Driving and Activating the Regional Theatre Sector (DARTS)

JUTE is dedicated to creating a sustainable and confident regional theatre sector in Queensland through the development and implementation of a 3-year strategy, DARTS. The program’s built-in redundancy highlights JUTE’s commitment to enabling regional communities to find their own place and thrive independently.

The Details:

JUTE Theatre Company, a regional theatre company with a strong commitment to the development of regional theatre practitioners, is embarking on an ambitious project to create a connected and vibrant regional theatre sector leading up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympics. This initiative aims to increase employment opportunities, enhance the capacity and independence of regional centres, grow the investment in the regional sector and cultivate authentic, high-quality new work.

JUTE’s approach to this project is rooted in strategic thinking, capacity building, and forging new pathways. The company is dedicated to championing regional artists, cultivating new audiences, and creating life-changing experiences through theatre.

Key components of the Driving and Activating the Regional Theatre Sector (DARTS) initiative include embracing Brisbane 2032 across Queensland, elevating First Nations arts, activating the state’s various places and spaces, driving social change, and strengthening communities. By sharing our regional stories and celebrating our storytellers, this project aligns with the goals outlined in the Queensland Government Creative Together Grow Roadmap, which aims to nurture a brighter, bolder, more diverse, and sustainable creative landscape for the state.

Through strategic partnerships and collaborations, JUTE aims to work with regional artists and companies to achieve long-term impact and transformation in the regional theatre sector. The project will leverage the momentum of the Brisbane 2032 Olympics to drive positive change, provide platforms for First Nations artists, activate Queensland’s unique cultural assets, and foster a sense of community engagement.

The Driving and Activating the Regional Theatre Sector (DARTS) initiative represents a strategic and comprehensive approach to develop a thriving regional theatre sector in Queensland. By embracing new perspectives, championing regional artists, and creating meaningful experiences, JUTE Theatre Company is poised to contribute to the long-term sustainability and growth of the theatre sector, while honouring the cultural heritage and stories of Queensland’s regional centres.

JUTE is dedicated to developing a connected and vibrant regional theatre sector. Our objective is to increase employment and foster the capacity and independence of regional centres. We aim to achieve this by supporting the sector to create authentic local works of exceptional quality. As we approach the Brisbane Olympics in 2032, our vision is to collaborate with partners and empower regional communities. Through a dedicated cross-regional development, production and touring program, we aim to celebrate and promote the richness of authentic local works. Our goal is to highlight the creativity and cultural diversity of our regions as part of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

Throughout the 32-year journey of JUTE, we have maintained regular contact with our Australian regional theatre counterparts to address the need for capacity building opportunities and discuss the challenges arising from limited resources, investment, and leadership in undertaking this process.

The emergence of Covid presented us with an unexpected opportunity to explore the power of digital connections in breaking down barriers.

Thanks to the support of a 3-year project funded through the Regional Arts Fund – Renewal fund (Build Back Better, 2021-2023), we were able to engage with the regional sector, identify crucial skills gaps, and implement extensive online and in-person skills development programs.

Additionally, we fostered valuable relationships that facilitated the cross-regional touring of locally produced work.

Based on the Build Back Better program feedback and future needs analysis, JUTE has developed a business case and 3-year strategy for continued support for the regional theatre sector.

  • Increased Capacity and Independence:
      • The regional theatre sector develops enhanced capacity and independence, enabling regional centres to grow their own authentic high-quality new works.
  • Collaborative Partnerships:
      • Strong partnerships and investments are established and maintained with both regional and metropolitan organisations, leading to collective support for the regional theatre sector.
  • Amplifying Diverse Voices:
      • New works are developed using culturally respectful processes and protocols that celebrate the diverse voices of regional Queensland.
  • Engaging Diverse Audiences:
      • New and established audiences are engaged by fostering deep connections with diverse regional communities.
  • Skills Development and Professional Growth:
      • Regional artists and theatre practitioners experience professional growth and development opportunities through skills programs, secondment opportunities, and writer-in-residence initiatives.
  • Touring and Regional Reach:
      • Productions and performances connect across Queensland, expanding the reach and impact of regional theatre through investment in skills and collaboration.
  • Program Evaluation and Sustainability:
      • The program is evaluated to measure its success and identify areas for improvement. A framework for sustainability beyond the project’s timeline is developed.

JUTE has engaged a skilled regional arts-worker, Jessica Lamb, as Creative Producer to co-ordinate the 3-year program with the support of JUTE’s Artistic Director Suellen Maunder and Senior Creative Producer, Kathryn Ash.

2024:

PARTNERSHIPS AND INVESTMENTS

  • Consolidate regional theatre partnerships, inviting professional regional theatre centres and leading independent theatre-makers, identified during Build Back Better, to a 3-day Regional Theatre Summit in Cairns (DARTS Planning Jam).
  • Consolidate partnership commitments and investments with metropolitan organisations and theatre companies. 
  • Grow cash and in-kind support from stakeholders.
  • Grow further investment to enhance 3-year programming, leveraging partnerships and in-kind support.
  • Bring on a Monitoring and Evaluation program to operate over 3 years.
  • Build a framework for sustainability/self-reliance beyond 2026.

THEATRE AND AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT

  • Roll out theatre skills development and network-making program (virtual/in person) inspired by the successful Build Back Better Model.
  • Writer-in-residence program 
  • Secondment opportunities through regional and metropolitan partners.
  • Develop models for diverse audience engagement
  • Generate diverse work exploring a variety of regional perspectives (i.e. First Nations, CALD, Queer, Gender diverse, Artists with disability/Disabled artists) 
  • Amplify the national significance of regional theatre practice
  • Develop marketing strategies & risk management framework appropriate to regional theatre centres and program goals.
  • Develop an Investment Framework for the regional theatre sector to be implemented in years 2 & 3.
  • Develop regional strategy for the future work development, production, especially towards the Olympics.

Want to know more? Fill out the form below:

Or contact our DARTS Creative Producer:

Jessica Lamb
M: 0488 104 785
E: jessica.darts@jute.com.au   

This projected is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.