the last 12 months. Some have emerged from the RealTime-BEAP (Biennial of Electronic Arts Perth) Writers’ Workshop, some are in our mentoring program (a labour intensive business; we’re working our way through the list of patient mentorees), others come recommended by our Contributing Editors and some from the many emerging talents who contact us every month, sending examples of their work and knowing exactly what they want to write about and where it fits in the RealTime scheme of things. As always, a large number of these writers are practising artists. KG

RealTime issue #66 April-May 2005 pg. 3

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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