Thursday, 10 December 2020
North Sydney Electorate: Arts
Australia is home to such a wonderful and vibrant art, culture and entertainment scene. From the ancient traditions of our Indigenous peoples to the modern, from the great works of our opera companies to the diversity multiculturalism has brought to our shores, the arts help define us as individuals and as a nation.
We all know that the arts and entertainment sectors have been amongst the worst hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, something I've spoken about before in this place. I am certainly seeing this in the evidence we are receiving through the Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts hearings and submissions. I'm very pleased to be a member of the committee during its critical inquiry into the needs of the arts sector as we emerge from the pandemic. Across my own electorate, theatre companies, musical groups, galleries and performance spaces were shut or unable to perform due to the entirely necessary but devastating COVID-19 restrictions. But the good news is that, as we end this awful year, we are seeing the green shoots of a return to some kind of normality. It is going to be a long, hard road back, but we can start to hope that this has been a long intermission, which will lead to a second act brimming with excitement and hope for the future.
Like Malcolm returning to take back his birthright from Macbeth, the arts community in North Sydney is returning with a myriad of productions and activities. I hope local residents will take advantage of these opportunities with gusto, and, by so doing, show their support for our local artists and performers. For example, the magnificent Ensemble Theatre has launched its 2021 season with the promise of seven great productions, starting in January with a classic riff on Australian decency, Kenny. We've already been delighted by the Hunters Hill Theatre company's production of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap; of course, I'm sworn not to reveal whodunnit. Lane Cove Theatre Company will start 2021 with the epic struggle between good and evil, Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical, and Willoughby Theatre Company's Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will dazzle audiences in May next year with its shimmering costumes and performances. It will mean something extra when Tick belts out 'I will Survive', I'm sure—and I'll refrain from singing that now! For music lovers, the incredible Lane Cove Youth Orchestra, led by Lyndall McNally, is back next week, with its Live at Last isolation project, which seeks to capture the loneliness of lockdown and includes a new work by resident composer Tim Hansen. In the visual arts, I was immensely proud to help launch last Friday the Royal Art Society of NSW's latest exhibition, which celebrates the society's 140 years. It can be viewed at their Lavender Bay galleries. These are just a taste of what has been and what is to come in our local arts scene. There are many, many more, which I don't have time to mention. So my message to residents is a simple one: why not include a ticket or a subscription to an arts event in the presents under the Christmas tree this year? It would make a great gift, both for your loved ones but also for our artists, who've endured so much in 2020, and would give them the Christmas they deserve.