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Arts bodies share talent

THE West Australian Opera and the Black Swan Theatre are pooling their resources to get the arts message out to young people.

It’s an investment in the future audience for both the opera and theatre in Perth and an innovative scheme to stretch the budget.

The West Australian Opera and the Black Swan Theatre have developed a joint education and artform manager’s role to develop new audiences in the community.

West Australian Opera general manager Carolyn Chard said the role had been developed to encourage students and teachers to get involved in the arts.

This is the second time the West Australian Opera has shared a staff member with another organisation.

The WA Symphony and the West Australian Opera previously shared an education and artform manager, who proved so successful for the WA Symphony that they expanded the role to a full-time position.

“This left us to make a decision on whether to fill the position five days a week,” Ms Chard said.

“Black Swan was an obvious choice because they are also in a similar position in that they don’t have a full-time education manager.

“So it makes sense to share the resource.”

The role involved developing relationships with teachers and students and encouraging participation in the arts and attendance at productions.

The provision of information packs to teachers means students attending productions will better understand the performance, making the experience more valuable.

For both Black Swan Theatre and the West Australian Opera, the shared role is a stepping stone ahead of securing full-time roles for both the companies.

It also is the second time the Black Swan Theatre has shared a staff resource with another arts organisation.

“We entered into an agreement with Kulcha in Fremantle and with the Perth Theatre to share a project person. That was a two-year arrangement to look at developing audiences for people from a non English speaking background,” Black Swan Theatre general manager Duncan Ord said.

“I think the issues of getting young people to the performing arts is essential for its survival.”

The West Australian Opera and Black Swan Theatre have decided to market directly to schools and students in an effort to overcome the difficulties associated with attracting school groups to live performances.

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