Community Engagement


Across the nation, from small country towns to the suburbs of major cities, performing arts companies and venues play their part as a hub for community growth and development. 

In 2011 the companies toured 381 seasons nationally and regionally. They are active participants in their communities, running joint performances, access and education programs, workshops, classes, lectures and seminars. They generate social cohesion. They reflect and develop our national identity. They capture our stories. And they inspire insight into who we are as individuals and as communities.

Community engagement is also about building relationships in particular segments of a community which can lead to new audiences that may not previously have been engaged.

They show their true community colours by being there in times of tragedy in 2011, many held concerts to support victims of the Queensland & Victoria floods, in 2009 Circus Oz helped rebuild country Victoria towns spirit and resilience through workshops and performance.

In 2012 the major performing arts companies' audience reach grew by a further 118,000 including 291 000 in regional and remote areas.

In our increasing complex and bewildering global environment, the performing arts can help us interpret our rapidly changing worldóin ways that celebrate diversity and personal growth. If we are prepared to listen and to hear, they can teach us new ways of seeing.

Read more about how the companies engage with communities, and the great work they do right across the nation.

Accessing the Arts

See our page Arts Access for more information.


Thinking in Terms of Community: The TSO

Thinking in Terms of Community: The TSO

Often there are two cultures that exist side by side inside a symphony orchestra. There is a player culture that is borne from the many years of training, ethos and experience that each of its musicians brings. Then there is a management and marketing culture that is concerned with steering the orchestra to where opportunities for audience and brand development are seen to exist writes Music Australia's Graham Strahle.

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WA Ballet seizes the moment in Albany

WA Ballet seizes the moment in Albany

It's been a busy week for the West Australian Ballet, having spent a long weekend in Albany with Bboy champion Pepito, as well as bringing world-renowned prima ballerina Madeleine Eastoe to Perth for a masterclass.

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The Magic Island

The Magic Island

A personal recollection by Simon Rogers, Manager of Artistic Planning, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, on how the orchestra went about developing a new recording for the Hush Foundation in a collaboration that extended its reach and forged new partnerships.

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Concert for Life tackles suicide prevention

Concert for Life tackles suicide prevention

​Every day in Australia almost seven people die by suicide—and it is shocking statistics like this that brought together some of our finest musicians in a fundraising concert in Sydney (10 September), marking World Suicide Prevention Day.

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Respect, Recognition and Reconciliation

Respect, Recognition and Reconciliation

Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) and Sibelco Australia received the 2015 Premier’s Reconciliation Award at a ceremony in Brisbane during National Reconciliation Week.

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Dance has major benefits for those with Parkinson's

Dance has major benefits for those with Parkinson's

Queensland Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s program has had positive physical, social, cognitive and emotional benefits for participants affected by Parkinson’s disease, according to research undertaken by QUT and The University of Queensland.

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Community choirs take centre stage

Community choirs take centre stage

Around 500 singers from western Sydney will be performing on Saturday, 1 November at the Sydney Opera House, as part of Opera Australia’s Community Choirs Project.

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​Bangarra to spend time on country

​Bangarra to spend time on country

Bangarra starts its biggest ever regional tour of Australia on 17 September, performing Stephen Page’s Kinship double bill in Darwin, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Rockhampton and Cairns, as well as spending time on country with remote Indigenous communities.

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​Get ready to jive, shimmy and shake

​Get ready to jive, shimmy and shake

Sydney Dance Company’s Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela, has choreographed a new large-scale dance routine that will be performed by thousands in Sydney, London and Glasgow.

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​Opera Queensland calls all filmmakers

​Opera Queensland calls all filmmakers

Opera Queensland is calling all filmmakers to register their interest in documenting the company’s Project Puccini which gives hundreds of Queenslanders the opportunity to perform in the chorus of a new production of Puccini's La bohème.

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Community engagement: Case study 1: Circus Oz

Community engagement: Case study 1: Circus Oz

Many of Circus Oz's workshop programs focus on younger people, often children who are traumatised or who have fallen through the cracks of existing institutions can feel happy, motivated and inspired doing circus. While circus is fun, and collaborative, rather than competitive, the discipline necessary to develop skills seems to have positive effects on children's lives.

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Community engagement: Case study 2: Belvoir

Community engagement: Case study 2: Belvoir

The company has a full youth program, including the long-running Youth Express. Belvoir partners with youth support organisations such as Key College: Youth off the Streets, MYC (Marist Youth Care), Twenty10 and Exodus Youth to give young people access to a professional theatre company and their artists.

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Community engagement: Case study 4: Queensland Ballet

Community engagement: Case study 4: Queensland Ballet

A first in Australia, Queensland Ballet is implementing Dance for PD in 2013. Originally developed in 2001 in New York by the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Dance for PD program has achieved significant results worldwide.

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Community engagement: Case study 5: Opera Queensland

Community engagement: Case study 5: Opera Queensland

​OperaQ is currently working on an exciting regional arts initiative 'Project Puccini', which will get hundreds of Queenslanders performing in an opera. They are looking forward to announcing the details of this project and how communities can get involved in 2014.

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Community engagement: Case study 6: The Australian Ballet

Community engagement: Case study 6: The Australian Ballet

The Young Aboriginal Women's Program was developed by The Australian Ballet and the Wannik Dance Academy at Mooroopna Secondary College in regional Victoria. Students of the Wannik Dance Academy engage in a specialist dance program, which is combined with academic studies.

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Community engagement: Case study 7: Orchestra Victoria

Community engagement: Case study 7: Orchestra Victoria

Orchestra Victoria's On The mOVe, Education Program evolved in response to a demonstrated and clearly articulated need from regional instrumental music teachers for contact with specialist professional musicians. Many gifted students do not reach their potential as musicians and discontinue learning their instrument due to lack of access to specialist teachers.

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Community engagement: Case study 8: Musica Viva

Community engagement: Case study 8: Musica Viva

In July 2012 celebrated Aboriginal soprano, playwright and composer Deborah Cheetham and her Short Black Opera Company (SBOC) undertook a six-day residency in Portland, Victoria.

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