#IStandWithTheArts protests Australia Council for the Arts cuts

A campaign to support the arts in Australia has reached over 80,000 audience members since it launched on 17 June. #IStandWithTheArts has seen actors give a curtain call speech calling for the audience to protest against funding cuts at shows across New South Wales. The speech was written by actor, playwright and arts advocate Kate Mulvany.

Theatres including Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir, Griffin, Bell Shakespeare, Ensemble, Australian Theatre for Young People, Sport for Jove, Red Line Productions at the Old Fitz, and Darlinghurst Theatre Company have taken part.

The campaign has distributed 50,000 #IStandWithTheArts postcards, asking people to fill in their name and address. The postcards will be collected and delivered to each audience member’s MP. In addition, an online petition has amassed 10,000 signatures.

#IStandWithTheArts goal is to get the government to reverse the AUS72.8m (€48.8m) cut in Australia Council for the Arts funding announced on 13 May. The cuts are aimed at the country’s small and medium-sized arts companies – funding for its 28 major companies has not been cut.

A statement on #IStandWithTheArts’ website reads: ‘Our small to medium companies are a vital part of the live performance industry in our state. They are innovators, they develop new and emerging talent, they provide jobs and career paths for talented Australians on and off the stage.

‘These cuts will have flow on effects across the live performance industry, including performing arts companies, venues, festivals and the commercial sector. We risk losing our creative and technical talent overseas in pursuit of job and career opportunities no longer available to them in Australia.’