The show goes on for Queensland venues and artists who Play Local  

AAR-Empire-Theatre-Toowoomba-photo-by--Lucy-RC-PhotographyHome-grown performers are set to hit stages across the state with over $965,000 injected into the arts sector through two funding programs, as part of the Queensland Government’s $42.5 million worth of measures to support Queensland’s arts and cultural sector.

In announcing the successful recipients, Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said these two important arts sector investments are contributing to Queensland’s plan for economic recovery, delivering infrastructure, skills and jobs.

“The Arts sector globally has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our local artists have not been immune,” said Minister Enoch. “Play Local funding of $812,635 will assist 52 live music and performing arts venues throughout the state to host performances by Queensland acts and artists.”

“Importantly, the Play Local investment will directly support jobs for almost 1,500 artists and arts workers and support the employment of hundreds of venue staff including venue management, technicians and bar staff.”

“The second program Creative to Go, will support 10 projects and almost 100 artists with $153,344 in funding to offset the costs of delivering live performances and engagement activities in regional venues across the state,” she said.

Minister Enoch said the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba would receive $20,000 through Play Local to present Queensland Ballet’s production of 60/60, while the Met Hotel would present local musicians in a series of performances with funding of $19,500.

“The raft of funding opportunities, now available through the Arts and Cultural Recovery Package, are key to this Government’s firm commitment to stabilise local arts companies, secure jobs for artists and arts workers, and deliver on Queensland’s economic recovery plan,” said Ms Enoch.

“Venues receiving Play Local funding range from bars in Brisbane that showcase original live music by local artists to shire halls and theatres in regional Queensland programming circus and comedy performances.”

“This includes The Zoo, The Triffid, the Old Museum and The Tivoli in Brisbane along with regional venues such as the Kuranda Amphitheatre in Far North Queensland, and councils including Barcoo Regional Council in western Queensland for performances at its shire hall and multi-purpose centre,” said Ms Enoch.

Empire Theatres General Manager Kerry Saul welcomed the opportunity for both the live arts and tourism in the region, especially after many events were cancelled due to Covid-19.

“Empire Theatre has completed a successful reopening season commencing in July thanks to the support of Arts Queensland and the Queensland Government’s venue pilot program,” said Mr Saul. “Local and regional artists have been paid and our patrons have been very keen to return.”

“As a delivery partner through the Regional Arts Services Network we also administered Arts Queensland’s stART Grants Program for the South West Region, distributing $30,000 to local and regional artists, and we are now able to offer our patrons the opportunity to once again attend Queensland Ballet at The Empire Theatre thanks to the Play Local Fund.”

“Support from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland has been essential to allow The Empire Theatre to operate in any capacity and we look forward to providing more opportunities for our arts workers and artists over the coming months,” he said.

A collective approach by local councils, supported by Queensland touring specialists arTour, means that groups like Flipside Circus and the Funny Mummies will both be taking their shows on the road to regional and remote communities such as Julia Creek, Winton, Stonehenge and Quilpie.

Minister Enoch said Creative To Go would provide $17,840 to support a Young at Heart COVID recovery concert series featuring songs and stories based on true events and personal accounts of families from Queensland’s farming history.

“Creative Regions Ltd has also secured Creative to Go funding of $18,059 for Delta Divas, a touring cabaret production of music from the 60s, celebrating anthems from artists such as Helen Reddy, Dusty Springfield and The Supremes, which will tour to Bundaberg, Monto, Proston and Childers in September,” said Ms Enoch.

“These projects will drive economic growth and regional development, creating jobs and opportunities for the state’s arts sector, while bringing our local communities together with rich arts experiences. It is a win for everyone.”

“This investment builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s support of almost $200,000 that successfully enabled the Empire Theatre and five other venues state-wide to participate in a Venue Pilot Program to trial COVID-safe reopenings and programming in July,” she said.

The Queensland Government is implementing more than $42.5 million worth of initiatives to support the arts and cultural sector throughout COVID-19. This includes the $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery Package, recently announced as part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.

For more information, and to view the full lists of Play Local recipients and Creative To Go recipients, visit: for details.

Image: Empire Theatre, Toowoomba – photo by Lucy RC Photography