Saturday, August 26, 2017

Darlinghurst Theatre Company

Posted - with permission - by Frank McKone

In the spirit of our Canberra Critics' Circle Conversations, here is a mission statement from Glen Terry, Executive Producer, Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Eternity Playhouse, Sydney:

From: Glenn Terry
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2017
Subject: Darlinghurst Theatre Company

Dear people on our Media Invitation list,

I have had the opportunity to meet some of you and avail you of our company’s work. Darlinghurst Theatre Company has evolved and developed so much over the last few years and the following will give you more of an understanding of our company and the context of our work.

As you are no doubt aware, independent artists including many established artists often work for little or no pay and often fund their own production costs. It’s an investment that many professional artists make in their own work but it puts significant pressure on artists’ practice and their lives.

MEEA Award for performers
Darlinghurst Theatre Company is committed and passionate about contributing to the sustainability of the theatre sector and has worked tirelessly towards this goal. At the Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst Theatre Company (DTC) has developed a unique and exemplary model for supporting independent artists’ work, whereby artists’ productions are fully funded and produced by DTC; including artists paid at award wages and industry rates.

A performer would commonly make somewhere between $0 to $1,000 for 8 weeks work in an independent profit share production for rehearsal and performances. With DTC a performer is paid the MEEA award and receives $10,323 including annual leave plus super for 8 weeks work. A production represents a significant investment in independent artists’ work by DTC.

Artistic Direction
Each production Director and their creative team become our artistic leaders.  At DTC my role as Executive Producer is to ensure the artistic integrity of our work and that each production’s thesis and vision is embraced and thoroughly explored.

Our artistic model seeks submissions of work from professional artists. We ensure that diverse voices and stories are represented on our stage. Our major productions are created by independent artists which increases mainstage opportunities in the sector. Productions are programmed through a peer selection process comprised of experienced and respected artists and practitioners led by myself as Executive Producer.

DTC is a unique professional company
DTC is a professional theatre company that sits between flagship theatre companies (e.g. Belvoir and STC) and independent theatres that work with independent artists and remunerate them through a profit-share model. This makes us unique – we operate as a professional theatre company but from a founding ethos of an independent theatre model.

DTC grew from a profit share model when it moved into the Eternity Playhouse: determined to pay award wages and to better support artists and their work. The DTC Board of Directors strongly stands by its position to pay award rates first and foremost to support a sustainable, healthy and viable arts sector.  MEAA, the artists’ union, supports this position and its view is that DTC has a responsibility to comply with industrial relations laws at the Eternity Playhouse and a responsibility to pay professional artists correctly.

DTC actively engages in discussion on topical and current issues.
DTC is committed to community and cultural engagement. This leads us to support and host events and public forums on important issues. Organisations in 2016 that we supported included ACON, Medecins Sans Frontiere, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, The University of NSW, City Talks/City of Sydney, Art Month, Australian Himalayan Foundation, Perspectives/Women in Design, Australian Writers Guild and Currency House. A milestone event in 2016 for DTC was our partnership with Women in Theatre and Screen to present their two-day Festival Fatale involving over 100 artists.

Here are some highlights of our company’s work at the Eternity Playhouse.

DTC milestones and achievements:
    DTC raised $690,000 for the Eternity Theatre fit-out and played an instrumental role in the development of the Eternity Playhouse, collaborating with the City of Sydney on the design of the venue.
    In 2013, DTC gifted the fit-out of our old venue at Potts Point to the City of Sydney valued at $500,000 - now the Hayes Theatre.
    In 2015, DTC became the first theatre company in Australia, working under an independent theatre model, to pay award wages and industry rates to all its artists.
    In 2016, DTC was the first theatre company in NSW to adopt a gender parity policy in the employment of artists.
    80,000 theatre patrons have attended our productions in the last 3½ years.
    In 2016, DTC launched Share the Love an access and equality initiative which provides free theatre tickets to people experiencing financial hardship.
    In 2016, to enhance our theatre going experience we opened our restaurant at the Eternity Playhouse.
    In 2017 we launched our exhibition space in the Eternity Playhouse foyer with visual art by Dr Ella Dreyfus in tandem with our production Kindertransport.
    In 2017 we will stage 211 professional theatre performances at the Eternity Playhouse which will employ 80 artists.

In 2018, DTC will celebrate its 25th birthday and the contributions it has made to the theatre sector. DTC founded and developed a number of initiatives into standalone incorporated companies which have had an impact on thousands of people.

From 2007 to 2012, DTC founded and developed Critical Stages, an initiative to tour outstanding independent theatre. During this time 120 independent artists were employed in DTC’s Critical Stages tours to over 90 towns across Australia playing to 80,000 attendees. Critical Stages continues to tour independent theatre across Australia.

From 2001 to 2010, DTC founded and developed Milk Crate Theatre, Australia’s first theatre company dedicated to homeless and disadvantaged people.

From 1992 to 2008, DTC founded and developed Darlo Drama, a community drama and performance school for adult amateurs. Now with its own premises on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

I feel very strongly about Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s ethos and our commitment to artists and the industry and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about its work and something of its history and to give you a better understanding for our work and remit.

All the best


Executive Producer

Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Eternity Playhouse
39 Burton St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

T 02 9331 3107  E