ACAPTA will be sponsoring the Green Room – Innovation In The Circus Arts award.

Richard Watts | ArtsHub

Melbourne’s professional performing arts awards body has launched a campaign intended to broaden its sponsorship base.

Founded in 1982 by opera director and vocal coach Blair Edgar OAM and actor Steven Tandy (The Sullivans), the Green Room Awards Association – an entirely voluntary organisation – celebrates Melbourne’s professional performing artists and technicians through an annual ceremony that recognises their achievements in various fields, including cabaret, opera, dance and theatre, as well as behind the scenes.

For most of its history, the awards have been presented with the support of Arts Centre Melbourne, with the very first awards ceremony, for works staged in the 1983 calendar year, held in the foyer of Hamer Hall (then known as the Concert Hall) in February 1984. Subsequent awards ceremonies have been held in the Fairfax Theatre, the ANZ Pavillion, the Playhouse, and even the Famous Spiegeltent, on the Arts Centre forecourt.

Now, however, the Green Room Awards Association is looking for new sponsors.

‘The support of the Arts Centre has been crucial to the growth and development of the awards and we are very grateful for the generous support they have offered us over the years,’ said Association President Chris Thompson.

‘However, recently the Arts Centre decided that it was unable to continue supporting the Green Room Awards at the level it had been. Not an unreasonable decision in my view, as the Arts Centre seems to have been the key supporter of the event for quite a long time.’

This year’s awards ceremony, held in March, was presented with the support of a new sponsor, the Marriner Group, but Thompson said additional sponsors were essential for the awards to continue.

‘This year we were able to mount the awards ceremony at the Comedy Theatre with the generous support of the Marriner Group and covered the ceremony costs through a combination of our own resources and a small amount of sponsorship and advertising revenue, but that is not a sustainable model. We are pleased to say the Marriner’s has agreed to support us again in 2014, but we still need to raise enough funds to cover the cost of the ceremony. Consequently we have embarked upon a campaign to find industry based sponsors for each of the 50 or so awards we present each year,’ he explained.

The association is currently seeking support from across the sector, with available sponsorship packages ranging from $600 to $5000.

Thompson said the total amount they were seeking to raise was relatively modest.

‘We get a fair bit of in-kind support that brings our costs down to needing somewhere around $20,000 to pay the staffing costs and the front of house costs, the printing of the programs and the creation of the trophies, our insurance; all that sort of thing. In the scheme of things it’s not a great deal of money,’ he explained.

Green Room Association patron and RocKwiz host Julia Zemiro urged Melbourne’s arts community to support the awards.

‘I want to see the Green Room Awards continue and flourish. Getting behind the sponsorship campaign is a part of that,’ she told artsHub. ‘It’s a wonderful event that aims to celebrate our work, and has done so on a less than a shoe string budget so far. We continue to make this night happen because it’s important to recognise live performance that’s exploding out there in the face of so much online and screen entertainment. For me, as a performer and an audience member, live work is where true connection happens. And Melbourne is bursting with it.’

Sponsorship benefits includes naming rights for a range of awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Technical Achievement Award, as well as acknowledgement at the awards ceremony proper and in the accompanying program.

Thompson said a number of organisations had already responded positively to the Association’s approaches.

‘We’ve already had good responses from Melbourne Theatre Company, the Fringe Festival, ACAPTA, Theatre Network Victoria – who I should say have also been supporting us in this, helping get the word out and making a few approaches – and the Dobell Foundation,’ he said.

Parties interested in sponsoring the Green Room Awards are invited to contact the Association President, Chris Thompson, via email:

Disclaimer: the author is a member of the Green Room Awards Association’s independent theatre panel.

PHOTO CREDIT: Green Room Awards Association patron Julia Zemiro (Source: Michael Mackenzie, Flickr)