APAX 2020 – THANK YOU FOR JOINING US!
When we rebranded our Performing Arts Exchange and Conference to APAX (the Australian Performing Arts Exchange), it was based on the recognition that these two major events are at the heart of performing arts presenting in Australia, and central to our members’ planning and development.
And so we began planning the largest event in PAC Australia’s history for 2020, in collaboration with NIDA, our venue partner.
But of course, 2020 had other plans for all of us.
So we moved online, bringing a new format of twice-weekly online experiences from 11 August to 17 September, 2020.
Hundreds of presenters, producers and artists from around Australia joined us online from their work-from-home offices, couches or socially-distant meeting rooms when APAX 2020 kicked off with two Presenter Updates. From Darwin Entertainment Centre to Country Arts SA and across to Brisbane Festival, presenters from all corners of the sector provided their unique perspectives on steering staff, artists and audiences through a pandemic, and their plans and aspirations for the months and years ahead.
Our Professional Development sessions commenced the following week with Fiona Allan’s comprehensive address What Now? Business As Unusual, in which the Birmingham Hippodrome Artistic Director & Chief Executive challenged the concept of defining a venue as a brick-and-mortar building, and invited her fellow presenters to imagine a programming approach that invites myriad communities and audiences to gather in all manner of spaces. Fiona also discussed the importance of “counting what counts” – measuring success not just through the lens of box office targets, but with evidence of true community impact.
MAGNETIC’s Adam Williams followed this session with his New Messages. New Audiences. New World. presentation. Adam’s infectious enthusiasm for connecting audiences with art took us on a journey of creating deep, meaningful and tangible engagements with post-pandemic audiences.
Nina Simon (OF/BY/FOR ALL) dialled in all the way from Santa Cruz, California to deliver a stirring address exploring the evolving concept of “relevance” in making and presenting art, and why it’s a vital consideration for any arts organisation. Embracing the possibility for the difficult months behind us and ahead to act as a period of much-needed transformation, Nina provided tried-and-tested strategies to help us reimagine, reinvent and refocus our approach to engaging communities and working with artists well into the future, as well as moving evidence of her own success.
Following on from the challenge set by Nina, Performing Lines WA’s Zainab Syed and Diversity Arts Australia’s Lena Nahlous shared their experiences successfully reaching new, diverse audiences and building genuine, lasting relationships. Using the case study of Performing Lines WA’s Layla Majnun, these amazing women gifted us with methods and examples of permanently tearing down barriers to participation in the arts.
We then shifted gears to close out our Arts Market program with two weeks of Producer Updates. Delegates were treated to an exciting slew of organisation updates, commissioning opportunities and new work ready to hit the road, as well as innovative approaches to creating and delivering digital work.
In the closing week of APAX 2020 we presented two stirring, future-focused sessions.
The first, “Re-Futuring”: First Nations Performing Arts Presenting, brought together arts provocateurs Jacob Boehme, Keith Barker and Merindah Donnelly, joined by Karilyn Brown. They generously examined the proactive avenues available to performing arts organisation wanting to create a self-determined approach to First Nations performing arts presenting, where First Nations people aren’t just making work, but driving curatorial and programming decisions.
In an epic finale, philosopher and leadership adviser Dr Jason Fox enthralled us with his closing keynote Into the Storm… Pioneering in Paradox. As provocative as it was exceedingly positive, Jason delivered a rallying battle cry for anyone wading through a sea of “change fatigue”, gifting us with tricks, tools and personal mantras to help us not just survive, but thrive in a time of great uncertainty.
APAX 2020 was possible with big thanks to our supporters:
One event that presents over 50 of the best creative projects on offer from across Australia.
The Performing Arts Exchange (PAX) is PAC Australia’s flagship networking and development event. Through a face-to-face networking and a suite of programs that bring together producers, programmers and presenters from across the country, we provide an environment of mutual respect and openness to create and maximise touring opportunities and build long-term relationships.
“Whether pitching or simply as a delegate, more happens in the moments between scheduled events than could ever happen without being in the room…” [2017 delegate]
In 2019, PAX continued to focus on relationship building as much as pitching productions. Producers spent more time engaging with presenters beyond pitching opportunities, through structured networking sessions, our “First Base” program that matches you with presenters, dedicated space for meetings as well as social events designed to facilitate authentic dialogue between producers and presenters.
Our program of pitches, showcases and full-length presentation is curated through an independent industry panel of producers and presenters.
To stay up to date with key PAX information, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
“PAX provides a unique and invaluable service in bringing producers and presenters together so that outstanding live performance can travel to audiences around the country, especially to regional Australia. The connections formed at PAX provide ultimately lead to national tours, supporting bringing outstanding live performance to regional and remote audiences around Australia. The results that can be achieved through face to face meetings are invaluable and through this latest conference APACA have proved that the live performing arts industry nationally is all the richer for the Performing Arts Exchange.”
Chris Bendall | Critical Stages
“PAX is an essential marketplace for presenters, programmers, producers and artists. It enables Australian performing artists to bring their work (new and existing) to the attention of presenters from around the country, build relationships, foster potential collaborations and create and maximise touring opportunities. This year’s PAX was the most significant gathering of the national performing arts industry and by any measure an outstanding industry event.”
Jodi Glass | Slingsby Theatre
“As the premier national event for performing arts centres, PAX provided invaluable networking and introduction opportunities, with members of almost all performing arts venues in attendance as well as a very significant representation of performing arts organisations, producers and performing artists from across Australia.”
Raina Savage | Griffith Regional Theatre