Funding announced for art projects to commemorate Anzac Centenary

Black DiggersMinister for the Arts, Senator the Honourable George Brandis QC and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac, Senator the Honourable Michael Ronaldson have announced funding for eight arts and cultural projects as part of the commemorations for the Anzac Centenary.

More than $700,000 will be provided to support these projects through the first round of the Australian Government’s $2 million Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Production and Commissioning Fund.

Funding will support the development and touring of new productions, from theatre and opera to the digital arts, as well as the commissioning of artworks that will bring Australians of all ages together to commemorate this important Centenary.

The arts are a powerful platform through which we can better understand, remember and reflect on the accomplishments and sacrifices of Australians in all conflicts and peacekeeping efforts since the First World War. It is pleasing to see many of the personal stories and experiences of Australians at war are to be given a voice through these projects.

We thank the Creative Advisory Panel, led by Sir Jonathan Mills, for their careful consideration of each application. The eight successful projects will assist to both educate and commemorate the legacy of the sacrifice and courage that so many of our servicemen and servicewomen fought for.

Significant funding partnerships between the Australian Government, arts organisations, other levels of government and the private sector have been achieved through this first round of funding with project partners investing more than $6 million to bring these eight projects to life, animating a comprehensive program of commemorative arts and culture activities.

The eight projects supported by the Production and Commissioning Fund are:

Art Gallery of South Australia: En-trenched: contemporary artists and the art of the trenches, $75,000
Twelve artists will produce works that respond to the Australian War Memorial’s collection of trench art from World War One. The new work produced will form the heart of a touring exhibition alongside a selection of trench art made by Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women and Turkish prisoners of war. En-trenched will be supported by an online, interactive presence and a dynamic public and education program.

Big hART Inc: Samurai Digger, $50,000
Samurai Digger
is a cross-cultural theatre project about peacemaking between cultures after World War Two. This Australian/Japanese performance is inspired by one man’s quest to return Samurai swords taken by Australian soldiers during the Second World War. The Fund is supporting the creative development process, which will collect true stories from the families involved in regional and rural areas in different states in Australia as well as in Nara in Japan.

Brisbane Powerhouse Foundation: Ten Percent Terror, $25,000
Brisbane Powerhouse, Dancenorth and Company 2 will partner together to develop a new performance work commemorating the Anzac Centenary. Ten Percent Terror will use the contemporary art forms of circus, dance and digital arts to connect modern audiences to the Anzac legacy. Sitting across two time periods, Ten Percent Terror explores the dual narratives of contemporary Australians serving in Afghanistan with those of young soldiers in Turkey a century before.

Perth International Arts Festival: The Giants by Royal de Luxe, $150,000
The Giants
will be presented by large scale storytellers Royal de Luxe as a free performance at the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival. It commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the First World War through an arts and cultural event which responds to the people, place and history of Perth and the role of Western Australia in the Anzac story. Through online engagement, a fully integrated and accessible schools program, extensive volunteer involvement and deepening relationships with many Western Australian arts companies and independent artists and arts workers, The Giants will create an appropriate avenue for every Australian to access a high-quality arts and cultural event to commemorate the Anzac Centenary.

Queensland Theatre Company: Black Diggers 2015 national tour, $200,000
Queensland Theatre Company in partnership with Sydney Festival has created Black Diggers, a landmark theatre production telling the story of Indigenous soldiers who served in the First World War. It received outstanding critical acclaim when it was performed in January 2014, sparking the interest of arts organisations throughout the country. This grant will support an eight week tour in four states and territories in 2015. It provides a unique focal point for Australians to explore this little-known part of the Anzac story.

The Production Company (Australia) Limited: The Silver Donkey, $100,000
The Silver Donkey
is a new family-oriented musical based on the novel by the Australian author, Sonya Hartnett and adapted by award winning musical theatre writers Dean Bryant and Mathew Frank. The Silver Donkey is set during World War One, with three children and a soldier who is blind as the central characters. The musical tells how the children’s lives are changed by the stories he tells them.

Victorian Arts Centre Trust: Theatres of War: Wartime Entertainment and the Australian Experience, $60,000
Theatres of War
examines the crucial role played by the performing arts in the lives of Australians both on the home-front and in the field. This exhibition shines a light on the power of performance as a means of expression and as a way of bringing people together during times of adversity. The exhibition includes performance case studies from the First and Second World Wars, the Vietnam War as well as later conflicts and peacekeeping missions.

Victoria Opera Company Ltd: Remembrance, $45,000
Victorian Opera will create a new work called Remembrance, which will explore and commemorate the Australian experience during World War One through story, song and image. Referencing the popular songs of WWI, Remembrance will commemorate the Anzac experience through story, image and music and in doing so, honour and share the Anzac legacy.

The second round of the Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Production and Commissioning Fund is now open for expressions of interest. Expressions of interest close on 30 October 2014.

Funding for arts and cultural projects is also available through the $2 million Public Grants Program for which arts organisations, groups, individuals and cultural institutions been invited to apply. Applications close at 5pm AEST on Wednesday 10 September 2014.

During the Centenary of Anzac, we mark a century of service and sacrifice, encompassing all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians have been involved. The Centenary will be the most significant period of commemoration in our nation’s history and the Government is committed to providing opportunities for all Australians to participate.

For more information about the Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund including guidelines and application forms for the Production and Commissioning Fund and the Public Grants Program visit

Image: Black Diggers – photo by Branco Gaica (courtesy of Queensland Theatre Company)