The State of Theatre in South Australia

After reading a couple of articles in the local newspaper it got me thinking about the real state of theatre in Adelaide and South Australia as a whole. It started with an article on Sunday that quoted Paul Grabowsky saying ” Adelaide needed to overhaul many existing venues to attract cutting edge works in the future”. And well known Thespian Frank Ford stated that “that some acts were not able to perform in SA due to lack of appropriate venues”. Well we all knew about the Scott theatre, part of Adelaide University, being refurbished as a lecture hall and being available for for very limited times when it re-opens next year. Then the article on Tuesday by Samela Harris about the closure of the Union Hall, another venue on Adelaide University’s campus. Yes it certainly does look like Adelaide is going to have a shortage of venues in the city centre. This is really appalling when you consider that for many years SA has been considered the Festival State, in fact the Festival of Arts will be 50 years old in 2010. And when you consider the discussions in parliament about building new swimming pools and sports stadium, would it not be nice for the government to look at really what is happening in the arts and put some more money into it. They could build or convert buildings into new performance spaces. We not only need to to feed the physical side of the human condition with sport but also the artistic side.People need to be entertained and have their minds stimulated by the arts.

The more I thought about this the more I thought about the rest of the state. We seem to be concentrating the arts to only one location in South Australia and that is the city of Adelaide. What about the rest of South Australia. Believe it or not but the surrounding suburbs of Adelaide hold many fine and reasonably price venues. does the Adelaide Festival of Arts and the Fringe Festival need to be totally based in the centre. Should not the arts go out to the people. If we want the state of South Australia be known as the “Festival State”, we need to take the arts to the people. Suburban venues usually have free parking and lots of it. To get people interested and involved in the Arts we need to take it to them. Lets make the arts accessible for everybody no matter how rich or poor they are. When you look further a field in regional South Australia you will find that there are a lot of pretty great country towns with venues. Now these are services by CountryArts SA, but they deserve to see what we in the suburbs and cities see. We need them to see what is happening duirng festival times. The power brokers of the arts world need to realise that everybody pays taxes so they are all entitled to seeing the art that is created by these government funds.

We need to simulate the people were they live, and not just with money, but with the intangible. We need to put into the arts what we are putting into sports.

It is time that the public started to ask for the arts to come to a venue near them.


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