The Sydney Opera House might just step in to save Carriageworks, the iconic performing arts venue which went into administration earlier this week.
Carriageworks is the largest contemporary multi-arts centre in Australia and home to the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Vivid events and more, not to mention its weekly farmers markets. But thanks to lockdown restrictions, three quarters off the venue’s income dried up virtually overnight.
Sources confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald there had already been a push for the Opera House to take over the Everleigh performance space, which is now being seriously considered by the NSW Government.
“The government will explore options as it works to secure the long-term sustainability of Carriageworks, including consulting with the Sydney Opera House,” the Sydney Opera House Trust later said.
Meanwhile Phil Quinlan, one of the voluntary administrators appointed by KPMG, said in a statement that “all options are on the table for consideration”.
While the state government provides $2.5 million in annual funding to Carriageworks, which is around a quarter of its income, the venue still posted a loss of over half a million in 2018. The government was reportedly unhappy with this, which is partially why it’s mulling the takeover.
“Focusing on essential work only we have been striving to find a way through the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown,” Carriageworks CEO Blair French said on Monday.
“The Carriageworks Board regret that this action has had to be taken. They are mindful of the impact of this situation upon independent artists and partner companies across the performing and visual arts at a time when the effects of COVID-19 related closures have made this sector so vulnerable.
“The Board remain hopeful that the Carriageworks facility will be able re-open to artists and community alike once NSW emerges from the effects of the current pandemic.”