HELP: NORPA Foundation president Annie Curtin and general manager Patrick Healey are excited to announce Creative Partnerships Australia has awarded a $50,000 grant, which will mean money donated by May 31 to Lismore's Theatre Production Company will be matched by the government.
HELP: NORPA Foundation president Annie Curtin and general manager Patrick Healey are excited to announce Creative Partnerships Australia has awarded a $50,000 grant, which will mean money donated by May 31 to Lismore's Theatre Production Company will be matched by the government. Sophie Moeller

NORPA needs you

IF YOU wondered why NORPA's 2019 season has been announced with minimum fanfare, it's because 2018 was a very tough year for our not-for-profit independent theatre company.

Ticket sales took a hit as the local economy struggled to get back on its feet after the flood and the company's infrastructure was severely compromised.

If it wasn't for the support of the theatre sector from "every state and territory”, including benefit concerts from Opera Australia and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, NORPA general manager Patrick Healey said our beloved company at City Hall could have been in jeopardy.

With "discretionary spending down” the board had to make some careful decisions with its budgets, Mr Healey said.

So it was with huge gratitude NORPA was last month awarded a $50,000 Creative Partnerships Australia grant, which will see every dollar donated to our independent theatre company matched by the government.

The message now is: NORPA needs you.

The company, which is one of only three independent theatre producers remaining in the country, has established the NORPA Foundation's "Help Keep Regional Theatre Alive” campaign.

On November 21, it will be this new fundraising initiative that gets the launch. The aim is to give benefactors more of an idea of what goes on behind the scenes.

Foundation member Annie Curtin, who was instrumental in starting Our Kids, said the grant presented "a huge opportunity for the company to make sure NORPA remains not just viable but able to grow and continue to create new work”.

"It is also a way to kickstart community engagement with its theatre on a deeper level,” she said.

"Many people think it is great we have this cultural organisation that brings wonderful productions to town but they may not realise that buying tickets alone is not enough to sustain the company.

"We need to have more financial engagement with the community to keep NORPA resilient.”

The foundation is exploring ways people can give according to their means, with more options to give via the website, on a regular basis and at the point of ticket sales.

The deadline for raising $50,000 is May 31, 2019.

The NORPA Foundation would like the community to ask itself: "What does NORPA mean to the region?”

To learn more about its theatre in creation, education program and commitment to Bundjalung work, the launch will begin at 5.30pm on Wednesday, November 21. There will be a performance by the Nini Nhari Gali dancers and a talk by creative director Janis Balodis.


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