Queensland’s La Boite Theatre (La Boite) has announced it will employ an Artist Company of 22 professional actors and theatre-makers following its successful application for the Federal Government’s $75M Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund.
This substantial investment – part of the Federal Government’s $250M arts survival package announced in June – will significantly increase the company’s output and directly impact its commitment to diversity, access and inclusion.
Executive Director Zohar Spatz said the creation of the La Boite Artist Company and employment of 22 handpicked artists would build on La Boite’s long history of resilience and ingenuity. “La Boite is prioritising innovation, sector sustainability and growth through the establishment of the La Boite Artist Company – employing 22 artists across an 18-month period,” said Spatz.
“Diverse in age and experience, and inclusive of First Nations, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, LGBTQI+ and Deaf and/or living with disability artists and makers, the La Boite Artist Company will ensure that representation, relevance and innovation remain at the forefront of our creative output.”
The pioneering program will engage 12 actors, four designers, three directors, two writers-inresidence and a dramaturg for an 18-month period, with the La Boite Artist Company embedded into the organisation across its mainstage season, artist development programs, and youth and education offerings across 2021 and 2022.
“Independents are the most vulnerable within the existing arts sector and we have a responsibility to champion and support Brisbane’s freelance artists and theatre-makers by providing opportunities for employment in 2021 and beyond,” said Spatz.
La Boite Chair, Julian Myers, said the appointment of the inaugural La Boite Artist Company would fortify La Boite’s vision to become Australia’s most diverse theatre company. “As Australia’s oldest and boldest continuously-running professional theatre company, La Boite’s 96-year history is hallmarked by reinvention and rebirth,” said Myers.
“A theatre company simply cannot survive through the ages without responding and adapting to the times, and this revolutionary, future-focused model recognises the critical role we play in sustaining our local and national arts ecosystem.”
“Embedding the city’s most exciting artists and makers at the heart of the company will ensure La Boite reaches its 100th anniversary in 2025 more vibrant and vital than ever,” said Myers.
Federal Member for Brisbane, Trevor Evans MP, said a strong and thriving creative and cultural sector was imperative in rebuilding the economy following the challenges of COVID-19. The arts and entertainment sector in Brisbane has been among the hardest hit by this global crisis,” he said.
“I have fought hard to ensure Brisbane’s rich and vibrant arts scene receives appropriate support from the Federal Government. So it is pleasing to see multiple recipients here in Brisbane receive this new funding, including the highly regarded La Boite Theatre, to help them continue to provide a creative outlet for so many of Brisbane’s emerging and established artists and the enjoyment of their audiences.”
“This commitment to local artists and companies in Brisbane, as well as the subsequent increase in local jobs and strengthened economy as live performance events and venues are reactivated, will contribute significantly to our comeback following the impacts of the pandemic,” said Mr Evans.
The announcement of the La Boite Artist Company coincides with the appointment of a refreshed Board of Directors that welcomes Balveen Ajimal, Adam Brunes and Nadine McDonald to the executive team.
The 22-strong La Boite Artist Company will be announced in early 2021. For more information about La Boite and its upcoming program, visit: www.laboite.com.au for details.
Image: La Boite Pitch Sessions – photo by Adam John Waters Photography