And so after lunch some more Working Sessions and Presentations, but truth be told I was sort of ready just to snuggle into bed and let all the issues of the Forum gestate: but like so much of the performing arts, a restlessness continues building on top of ideas, and feelings…

But instead, I found my way to the Courtyard theatre to hear some myth-busting from/about the Majors… in fact I was curious to know what the assumed myths were… So I plugged myself in and listened…

The eight major theatre companies have large staff bases, sizeable programs and myriad ways of creating work and engaging with artists.
From the outside it can be difficult to see how to get in or even to decide working with a major is right for you. This session is designed for people who would like to have a conversation about how the majors work, with some of their General Managers and Executive Directors.
Hosts: Rob Brookman, Sue Donnelly, Brenna Hobson, Jo Porter

Check out #debunkingthemajors via Twitter to see some choice comments.

Most interesting about these myths is that there is a level of funding or support for Majors that the other tiers don’t have access to. And perhaps that is true: the majors do rely heavily on philanthropy, sponsorship and ticket sales to continue their “work of scale.”

I’d like to suggest something by way of comparison: what if each and every independent artist making wok costed out all the “inkind” and “unofficial” sponsorship in their projects: everything from the rental space of working in one’s bedroom, coffee lunches, photocopies made at workplaces on the sly, telephone calls and text messages – what if the in-kind hours of pre-production/production/post production was costed out in line items? What if the “beg borrow steal” aspect of making work by the independent sector was actually included as a line item? What would the scale be around the work?

Interestingly there is a perception that the majors are impenetrable – from the majors point of view that is not so- but as Brookman stated “We’d like to be everything to everyone but we are aware that that is just not possible”

And another impression that the Majors are an unfeeling uncaring machine which doesn’t recognise the plight of the writer. Which again was debunked by Brookman who is married to a playwright and knows the reality of her stage opportunities.

The majors again have a huge task part of which is engaging with business, security audiences, facilitating artists and must be at once outward facing and inwardly focused (and vice versa – fluctuating between the two).

Group Incognito have been commissioned by the Australia Council to scope and develop a leadership model/program to address the area of
Cultural Leadership in Communities. What is already existing? Are there gaps in skills that help people to use theatre to build stronger communities? What skills do the community need? How can a leadership program be delivered?
Hosts: Group Incognito – Pauline Peel and Lockie McDonald

A small group grew massive after the What is Aboriginal Theatre Workshop was closed off from anyone who doesn’t identify as ATSI. The small foyer swelled and the room was large and noisy. A brief introduction of the room and large sheets of butchers paper – a working bee commenced.

The question posed was: what is the skills gap in the Community and Cultural Development sector and how can a leadership program be developed for CCD practitioners?

Interestingly the room was filled with CCD arts workers who cited a lack of awareness pf cultural protocols, and who may not have the business or project management skills required to manage an “outcome” based project whilst facilitating the community. Many were worried about the “messiah” mentality of the lone worker walking into community in order to work on a project. Coming off the back of the morning session the issues were quite bright in my mind about how difficult language is. It’s true – these types of projects take a LONG time and have long after affects.

(Check out my notes on Twitter #culturalleadership #Communities #ATF2013)

By the time the afternoon workshop had finished….I was fairly worn out.

Here’s a delightful stalker photo of Jane and me taken by Alysha Herrman (You can read her blog HERE)

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Presenters: Mary Anne Butler, Sopa Enari, Jodee Mundy, Joe Lui Shang Yu

The postcards are always an interesting segment of the ATF – some apocalyptic, some overly optimistic, some very reflective… The idea of a postcard is that it is a short note to the past explaining what the world looks like , how it feels and what is happening – it places the artist at the centre of the vision and creates an opportunity for an individual’s mission statement to be articulated. Mostly it show us what could be: a useful part of the future thinking.

Unfortunately by the time the postcards finished, I was too.

The day had left me feeling empty and here is a picture to prove it:

Gus and Jane Thursday afternoon:
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