AMPAG to wind up in September

MSO Messiah with Bramwell Tovey – Photo by Daniel Aulsebrook

The Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) is set to close after having served since 1999 as the representative and advocacy organisation for Australia’s most prominent performing arts companies.

In a statement it released on 3 August, the body announced that it will wind up on 27 September to “make way for a new unified advocacy voice for the not-for-profit performing arts sector”.

Prompting the decision, it elaborated, was the recent establishment of the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework (NPAPF) that has introduced a new set of public funding arrangements for Australian’s performing arts sector.

“With the creation of the National Performing Arts Partnership Framework released by the Australia Council at the end of 2019, the sector agreed it was timely to re-imagine the future of arts advocacy,” the statement says.

“Consultation over the past months confirms there is goodwill and great support for developing a differently structured approach to strengthen this united voice. Discussion around a small number of encouraging options for unified advocacy are underway,” it adds.

AMPAG Chair Mary Jo Capps says in the statement: “Advocacy must be constantly evolving if it is to be effective. The time has now come to make way for a new unified voice reflecting the not-for-profit performing arts sector. It is vital we are able to speak as one regarding the enormous public value delivered by the arts to all Australians.”

AMPAG’s advocacy work has included working with government authorities to enhance funding support for its 29 member companies across theatre, dance, ballet, chamber music, symphony orchestras and opera. In classical music, all Australia’s principal orchestras and opera companies are represented as members, along with the concert promoter Musica Viva.

The arts advocacy landscape in Australia has changed due to the arrival of NPAPF because the latter, having replaced the now defunct Major Performing Arts Framework, expands the number of funded companies through a two-stage invitation and assessment process.

What kind of umbrella organisation or structure will emerge as the replacement of AMPAG is yet to be decided, but the organisation says it looks forward to releasing more details “in the near future”.

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