ATF in 2021 proceeded in a deconstructed, COVID responsive way. We planned five different events: three in person, and two online, across the year. The in-person events were designed so that if borders closed, the events could be hyper-local, with online elements where appropriate. As 2021 progressed, we felt lucky to have had a large in-person gathering in Adelaide in May! The Darwin gathering shifted online, and the Sydney in-person gathering was cancelled (instead, we ran a gathering with our partners Performance Space, Theatre Network NSW and Carriageworks @ Liveworks in October 2022).
ATF#1 – Neighbourhood Adelaide, 20 May 2021
In partnership with APAM and DreamBIG Children’s Festival, we hosted a gathering for 150 delegates on the lands of the Kaurna people. Neighbourhood Adelaide gave space to delegates for reflection, exchange, and revitalising our connections. Neighbourhood featured the following artists: Yasmin Gurreeboo – Act Now Theatre, Sue Giles – Polyglot Theatre / ASSITEJ International, Joshua Campton – Independent Artist/Slingsby, Sasha Zahra – Windmill Theatre Company, Fez Fa’anana – Independent Artist, Michelle Ryan – Restless Dance Theatre, Nikki Ashby – Country Arts SA.
ATF#2 – Online gathering, 4 August 2021
For ATF #2: Indie Career Pathways, we hosted 30 independent creatives to listen to the journeys of established creative practitioners, ask questions, and network with the speakers and the other delegates. Michelle Law (Writer), Melanie Lane (Performer & Choreographer), Victoria Falconer (Performer & Musical Director) and Emily O’Brien (Production Manager & Risk Consultant).
ATF#3 – Online and in Darwin, 16 August 2021
Instead of our planned afternoon of discussion, small groups, keynotes and a panel discussion, Theatre Network Australia and APAM hosted an online participatory discussion: Building a Plan for Beyond Survival. TNA’s Drinks Function as part of Darwin Festival was cancelled due to the Darwin lockdown.
ATF#4 – Online peer-learning, 5 October – 17 November, 2021
In partnership with the University of Queensland’s Creating Out Loud research project, the fourth ATF gathering was a program of online peer learning for performing arts company leadership. Over seven sessions, groups were guided through topics including facilitation, peer coaching, communicating value, sustainability, wellbeing, business models, and artistic practice.