The federal government has announced the recipients of further monies from the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund, with $20 million to be shared amongst 63 organisations across the country.

Chris Howlett and Adele Ferguson

Chris Howlett and Adele Ferguson of Melbourne Digital Concert Hall. Image © Albert Comper

Amongst the recipients of this latest round of funding are Limelight Artist of the Year nominees Melbourne Digital Concert Hall and Katie Noonan with her new group AVÉ – Australian Vocal Ensemble. Other recipients include Melbourne Fringe, contemporary dance company Chunky Move, Sydney’s Sculpture by the Sea program and the Generations in Jazz festival in Adelaide.

Minister for the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said that this funding is aimed at ensuring arts organisations are ready to go once we are allowed to return to performance venues.

“This latest $20 million of funding is creating a pathway to recovery that will support nearly 23,000 jobs in more than 560 locations, more than half of which are located in regional and remote Australia,” Fletcher said.

“As the vaccine rollout continues at a strong pace, with 60 percent of Australians 16 and over now having received at least one dose, it is important that our arts and entertainment sector is primed to get activity restarted just as soon as public health requirements allow.”

Some of the projects receiving funding in this latest round include:

  • $948,865 for GWB Entertainment and The Australian Ballet to produce and tour an Australian production of An American in Paris.
  • $392,000 for Australian Theatre Live for to undertake a national cinema and streamed online tour of filmed live performances digitally captured at the 2022 Sydney Festival.
  • $278,000 for FORM Dance Projects to assist with their 2022 commissioning, including a new Australian dance production by director Meryl Tankard and composer Elena Kats-Chernin for Sydney Festival
  • $461,000 for Gurindji Freedom Day Festival, an annual three-day Indigenous festival held in the remote Northern Territory.

And in news sure to delight Australians of a certain age, this funding also includes nearly $1 million for the development and national tour of a live musical adaptation of the iconic Australian television show, Round the Twist.

Round the Twist

A new musical adaptation of Round the Twist was among the latest RISE Fund recipients. Image Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

This production is being produced by Garry McQuinn for RGM Production, who has taken Priscilla Queen of the Desert musical to the West End, Broadway and around the world. It is written by award-winning writer-composer Paul Hodge and directed by Simon Phillips (Muriel’s Wedding, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Love Never Dies).

Phillips said, “This is a brilliant opportunity to develop a musical based on a true classic of Australian children’s literature and television. Distilling 26 episodes of ghost-busting television into just two hours of thrilling musical theatre is no mean feat, and the grant will enable us to properly explore all its possibilities and produce a well-honed, action-packed result. It’s also terrific that the government has chosen to support the work of Paul Hodge, a young, up-and-coming musical writer of huge talent and potential. His commitment to Round the Twist The Musical has been unswerving and it’s fantastic that it has been given a chance to come to life.”

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