Victorian Circus and Physical Theatre Projects for Individuals and Groups

Announcement

Recipients of this opportunity have been announced. The full list can be found on the awarded grants page.

About the program

This program is designed to specifically support the circus and physical theatre sector in Victoria. It provides investment into artist and artform development, projects and activities to support skills development, employment, market development and artistic outcomes. This program supports circus and physical theatre practice; it does not extend to dance or dance-theatre.

Victorian applicants may apply for activity to take place in Victoria, nationally and internationally.

Applicants from outside of Victoria may apply for activity in Victoria if the proposed activity is in partnership with Victorian individuals, groups or organisations and the applicant can demonstrate impact for the Victorian circus and physical theatre sector.

Individuals and groups can propose a single project; a series of projects; or a suite of activities over a fixed period of time.

This Investment is offered following changes to the circus and physical theatre landscape in Victoria during 2021. The Australia Council and Creative Victoria are jointly managing strategic investments to support the circus and physical theatre sector, guided by the principles of the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework.

Grants are available from $10,000 to $80,000. Supported activities must last no longer than two years from the proposed start date.

Please note: Your project must consider the latest government advice regarding COVID-19.

Please read through the following grant guidelines.

If you need advice about applying, contact an Artists Services Officer now.

Who can apply

  • Only individuals and groups may apply to this category.
  • Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents and a practicing artist or arts professional.

The proposed activity must support the circus and physical theatre sector in Victoria

 

Who can’t apply

You can’t apply for this grant if:

  • you are an organisation
  • you have an overdue grant report
  • you owe money to the Australia Council

What can be applied for

We will fund a range of activities which support and build capacity in the circus and physical theatre sector in Victoria, for example:

  • professional skills development, including mentoring and residencies. This may include a suite of activity over a fixed period of time.
  • the creation of new work
  • practice based research
  • creative development
  • experimentation
  • collaborations
  • touring
  • festivals
  • productions
  • exhibitions
  • performances
  • publishing
  • recording
  • promotion and marketing
  • market development activity
  • activities that creatively engage communities.

Access costs are legitimate expenses and may be included in your application. We encourage applicants to ensure that their work is accessible to everyone. Therefore, budgets may also include costs associated with making activities accessible to a wide range of people (e.g. performances using Auslan, translation to other languages, captioning, audio description, temporary building adjustments, and materials in other formats).

If you are an applicant with a disability, or are working with artists with disability, you may apply for access costs associated with the use of an interpreter, translation services, specific technical equipment, carer, or support worker assistance. Please contact Artists Services to discuss your specific needs.

What can’t be applied for

You can’t apply for:

  • projects or activities that do not involve or benefit the Victorian circus and physical theatre sector
  • projects or activities that do not have a clearly defined arts component
  • projects that have already taken place
  • activities engaging with First Nations content, artists and communities that do not adhere to the Australia Council First Nations Cultural & Intellectual Property Protocols.

Your application must comply with the following Protocols. We may contact you to request further information during the assessment process, or if successful, as a condition of your funding.

Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts

All applications involving First Nations artists, communities or subject matter must adhere to these Protocols, provide evidence of this in their application and support material. More information on the First Nations Protocols is available here.

Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

All successful applicants are required to comply with all Australian law relating to employing or engaging people who work or volunteer with children, including working with children checks and mandatory reporting. Successful organisations who provide services directly to children, or whose funded activities involve contact with children, will additionally be required to implement the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

Your application will be assessed by a panel of artists and arts workers with expertise in the Australian circus and physical theatre sector.

You must address three assessment criteria in this category.  

Under each criterion are bullet points indicating what peers may consider when assessing your application. You do not need to respond to every bullet point listed. 

First criterion 

Quality 

  • Peers will assess the quality of the artistic and cultural activities at the centre of your proposal. They may consider: 
  • vision, ideas and artistic rationale 
  • benefit and impact on career, artistic and cultural practice 
  • level of innovation, ambition, experimentation or risk-taking 
  • rigour and clear articulation of creative, engagement or development processes 
  • significance of the work within the relevant area of practice and/or community 
  • contribution to diverse cultural expression 
  • timeliness and relevance of work 
  • quality of previous work 
  • responses to previous work from artistic or cultural peers, or the public. 

Second criterion 

Viability 

Peers will assess the viability of your proposal. They may consider: 

  • relevance and timeliness of proposed activity 
  • skills and ability of artists, arts professionals, collaborators, or partners involved, and relevance to activity 
  • realistic and achievable planning and resource use, including contingency and COVID-safe plans for activities involving public presentations, national or international travel 
  • appropriate payments to participating artists, arts professionals, collaborators, participants, or cultural consultants 
  • the safety and wellbeing of people involved in the project 
  • role of partners or collaborators, including confirmation of involvement 
  • the diversity and scale of income and co-funding, including earned income, grants, sponsorship, and in-kind contributions 
  • where relevant to the project, evidence that the Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts have been adhered to 
  • evidence of appropriate consultation with participants, audiences, or communities 
  • where relevant, evidence that you have considered and addressed any access issues associated with your project 
  • where relevant, evidence that you have addressed the environmental impact of your project. 

Third criterion 

Impact 

The peers will assess how your activity contributes towards building a sustainable and diverse Victorian circus and physical theatre sector. They may consider how your activity: 

  • contributes to increasing diversity (including First Nations, disability, gender, LGBTIQ+, age and cultural diversity) within the circus and physical theatre sector in reference to artists, key creatives, programming and audiences. 
  • contributes to artform development through the commissioning, development and/or presentation of new Australian work that reflects contemporary Australia  
  • contributes to building capacity in the circus and physical theatre sector 
  • demonstrates collaboration and/or leadership on key sector issues.

You should submit support material with your application. The peer assessors may review this support material to help them gain a better sense of your project.

What you should provide

We do not accept application-related support material submitted via post. Application-related material received by post will not be assessed and will be returned to the sender. If you think you will have difficulty submitting your support material online, or need advice on what type of material to submit, please contact Artists Services.

There are three types of support material you may submit:

  1. Artistic support material

This should include relevant, recent examples of your artistic or cultural work, or the services you provide.

Types of support material we accept

Our preferred method of receiving support material is via URLs (weblinks).

You can provide up to three URLs (weblinks) that link to content that is relevant to your proposal. This may include video, audio, images, or written material.

These URLs can include a total of:

  • 10 minutes of video and/or audio recording
  • 10 images
  • 10 pages of written material (for example, excerpts of literary writing).

Please note: Our peer assessors will not access any URLs that require them to log in or sign up to a platform. Please do not provide links to Spotify or other applications that require users to log in or pay for access.

If you are linking to media files that are private or password protected like Vimeo, please provide the password in the password field on the application form.

Other accepted file formats

If you cannot supply support material via URLs, you may upload support material to your application in the following formats:

  • video (MP4, QuickTime, and Windows Media)
  • audio (MP3 and Windows Media)
  • images (JPEG and PowerPoint)
  1. Biographies and CVs

You can include a brief bio or curriculum vitae (CV) for key artists, personnel or other collaborators involved in your project.

Brief bios or CV information should be presented as a single document no longer than two A4 pages in total.

  1. Letters of support

Individuals, groups or organisations can write letters in support of your project. A support letter should explain how the project or activity will benefit you, other artists or arts professionals, participants or the broader community. It can also detail the support or involvement of key project partners, or evidence of consultation.

If relevant to your activity, letters of support must provide evidence of appropriate permissions and support from First Nations organisations, communities, and Elders. Please refer to the First Nations Protocols for more information.

You can include up to five letters of support, with each letter not exceeding one A4 page.

Additional information

Once you submit your application, we will send you an email acknowledging receipt of your application.

After you submit your application, we first check it meets the eligibility criteria for the grant or opportunity to which you are applying.

Applications to the Australia Council Grant Programs are assessed by arts practice peer panels against the published assessment criteria for the relevant grant program.

We aim to notify you of the outcome of your application no later than 12 weeks after the published closing date for the applicable grant round.

Once all applications have been assessed, you will be contacted about the outcome of your application. If you have been successful, you will also be sent a funding agreement. This outlines the conditions of funding, how you will be paid and your grant reporting requirements. The following accordion items outline these stages in more detail.

If your application is successful, you will receive an email advising you a grant is offered. You must then agree to the conditions of your grant, which represents the Australia Council’s contract with you – this can be done online, by email or by letter. Payment of a grant will not be made until the grant conditions have been agreed and accepted by all the relevant parties.

You should not start a project that depends on a grant until all relevant parties have agreed and accepted the grant conditions and we have evidence of such acceptance on file.

Standard grant conditions require you to, among other things:

  • seek prior approval for making a change to a funded project (for example, changes in the activity budget; changes to key creative personnel; or changes to start or end dates)
  • respond to requests for information about the project or grant
  • satisfactorily account for how the grant is spent (if you do not you will be required to return all monies for which you cannot satisfactorily account)
  • comply with all applicable laws
  • acknowledge the Australia Council’s support in all promotional material associated with the project; this includes use of the Australia Council’s logo and a standard text of acknowledgement.
  • provide artistic and financial acquittal reports at the end of the project
  • return any unspent grant funds at the completion of your project or on notice from us to return such unspent funds.

Grant agreements must be signed by a legal entity – either a legally constituted organisation or an individual. For unincorporated groups, see the section on administered grants

All individual or organisation grant applicants based in Australia must have an ABN. Individual applicants without an ABN may have their grant administered by an individual or organisation with an ABN. Organisations operating outside of Australia do not need an ABN to apply. Individuals based outside of Australia may not need an ABN to apply, depending on their circumstances (please check with your accountant or tax advisor).

The name of the applicant must match the name of the ABN and the name of the bank account into which we pay the funds. There are no exceptions to this rule. If applicants cannot provide an ABN and bank account that are in the same name as the applicant’s name, they will need to nominate an administrator for their grant.

Groups/ensembles/collectives, unincorporated associations/ unincorporated entities and other bodies with no legal status do not need an administrator if they have an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and bank account in their name. If they are unable to provide an active ABN and bank account that matches the name of the applicant, they must nominate an administrator. The name of the administrator must match the name of the ABN and bank account into which funds are paid if the application is successful.

If we approve your application you will need accept the conditions of the grant in a funding agreement.

After you accept your funding agreement online, we will automatically generate a payment for the grant on your behalf. You do not need to send us an invoice.

We will pay grant funds directly into your nominated bank account within two weeks after acceptance of the funding agreement. Grant payments cannot be postponed.

If you do not wish to have the grant funds paid directly into your bank account you can choose to have your grant administered by another individual or legally constituted organisation (Doesn’t apply to Arts Projects – Organisations).

When you apply, you will be asked to provide an active Australian Business Number or ‘ABN’. The ABN that you provide must correspond to the name of the applicant (or the administering body, if one has been nominated). When you accept your funding agreement, you will be asked to enter the details of the bank account you wish the grant to be paid into. The name associated with that bank account must correspond to the name in which the ABN has been registered.

Download the Australia Council for the Arts logo guidelines here.

Download the Major Festivals Initiative logo guidelines here.

Grant reports are required on completion of your project. Acquitting a grant means accurately reporting on the funded activities and the expenditure of Australia Council funding.

Please read your funding agreement to check details of the grant acquittal material you should provide.

The grant acquittal report is where you tell us:

  • how you spent your grant
  • what the artistic outcomes of your funded activity were.

If you do not provide a satisfactory grant report at the times and in the manner detailed in your funding agreement, the Australia Council will not make any further payments that may be due to you, and you will not be eligible  to apply for further grants.

If you do not provide a satisfactory grant report, the Australia Council may ask you to pay back all or part of the funding provided to you.

Grant reports are used by the Australia Council to fulfil obligations of accountability to the Australian Government. They are also essential to the development work of the Australia Council. The reports help us evaluate the achievements of funded activities, monitor the effectiveness of grant categories and ensure our policy development is consistent with the experience of artists in the field.

Reporting for Multi-year Funded Organisations

Organisations in receipt of multi-year funding are required to submit financial, statistical, and artistic reporting on an annual basis.

All reporting is submitted online via the Australia Council’s arts organisations reporting system.

If you are not sure what reporting you need to submit as part of your annual reporting, or what information to provide, please get in touch with your Australia Council contact.

All recipients must acknowledge that the Australia Council provided funding for their activities. When you acquit your grant, we will ask you how you acknowledged the Australia Council.

For printed or online material use our logo and this phrase:

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body OR The (company name) is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Logos for download and guidelines for the use of our logos.

Where projects do not have a public outcome, or do not produce any printed or online material, you will need to think about how best to acknowledge the Australia Council funding.

Frequently asked questions

You will receive your grant payment within two weeks of accepting your funding agreement. Please note we pay our grants in the financial year which they are approved. We will not adjust payment timelines to the particular circumstances of individuals. 

The deadline for applications is at 3:00pm AET on the closing date. We strongly recommend submitting before this. Administrative and technical support is only available during office hours (Monday-Friday) 9am to 5 pm AET. Late applications will not be accepted. 

Yes, if you have support materials such as letters from project partners, collaborators or participants that are in languages other than English (including Auslan), we can arrange translation or captioning. 

Please contact the Artists Services team at least four weeks before the closing date of the grant round to which you are intending to make an application. If you do not contact us at least four weeks before the closing date, we may not have sufficient time to meet your translation needs. 

Our online application form also has a checkbox at the top which you can tick if you have attached materials in a language other than English. This alerts the Artists Services team that you have submitted these materials. 

We do not accept applications submitted via post. Any material received by post will not be assessed and will be returned to the sender. If you think you will have difficulty submitting your application online, please contact Artists Services. 

We do not amend, correct, update or change any part of your application once it has been submitted. However, if you receive additional confirmations for activities or artists after the closing date you may alert us to these, and we may bring them to the attention of peer assessors at the assessment meeting. These updates could include confirmation that a proposed activity will take place, a partnership has been secured, or funding from another source has been received. 

You can update us about such confirmations by contacting us. Briefly describe the nature of the confirmation and cite your application reference number.  You do not need to send us copies of confirmation emails from third parties – if we need to see evidence of the confirmation we will request it. 

If you wish to update your application once it has been submitted, but the closing date has not yet passed, you can submit a new, updated application and request to withdraw the original one by emailing operationsservicedesk@australiacouncil.gov.au 

Grant applications can be found and are submitted through our online system. If you are using the system for the first time you will need to register your details before filling out a grant application form. 

When will I be notified about the outcome of my application? 

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application approximately 12 weeks after the closing date. Please see the guidelines page for the grant category you are interested in for more details. 

Yes, however you must be the applicant. Contact us to discuss your proposal prior to submitting your application.

To apply for this category your project must be circus or physical theatre activity or proposing to support the Victorian circus and physical theatre sector.

This program supports circus and physical theatre practice, it does not extend to dance or dance-theatre. 

Following changes to the circus and physical theatre landscape in Victoria during 2021, the Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria are jointly managing new investments to support the circus and physical theatre sector, guided by the principles of the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework. 

We define a ‘group’ as two or more individuals who do not form a legally constituted organisation.  This can include co-collaborators and collectives.  Groups are not eligible to apply to programs open only to organisations. 

An ‘organisation’ is a legally constituted organisation that is registered or created by law. For example, incorporated associations, companies limited by guarantee or government statutory authorities are all defined as organisations. Organisations that are not legally constituted are not eligible to apply for funding in grant categories that are open to organisations only. Organisations may be required to provide a certificate of incorporation or evidence of their current legal status.  Funding programs for organisations are not intended for sole traders or partnerships. 

No. 

Yes. However, the contact person for group applications must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. 

We provide funding to practising artists or artsworkers. While you may not regularly earn income from your practice, you must be identified and recognised by your peers as a practising artist or artsworker. This may include cultural practitioners, editors, producers, curators and arts managers. 

No. If you have an overdue grant acquittal you will not be eligible to apply for any further grants. 

No. Only Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents may apply to the Australia Council for funding. Foreign nationals who are permitted to live and work in Australia by holding visas such as a Special Category visa or a Bridging visa are not eligible to apply. 

Yes. Creative research and development is a key component of the creative process and can be funded through this category.

Yes. We accept applications in languages other than English, including Auslan. 

If any part of your application requires translation into English, please contact the Artists Services team at least four weeks before the closing date of the round to which you intend to apply. We will use our best and all reasonable endeavours to assist in having some or all of the material translated. However we reserve the right to refuse an application in a language other than English if we believe there is no genuine reason to accept such an application, or if the time-frame for translation precludes us from making the materials available for assessment in the round to which it was submitted.

If you wish to request an application form in a language other than English, please contact the Artists Services team at least 12 weeks before the closing date of the round to which you intend to apply.

We reserve the right to refuse an application form translation request if we believe there is no genuine reason for the request. We also reserve the right to refuse an application form translation if the time-frame for translation prevents us from providing a translated form in time for assessment in the round to which it was submitted. 

Where you have supplied creative content in a language other than English, we may engage an industry expert to provide the peers with an evaluation of the artistic merit of that creative content. 

You can speak with staff at the Australia Council in your first language. Please telephone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 (local call anywhere in Australia) and ask to be connected with the Australia Council. 

Applications that focus solely on academic studies, or are for activities that are part of assessable coursework are unlikely to be successful with our assessment panels. Assessment panels are also unlikely to support applications requesting the costs of academic fees or courses. 

If you wish to apply for study costs, explain to the panel how your project extends, or supplements, the course’s standard curriculum requirements. Also, bear in mind that your project will be assessed on artistic merit of the work. 

If you are applying for funding to complete a training program, course, workshop or diploma, explain how doing so will impact positively on your career or practice. 

Do you fund feature film, television or documentary? 

While we can support screen-based art, we do not generally support activities associated with feature film, television or documentary. See Screen Australia, the Federal Government’s primary agency for production of Australian screen activity. https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/  

No, we do not offer quick response grants. Outside of our regular grants program, we do offer a number of other grants and opportunities. 

Yes. Early career artists are eligible to apply for funding through this category.  

Yes. Individuals and Groups can propose a program of projects and/or activities. This could be a series of projects; or a suite of activities over a fixed period of time.

We encourage applicants to be mindful of the following considerations: 

The activities should each contribute toward a clear, unifying overall objective –  for example,  the development of an individuals or group’s artistic practice. The suite of activity could include creative development or presentation alongside professional development opportunities. It is important to demonstrate the rationale for the inclusion of these activities and how the overall program or suite of activity will align with the individuals or group’s artistic practice and ambition.

In proposing a program consisting of multiple projects or activities, it is possible that some individual projects may be less compelling than others. If you are submitting an application proposing multiple activities or projects, we encourage you to ensure that a similar level of consideration, planning, and artistic merit is common to each to avoid one component of your program potentially letting down the others. 

You may wish to consider using one of the 3 URLs you can provide as support material to link to a document that provides more detail about each individual project or activity in your program. 

As a national arts funding body, all Australia Council grant rounds are competitive. Success rates are usually between 15% and 20%. Success rate for this category may be higher depending on demand.

Yes. Projects must have a start date that falls after we notify you of the outcome of your application, and no later than one year from that date. We will notify you of the outcome of your application approximately 12 weeks after the closing date. 

No. However, applications involving venues and partners are likely to be more competitive if their involvement is confirmed. 

Australia Council staff are available to assist you in understanding the purpose of the grant, application requirements, and submitting your application. Staff can assist over email, phone and using Skype. We cannot review application drafts. 

Additional support can be discussed where needed. Where the additional support required is beyond the scope of what our staff can provide, we may recommend speaking to an appropriate organisation for further assistance. 

The best applications are those where the voice of the artist comes through. Where possible you, ‘the artist’, should write your application. Your manager may administer the grant on your behalf to undertake the financial and reporting requirements. 

If you are applying as an unincorporated entity, unincorporated association or partnership you do not need to have an administrator for your grant. However, you must be able to provide an ABN and bank account that are in the group’s name. If you cannot do this you must nominate an administrator. For more information about this, please contact us. 

All individual or organisation grant applicants based in Australia must have an active Australian Business Number (ABN). Individual applicants without an ABN may have their grant administered by an individual or organisation with an ABN. Organisations operating outside of Australia do not need an ABN to apply. Individuals based outside of Australia may not need an ABN to apply, depending on their circumstances (please check with your accountant or tax advisor). 

Furthermore, the name of the applicant must match the name of the ABN and the name of the bank account into which we pay the funds. There are no exceptions to this rule. If you cannot provide an ABN and bank account that are in the same name as the applicant, you will need to nominate an administrator for your grant. 

For more information about this, please contact us.

Grants can be considered income by Centrelink. The amount is generally assessed as a lump sum and could affect your Centrelink payment for the financial year. Artists who are running a business (even on a small scale) may have their grant treated differently. It is possible to have your grant paid to an administering body if you wish. 

Applicants should contact Centrelink on 13 28 50 for advice. Additionally, Centrelink’s Financial Information Service (FIS) is an education and information service available to everyone in the community and may be of benefit to applicants who also receive assistance through the social security system. To contact FIS phone 13 23 00. 

Yes.  The Australia Council expects that artists professionally employed or engaged on Australia Council-funded activities will be remunerated for their work in line with industry standards. Payment of artist fees should be reflected in your application budget. 

For more information, see our Payment of Artists page. 

Our grants program is primarily designed to support projects that have a defined start and end date, rather than ongoing organisational administration costs. Project budgets that include a high proportion of administration costs may be less competitive. However, if you do need funding to cover administration costs directly related to the delivery of your project, you can include them in your grant request. 

Grants paid by the Australia Council may be considered part of your income in a financial year and may be subject to tax. You must determine your own taxation liabilities. We suggest you consult your financial adviser or contact the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 66. 

No. The Australia Council encourages applicants whose projects will take place in regional and remote locations to budget accurately and realistically, as it is recognised that costs may differ between regions and major cities. 

If you are GST-registered when you receive an Australia Council grant, the Australia Council will pay the grant amount plus GST. The budget provided in your application should be exclusive of GST. 

Yes. The Australia Council recognises that funding may be required for access costs incurred by applicants with disability, or for costs associated with working with artists with disability – who may have particular access needs (e.g. use of an interpreter, translation services, specific technical equipment, support worker/carer assistance). Access costs are viewed as legitimate expenses and may be included in an applicant’s budget. The Australia Council encourages applicants to ensure that their work is accessible to everyone. Therefore, budgets may also include costs associated with making activities accessible to a wide range of people (e.g. performances using Auslan, captioning, audio description, temporary building adjustments, materials in other formats such as Braille or CD). 

The application form calculates your grant request as the difference between your total cash income, and your total cash costs. The gap between these two numbers is the grant request. In-kind contributions are not included in this calculation. 

Total cash costs – total cash income = grant request 

For example – 

$50,000 cash costs – $30,000 cash income = $20,000 Australia Council grant request. 

Yes. The Australia Council recognises that childcare needs may impede access to employment in the arts. Accordingly, childcare is a legitimate expense to include in an applicant’s budget. 

We encourage our applicants to seek funding from other sources to cover the complete costs of their projects. While it does depend on the size of your grant request to us, we would expect that applicants with large grant requests would also secure funding from elsewhere to cover all costs associated with a large-scale project. 

Yes. Out-of-pocket expenses such as telephone calls or petrol for travel, are recognised as legitimate expenses and may be included in an applicant’s budget. 

Yes. In-kind support refers to resources, goods and services (for example, use of a venue, materials, and/or people’s time) provided by yourself or others either free of charge, or below market value. Detailing in-kind costs in the budget is important as it gives peers a full understanding of the viability of your project and levels of support you are receiving. In-kind costs are also an expense so, when you save your application, any in-kind income you included will auto-populate to the expenses side of the budget.