‘Events obsessed’ South Australia in a ‘tricky spot’

A heavy hitter in the South Australian arts world has called for a rethink on the State’s reliance on big events as its arts sector undergoes a major shake-up.

Theatre director Geordie Brookman, who has recently left the State Theatre Company South Australia after six years as artistic director, says SA’s reliance on big events has gone too far.

“South Australia has become, to a degree, event-obsessed, and I think it’s become a bit of a rabbit hole for our industry,” he told the ABC.

“Traditionally, we’ve been a state that is all about makers, and all about generating work that has a long life, instead of being a touring hub for other people’s work.”

Brookman’s concern comes as the State Government considers a new arts plan that is being drawn up by a consultancy group led by interstate arts administrator Tony Grybowski.

Theatre director Geordie Brookman is questioning SA’s reliance on big events.

The arts sector has been called on to find $9 million a year in savings cuts between 2021-22.

“It’s a critically important time,” Brookman said. “These are once-in-a-generation moments and it’s going to feed into what sort of city, what sort of state we want to be.

“I think the way we relate to the arts helps define who we are as South Australians.”

Brookman says Premier Steven Marshall not anti-arts, but rather realist when it comes to the commercial aspect of the sector.

“He’s displayed a good knowledge and passion for the form, you know, I guess the next step is you always want to see that translate into cold, hard support,” Brookman said.