Carriageworks is the largest contemporary multi-arts centre in Australia, presenting work by hundreds of artists and companies from around Australia and overseas every year. Carriageworks generates 75% of its revenue outside of government funding, primarily through on-site events and programs. The sudden cancellation or postponement of six months of activities due to restrictions on public gatherings has resulted in an irreparable loss of income. Activities that had been scheduled for this period included iconic events such as Sydney Writers’ Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, and the design event Semi Permanent (aligned with VIVID Sydney).
“Following the earlier loss of shifts for casual staff, in early-April we stood down almost half of our core staff and asked those remaining to move to a three-day week. Focussing on essential work only we have been striving to find a way through the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown,” Carriageworks CEO Blair French said today.
“Since opening in 2007, Carriageworks has enjoyed the support of both the NSW and Federal Governments, and the generosity of its many partners and donors. During this time it has become a Sydney institution attracting one million visitors a year to the site in Redfern and up to 5000 people every Saturday to the Carriageworks Farmers Market. But with restrictions on social gatherings likely to remain in place for some time to come, the Board determined that it had no alternative but to place the company into Voluntary Administration.”
KPMG’s Phil Quinlan and Morgan Kelly have been appointed Voluntary Administrators of Carriageworks Limited. Phil Quinlan, Restructuring Services Partner, KPMG Australia said: “We will be working closely with the Carriageworks executive and its stakeholders to try and secure the future of Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct.”
“We will be exploring the possibility of a Deed of Company Arrangement to stabilise Carriageworks’ financial position and allow it to continue its important role for Australian arts and culture. All options are on the table for consideration” Quinlan said.
“The Carriageworks Board regret that this action has had to be taken. They are mindful of the impact of this situation upon independent artists and partner companies across the performing and visual arts at a time when the effects of COVID-19 related closures have made this sector so vulnerable. The Board remain hopeful that the Carriageworks facility will be able re-open to artists and community alike once NSW emerges from the effects of the current pandemic,” Mr French said.