The growing impact of MPAs

An analysis of MPA activity over the past six years confirms that the MPAs have played a central role in the development of the performing arts in Australia, as major employers in the sector, as presenters of outstanding work, and as arts educators.

The growing impact of MPAs


MPA financial activity in 2017 reveals that the MPA sector generated income of $582.56 million with less than a third from government sources. Leveraging of government investment increased to $2.29 for every dollar invested — a 24 per cent increase on the $1.85 leveraged for every government dollar spent in 2012.

MPAs are critical to the wellbeing of the arts ecology. In 2017, the sector employed over 10,000 people (2975 of these were full-time employees), and produced 152 world premieres of works of scale, as well as over 6000 performances across over 499 works. MPAs also collaborated in artworks and invested in artistic development and international collaboration.

Last year, 4.3 million people attended an MPA performance, school program or workshop in Australia. MPAs performed to 171 018 people overseas and reached 16.54 million people via broadcast, screenings, podcasts or simulcasts. Regionally, the MPA companies reached 326,554 people.

An analysis of trends from 2012 to 2017 shows MPAs recorded a 33 per cent growth in earned income over 2012. There has been an increase of over 2900 in the number of people employed in the sector, including artists, creatives, technicians, carpenters and box office staff.

Over the last six years, 2,343 works have been presented over some 35,000 performances. Audiences have grown over the same period, with a 17 per cent increase in the number of attendees at performances, and a 43 per cent increase in international audiences.

Participation is climbing, with involvement in school programs increasing by 8 per cent in terms of headcount, but also on a more intense level as many education programs move to longer and deeper engagements. There was a 118 per cent increase in workshops over the six years, ranging in purpose from building capacity for general teachers to teaching art to community choirs and artist masterclasses.

An AMPAG survey on MPAs' 2017 expenditure directed toward training and artistic development reveals that in 2017 a combined investment of over $10.5million was directed to this purpose by just 14 organisations' with the remaining organiations' results yet to be received.

The MPA sector comprises 28 leading performing arts companies, identified as being of state or national significance, in the fields of dance, theatre, circus, opera, orchestral and chamber music. MPA companies are fully accountable for the public funding they receive and must meet the definition of an MPA company, and the KPIs in their service level agreement.


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