Dear members, artists and supporters,
Thanks for your generous and ongoing support of The Blue Room Theatre since March. We’ve continued to receive donations, messages of support and membership sign-ups, all of which have kept us going and feeling valued by the community.
Over the last few months, our staff and board have been working hard to re-start our artistic program and frame our 2021 program. Throughout the process, we have been faced with some hard questions. Is it viable to run performance seasons as normal in our venue? (Our theatres can only accommodate fifteen audiences each under Phase 4 restrictions.) What are the long-term consequences of the Australia Council decision to not renew our four-year funding, and how will we respond?
To begin to overcome these challenges, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our programming of performance seasons in 2021 and to instead focus on the long-term recovery, future planning and organisational sustainability of The Blue Room Theatre.
Taking a step back from delivering a packed program in 2021 will create the space needed for The Blue Room Theatre to become more resilient and responsive in the face of ongoing disruption and change. It will allow us to bring our community together to reflect, re-create and re-define what live performance will look like and how it will be made. It will give us time to think, research, plan and consult with the community about what and how we provide platforms for our indie artists and how audiences access their work. We will take this opportunity to ensure that The Blue Room Theatre can support artists to do more than just survive, but to thrive.
To create this much needed space to shape the next chapter of The Blue Room Theatre’s journey, we are announcing that we are taking a year off delivering the Summer Nights program as part of FRINGE WORLD, and delaying our annual season call out.
We are announcing that we are taking a year off delivering the Summer Nights program as part of FRINGE WORLD, and delaying our annual season call out.
Taking A Break from Summer Nights
The practicalities of presenting a large program of works with multiple performances a night in our venue, alongside the threat of enduring or returning social distancing restrictions, has unfortunately made the Summer Nights program unviable in 2021. The financial and staffing resources required to deliver the program will also reduce our capacity to do the big picture thinking we need to do to ensure our long-term sustainability.
Delaying Applications for the Annual Season
Between April and August next year, we will be re-programming cancelled season shows from 2020. We will still have new opportunities for new works to be programmed from September – December 2021. The main change to this process will be a delay in the application callout to early 2021, instead of the anticipated September 2020 callout.
2021 New Opportunities
We will announce a range of rolling and responsive new opportunities for artists to develop and present in 2021. We regret that we cannot yet provide certainty on what these opportunities look like, however we will continue to provide access points, spaces and opportunities for our membership and community to connect. Some of these opportunities will be new development platforms and pilot programs, others will be familiar.
We know that many artists, members and audiences will be disappointed with the news of these 2021 changes. We hope that this statement goes some way to explaining why we have made this difficult decision, but we know that some sadness may still be felt in our community.
To further explain how we arrived at our decision and answer questions as best we can about the future of The Blue Room Theatre’s program, we will be holding an in-person information session on the 2021 changes on Thursday 10th September at 5.30pm at the State Theatre Centre of WA.
We look forward to sharing more updates on opportunities in 2021 as they are confirmed and welcoming everyone back to the venue and independent performance soon.
The Blue Room Theatre
Images: Rebecca Mansell