It’s a homegrown success which, sadly, may end.
The Anywhere Theatre Festival, which performs anywhere except in a theatre, featured more performances in 2012 than the Brisbane Festival and World Theatre Festival combined to an audience of 66,000. A stunning figure given the festival played to about 4,000 people in 2011 – its first year.
At this year’s festival launch, Anywhere Theatre Festival director Paul Osuch said: “In the first two years of the festival, we’ve had 83 world premieres of local works and by the end of this festival, it will be 170.”
“The Anywhere Theatre Festival is all about putting Brisbane on the map, being a part of something that brings over a couple of million dollars of economic and cultural benefits beyond how we [in Brisbane] feed into the cultural establishments, and really celebrating how arts culture becomes part of Brisbane communities.”
The festival has been embraced by local emerging performers and producers, and, 57 different organisations over three years as in-kind partners.
So, why end the only Brisbane festival to be ranked in Qantas Travel Insider’s “Top Nine Festivals in the World“?
Osuch said the Brisbane Festival had about forty salaried and contract staff, but the Anywhere Theatre Festival is run by two people who volunteer most of their time, and, needs up to 300 volunteers at its peak.
To be sustainable, the festival needs recurrent staffing and funding.
“Arts Queensland have been an incredible supporter over the last three years but we never really planned they would be the sole financial contributor to the festival,” Osuch said.
“Unfortunately, after a couple of years of putting on this festival, we find ourselves in the position where we’re putting on the third festival with half the amount that we had last year – which was still really not enough.
“That is why, unfortunately, the 2013 Anywhere Theatre Festival is going to be the greatest one, but it is possibly also going to be the last one in Brisbane.”
If you’d like to show your support for festival organisers and performers, this year and beyond, you can contribute by paying an (optional) amount on top of the ticket price, or, to support performers, use the ‘Tip ‘em’ link on the festival website or scan the QR code at the venue.
Best of all – see you anywhere!
This year’s festival runs from May 8 – 19 and features 49 productions from cabaret, comedy and drama to puppetry, opera, theatre and Shakespeare.
You’ll find theatre performances anywhere from cafes, bowls clubs and libraries to shopfront windows, all around Brisbane featuring Kelvin Grove to Holland Park, and Mitchelton out to Ipswich.
Shirley Way is an official Anywhere Theatre Festival reviewer. You can follow her reviews: @bne2bay