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Australia’s 28 major performing arts companies experienced strong growth in box office, private income and main stage attendances in 2007, according to a report from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Securing the Future: An assessment of progress 2001 to 2007 showed the companies’ box office and private income rising to their highest levels since the annual tracking survey began, with their net assets reaching $77.8 million from $17.1 million six years ago.

The companies performed strongly on several other indicators in 2007 – with mainstage attendances reaching almost 2.3 million (compared to 2.1 million in 2006), 209 Australian works being presented (194 in 2006) and the number of new works being presented steady at 65 (68 in 2006). There were declines in the number of tours within Australia and the number attending education programs, as the costs for transport and logistics have risen.

Australia Council executive director of arts organisations Tony Grybowski said that sound management of the major performing arts companies was paying dividends.

‘The strong financial results in 2007 demonstrate the skills of the 28 major performing arts companies’ boards and management in achieving positive outcomes in the face of rapidly rising costs,’ he said.

‘We expect to see strong performances in 2008 as the impact of the Australian Government’s 2007-08 Budget package worth an additional $24.1 million over four years is felt, especially in boosting national touring and education programs. The creation of the Australia Council’s new arts organisations division will also help build the sector into the future.’

Securing the Future tracks the recommendations of the 2001 Major Performing Arts Inquiry report around access, artistic vibrancy and financial viability.

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Brianna Roberts


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