Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Theatre Network NSW considers options for its survival

Theatre Network NSW considers options for its survival
May 6, 2019

Theatre Network NSW (TNN), the state’s peak body for providing back end support and advocacy for small to medium-sized theatre companies and professionals received only 60% of its annual program funding ($50,000 of the $82,000 requested) from Create NSW in the latest Arts and Cultural Organisations program round, and consequently cannot continue operating unless additional income is secured. The agency is now considering a merger and downsizing to stay afloat.

TNN was established five years ago to help theatre independents across western Sydney and regional NSW navigate questions of wellbeing, gender equity, professional development, funding and access to or sharing of resources - practically everything unseen by audiences.

A members’ forum held in Sydney last Wednesday discussed a number of options for the organisation’s future. 

TNN has been advised that it is unlikely to receive further Create NSW funding unless it can significantly increase its income streams from alternative sources. TNN currently receives just 10% of its income through membership and other services and 40% of its total costs as in-kind partnerships for office space, website design, and venue hire.

Artshub reports that st the forum, arts administrator Bronwyn Edinger stepped down as Chair, with playwright and director Nick Atkins elected to the position. The mood at the forum was optimistic, with many of those present suggested a range of options for the organisation’s short term and long term future.

“TNN has a renewed sense of purpose and urgency,” said Atkins.

“We can’t continue the way we have been operating. We are determined to address the fairness gap when it comes to support and advocacy for companies and artists working across the spectrum of theatre practice in NSW. We need time to make a series of clear and sustainable decisions. Our next step is to utilise our resources and those we can attract to carve out enough time for us to make these decisions,” said Atkins. 

''We stand up for the little guy to make sure the interests of the artist working in an independent show or in a small company are represented,'' added Atkins.

Addressing the need to raise $32,000 in the coming months, Atkins said a number of strategies were being considered: ‘We will call on short term financial support from individuals and organisations who want to be part of making theatre in NSW a fairer and more creative sector. We will also look closely at our current operations and seek to find any ways in which we might temporarily structure our organisation to buy us that critical time we need.’ 

Most of TNN’s income for programming and services comes via the NSW Government's Arts and Cultural Organisations program.  This financial year $4,030,000 was awarded to 53 of the 63 organisations who applied, slightly less than the $4.2million distributed the previous 12 months.

‘There are a significant amount of new Board members who have stepped up to support the organisation in this moment of transition. Because of this change, it’s too early to articulate what our long term plan looks like,’ said Atkins.

‘We are currently balancing the necessary reality of closure with a determination to do everything we can to resist this course of action. We appreciate the support of our members, community and the vision of the artists and arts workers who brought TNN into being,’ he added.

''If a philanthropist walked in with enough support to keep us going three days a week we wouldn't be having this discussion but it's easier said than done,'' said Director Jane Kreis.

Atkins said he couldn't say that closure was not a possibility but ''we are determined to do everything we can to remain open and active''.

The first meeting of the new TNN Board was held last Thursday, with Kreis noting: “The new board came together in such a coherent, creative and determined way and are immediately actioning some short term and long term strategies. Obviously we can’t know what the outcomes of that will be. But the passion, commitment and outright cleverness is there.

“For TNN, the focus is always about addressing sector need though shared and unified strengths. That is not going to change but perhaps the way that is resourced is going to have to if TNN is to continue,” she concluded.

Related Articles

29th January 2015 - Theatre Network NSW appoints inaugural director

19th August 2013 - Australia Council reveals key trends for performing arts

15th October 2018 - Australian Cultural Ministers release consultation on future Major Performing Arts funding

5th August 2010 - Election Messages for the Performing Arts

12th August 2018 - PAC Australia announces 2018 Drover Award finalists

22nd January 2015 - Australian Theatre Forum addresses contemporary issues in Australian theatre

27th January 2015 - Theatre Forum proclaims ‘Motion of No Confidence’ in the Australian Government

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Headquartered in Brisbane with an Australia-wide network of satellite offices, PaySmart is one of Australia’s largest and longest-standing direct debit billing companies. In 1996 we began…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology


Pricemark Pty Ltd

Pricemark supplies a wide range of custom branded membership & RFID access products for the Health & Leisure Industry. 

read more



Worldwide Sports Management

Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues


iDwala Pty Ltd

iDwala is the Community Sports Surface Specialist offering the highest quality designs and technical expertise to Councils, Schools and Sporting Clubs looking to create sporting…

read more

Consultants / Design / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces


Hydrocare Pool Services

Hydrocare Pool Services Pty Ltd offer 30 years of experience in aquatic industry features, products and water treatment. Hydrocare Pools has undertaken water treatment for aquatic centres and…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Technology



Digonex is a leading provider of customised dynamic pricing solutions to clients in arts and entertainment, sport, attractions, cultural institutions and retail sectors. Digonex’s technology is…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing


Polin Waterparks

Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976, and has since grown into a leading company in the waterparks industry. Today Polin is one of the world leaders in the design, production, and installation of…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks


WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business