Australian Theatre Forum: Funding children’s theatre as opera

by Jane

Open spaces thoughts: one.

In Open Spaces today I attended in earnest the sessions on funding theatre for young audiences with the money that is received from opera and the discussion on critics, I butterflied around one session moving from a group on musical theatre to a group on new work, and then ended up listening to people talking about New Australian Theatre – but by that time I was needing something to eat and was rather disengaged.

The talk on theatre for young audiences was just all rather lovely, as expected.  With the idea put forward: what if we could subsidise seats in those theatre to the level where they have the same per-seat income as a seat at an opera performance, what could that mean for the sector?

Some ideas raised:

Does money transform to quality?

Young people are willing to engage with ideas on an imaginative/magical level rather than physically based. 

The sector that is making work for young audiences consistently makes more new work than “theatre for adults.”

Do we just need more companies in the position of Windmill?  Every state with a major company.

We can’t imagine the money that goes into opera still exists if opera doesn’t exist.

How do we make sure school students aren’t seeing any David Williamson plays that are about four middle-aged people talking about middle-aged problems? (And it wasn’t even ME who said this!)

It’s about the audience, not about us as a sector.  We want young audience to have a great experience.