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Rob Brookman’s Speech – State Theatre Company Foundation Gala

A huge thank you to all of you who have come along and supported the Company tonight. Your generosity – which is a mission that is by no means yet complete at this stage – will make a huge difference in our ability to deliver on key aspects of State Theatre Company’s work which are not directly supported by our government funding – our expanding education program, our commissions, our creative development and our artists development programs.

To paraphrase our Prime Minister – there has never been a more exciting time to be part of State Theatre Company:

Right now our co-production with Frantic Assembly of Things I Know To Be True, which knocked audiences sideways here in adelaide in may, is doing exactly the same in the uk. We opened at the Lyric Hammersmith in London in September to standing ovations and four and five star reviews and there has been barely an unsold seat since – in London, Oxford and Warwick. And every night the audience leap to their feet to applaud this story which is both universal and quintessentially South Australian. A commissioned work developed over a three year period, it is emblematic of what Geordie and I have set out to do here at state.

In the meantime, back here in Adelaide, the Playhouse is jumping with Rumpelstilstskin – another long-lead commissioned and developed project and another co-production – this time with our pals from Windmill Theatre Co. It’s enchanting  audiences young and old with its brilliant invention, idiosyncratic humour, powerhouse score, designs to die for and an outstanding cast. We’re hoping that, like its perhaps more good-looking sibling PinocchioRumpletstiltskin will take off and conquer the country and the world.

These are just two examples amongst many of what we can do if we can muster the right support.

Both these projects benefited from significant additional resources via philanthropic support and would simply never have made it to the stage in the shape that they did without that support.

It is simply a fact that government support for the arts is shrinking. This is not just in our neck of the woods. We’re seeing governments pull back from subsidy to the arts all over the world. There’s a structural shift that sees governments of all stripes move to a philosophical position that their principal role in the arts should be to provide infrastructure – with arts activity being increasingly financed through ticket sales and other commercial activity, corporate support, and – particularly germane tonight – philanthropy. That is, the support by committed individuals for activities that they hold to be important and worthwhile.

Philanthropy was once icing on the cake for arts companies like ours – but increasingly it is our lifeblood.

Philanthropic support is what allows us to do the research and development that builds our future.

It is what allows us to lead our audience rather than to follow them.

It is what allows us to progress rather than stagnate.

It is what allows us to bring the gift to the imagination that is theatre into the lives of kids.

It is what allows us to foster the young artists who have chosen the difficult and uncertain pathway of a life in the theatre.

It is what allows us to take flight and connect our work with the world.

So – I’m making you an offer you cannot refuse:

Show that you take the company’s work seriously – dig deep, get competitive and bid up strongly in our silent auction, our live auction and, at the very least, take home some wine or the table centrepiece. And if you really don’t want anything on offer, have a crack at lot #54 which offers you the chance to simply give us some moolah.

Even if you wake up tomorrow morning wondering where you got that very large bottle of Dead Arm Shiraz or why you bid on an Ultratune package when you don’t actually own a car, you will know that your reckless abandon has been in an excellent cause and you’ll have that warm inner glow that is the best cure for a hang-over.

I thank you in advance for your generosity.


*The above is an excerpt of Rob Brookman’s speech from the 2016 State Theatre Company Foundation Gala: Notorious, A Night of Gangsters and Glamour. 

It’s not too late to make a donation. Please feel free to contact Zelda Chambers on 08 8415 5308 or via email: