Arts Center Melbourne brings groundbreaking technical training program to Queensland theaters

Arts Center Melbourne announced today that it will partner with the Queensland Performing Arts Center (QPAC) and Stage QLD to deliver a $750,000 accredited training program for technical performing arts teams. The first such collaboration, funded through the post-COVID collaborative funding round, builds on Melbourne’s arts industry learning initiative and Tech Connect training program.

The Post-Covid Collaborative Funding Round is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund, the Gandel Foundation, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, the Ian Potter Foundation and the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.

Leanne Lawrence, Acting CEO of Melbourne Arts Centre:

Arts Center Melbourne’s Tech Connect program is a groundbreaking initiative as it is the only one in Australia operating in a working theater space. We are delighted to offer this successful program in Queensland where there is an immediate and ongoing need for an industry-based accredited training organization. It is so important that we take a leadership role in helping the performing arts sector recover from the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tech Connect QLD training builds on the Tech Connect Victoria program, funded by Creative Victoria, which has delivered training in regional hubs such as Horsham, Shepparton, Gippsland and Geelong. The Queensland program will deliver and deliver accredited industry training that creates sustainable employment pathways for young technical teams in the arts sector to train the next generation of theater technicians.

The training model combines formal classroom study with structured mentorship in theaters allowing trainees to work alongside the best technical specialists, directors, designers and performers in the industry.

Jenny Wheatley, Executive Director of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation:

Many young people aspire to work in the arts, but this only becomes a reality for a few. Especially for young people in the regions, training in stage production skills relevant to the industry is rare or non-existent. VFFF is delighted to support the Tech Connect partnership between Queensland Performing Arts Center and Arts Center Melbourne, to facilitate on-the-job learning for young people in performing arts venues.

APQC Executive Director John Kotzas:

While we often collaborate with our friends at the Arts Center Melbourne to tour top-notch international artists, it is wonderful to now work with them behind the scenes to build the future resilience of Queensland’s arts and culture sector by supporting emerging artists and technical abilities. QPAC is grateful for the support of Tech Connect QLD’s funding partners, especially the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, and we look forward to beginning the program in early 2023.

Tim Panitz, Stage Queensland Technical Committee Chair:

The Melbourne Arts Center training program is the benchmark for internships in the live theater sector and this program helps to provide opportunities in our regional venues while allowing trainees to also experience how the First Quarter works of the Performing Arts in Queensland, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Arts Center Melbourne’s unique and nationally accredited Registered Training Organization (RTO) – Arts Industry Learning – will provide training for technical supervisors (Certificate level IV) and trainees (Certificate level III). The RTO will provide face-to-face training and assessment requirements over annual designated block training periods of 2-3 weeks with QPAC designated as the training center for the first year. For subsequent years, block training periods will align with Stage QLD conferences at other statewide host/hub locations.

Arts Center Melbourne training will also include industry-specific mental health sessions delivered by the Arts Wellbeing Collective (AWC). The AWC brings together the expertise of mental health and allied health professionals with the industry knowledge of its members to co-design resources and services that support the positive mental health of people working in the performing arts.

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