The Ninth Wave by The Farm and Co3 Contemporary Dance. Photo by Jess Wyld.

Festival of Outback Opera

Festival of Outback Opera by Opera Queensland. Photo by Glenn Hunt.

Auto Cannibal

Auto Cannibal by Australasian Dance Collective and Beijing Dance LDTX,
Choreographed by Stephanie Lake. Photo by Jade Ellis.


Zoom by Patch Theatre. Photo by Matt Byrne.

Trash Talk

Trash Talk by The Strangeways Ensemble. Courtesy of Merrigong Theatre Company.

So long suckers 2

So Long Suckers by Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. Photo by Simon Pynt.

Curious Legends

Curious Legends

Black Cockatoo

Black Cockatoo by Ensemble Theatre. Photo by Prudence Upton.


Whoosh by Sensorium Theatre. Photo by Peter Foster.

River Linked Live Virtual Concert

River Linked Live Virtual Concert. Photo by Abram Rasmussen Photography.

HOTA Home of the Arts

HOTA Home of the Arts. Courtesy of venue.

The Butch is Back

The Butch is Back by Reuben Kaye. Photo by Rebekah Ryan.

APAX 2023: Sessions on Demand


In 2023 the Australian Performing Arts Exchange took place from 28 August – 1 September in Cairns, QLD, with a limited livestream program on the Australian Digital Concert Hall. As the ‘fourth wall’ came down, it was a week filled with dialogue and an exchange of ideas through provocation circles, breakouts, roundtables, panels and networking.

Scroll down to watch key sessions from the conference program, including:

  • Dungarri Nya Nya Ngarri Bi Nya (now we have arrived)
  • The Compelling Employment Offer (Advisory Board for the Arts, part of the session Full Steam Ahead)
  • Why Should the Audience Care?
  • Audiences 2023+ Launch from the Patternmakers
  • The Pot and the Heat (part of the session Full Steam Ahead)
  • Breakout: Case Study – Audience Research & Development (Geelong Performing Arts Centre)
  • State of the Arts Address

DUNGARRI NYA NYA NGARRI BI NYA work was a ground-breaking celebration of First Nations culture from across the North Queensland region.

Developed over 2020 and 2021, First Nations groups – the Wulgurukaba Walkabouts, Big Eye Theatre Dancers (Mala Jina Waran and Mala Jina Jalbu), Komet Torres Strait Islander Art and Culture, Sambo Productions – came together for the first time in decades to connect, collaborate and co-create a new performance work alongside Dancenorth Australia, commissioned and presented by the North Australian Festival of the Arts (NAFA) in Townsville/ Gurambilbarra.

We hear from Aunty Roslyn Sailor, Aicey Day and Ashley Saltner Jnr, discussing how this project resulted in a highly visible cross-cultural celebration of creativity and collaboration, and how the legacy of the work continues to breathe life and build community strength.

“DUNGARRI NYA NYA NGARRI BI NYA means ‘now we have arrived’. The impact of this project is that we now have momentum to move forward together.” – Ashley Saltner Jnr, Wulgurukaba Traditional Owner

Artistic reputation, inclusive decision-making, recognition, security, benefits, professional development, transparency… What actually compels staff to join your organisation… and what makes them want to stay? The Advisory Board for the Arts have asked the questions and now have the answers – at least in the international context. As we embark on the Australian study for The Compelling Employment Offer, the team from ABA outline the attributes that are critical to understand and implement to improve recruitment and staff retention across arts organisations in Australia.

Speakers: Nico Daswani and Christopher Denby, Advisory Board for the Arts.

We talk about relevancy a lot, particularly when it comes to programming. In an environment where costs to present are high, ticket affordability is diminishing and audiences aren’t attending like they used to, is relevant or quality programming enough?

What is the radical re-thinking required of cultural institutions to bring the audience back, be relevant to a wider base, and reach audiences of the future?

The conference closing panel will address the urgent re-think across the spectrum of what presenters deliver, from programming, to the traditional models and etiquettes of coming into our spaces, to shake loose the institutions that are holding us back.

Speakers: Giuliana Bonel, The Empire; Wanyika Mshila, Sydney Opera House; Joel McGuinness, Geelong Arts Centre and Ruth Hartt, Culture for Hire (via zoom).

Launched exclusively at APAX, Patternmaker’s report ‘Audiences 2023+’ highlights how audience behaviour is evolving in the post-pandemic era, as Australia grapples with rising inflation. Based on data from the Audience Outlook Monitor, and research with audiences across the country, ‘Audiences 2023+’ will present the datapoints you need for strategic planning, forecasting attendances, remodelling subscriptions, and targeted marketing in 2023 and beyond.

Speakers: Tandi Palmer Williams and Peta Petrakis, Patternmakers.

“If artists provide the food (the nourishment), presenters provide the pot and the heat” – PAC Australia Strategic Plan 2023-26.

Presenting organisations are central to reactivating the performing arts sector in a post-pandemic world. Fundamental to the delivery of performance work, the investment these organisations make in arts programs stimulate the employment of arts workers across all sizes, scales, reach and platforms.

In this session, we’ll look at a new approach to these investments moving forward and how presenters can deliver on the promise of the performing arts for artists and audiences everywhere.

Speakers: Bernie Haldane, Auckland Live and Penny Miles, Thinker-in-Residence.

Leaders in presenter-based audience research and database analysis, Geelong Arts Centre demonstrates how you can apply these tools to design successful audience development strategies, inform programming and build a custom segmentation model for your audience. Joining CEO Joel McGuinness are consultants Jordan Gibbs (Culture Counts) and Merryn Carter (independent) sharing key insights from this regionally based audience research and development project, for the benefit of any audience-facing organisation.

Presented by APAX Thinker-in-Residence Penny Miles, the State of the Arts Address ended APAX with a reflective, thought provoking and sometimes controversial take on the current state of play for our sector.