Creative sector ‘tipping point’

Gareth McMillan
Gareth McMillan
The essential nature of the arts has been highlighted during Covid-19 lockdown, but requires funding to aid an "at-risk" creative sector, the Dunedin Fringe Festival says.

Festival director Gareth McMillan addressed councillors at the Dunedin City Council’s annual plan hearings yesterday, and said Dunedin was at risk of losing its homegrown professional industry if contestable funding pools were not increased.

"We are close to a tipping point which will leave us with dedicated amateurs and receiving touring productions from larger centres."

Mr McMillian said the lack of a fit-for-purpose, mid-sized performing arts venue was "crippling" the local industry.

For current venues in the city, the need for additional support was well-documented and necessary.

Community Access Grant funding needed to be increased, and available to venues such as the Regent and Mayfair Theatres, and the New Athenaeum Theatre.


The council have already spent a small fortune on consults to tell them how to save the arts. They also employ directly and indirectly dozens of people in the arts. Huge amounts of taxes are spent on the arts. The problem is that by the time all the consultants, mangers, directors, art agencies, civil servants, educators, charities, not for profit organisations and trusts, and amateurs have taken their cut there is hardly anything left for the actual artist. I think there must be more people making a living from "funding" the arts than actually performing art. Oh and I'm pretty sure you can not apply for a community access grant if you are a professional, you have to be a registered charity or not for profit organisation.

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