Opinion — NORPA Quarterly (Summer)

growing a creative hot-spot

RPA is one of a few regional theatre companies still making original performance work. We are privileged to do that from the Northern Rivers which has the fastest growing creative industries in New South Wales. The making of new work by NORPA is inspired by our place and it relies on the amazing array of creative talent that exists here to do it.

The Northern Rivers is also home to visual artists, dancers, circus performers, film makers and a host of others whose talent is revealed and celebrated by many of our local arts organisations, galleries and venues. It is the creative spirit of the artists and the people of the region that is the essence of our creative sector’s success.

But, infrastructure and investment are also important to long-term sustainability. That means maintaining the technology and production capacity of a performing arts centre like Lismore City Hall. And, creating and maintaining studio spaces for artists to rehearse and develop new works as they do at NORPA. That is also true for other art-forms across the Northern Rivers.

The New South Wales government has created a new initiative, believed to be one of the first in the world, to create a cultural infrastructure strategic plan for regional New South Wales that looks ahead to 2025.

The Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and Arts Minister Don Harwin, said of the development of the strategic plan, “As a government we are determined to raise New South Wales’ cultural infrastructure to world class standards, ensuring that as we go forward, we maintain and expand our arts infrastructure on a sound and long-term basis.”

Often regional areas are forgotten in favour of metropolitan areas in the building and provision of major cultural infrastructure. This new initiative goes a long way to address our concerns and will help build on the success of arts companies like NORPA and others in the Northern Rivers. It will contribute to our sustainability, and very importantly, contribute to keeping regional voices and stories alive in the national cultural landscape.

NORPA’s work is renowned locally and our audience come from across the whole region. We also tour nationally and our international reach is growing. With the support of the New South Wales government, the creative industries will continue to be one of the most significant contributors to the Northern Rivers economy, tourism, liveability and no doubt will be a significant factor in attracting more investment.

To learn more and read more about the New South Wales’ government Cultural Infrastructure Action Plan click here.

by Patrick Healey