Arts Minister George Brandis is standing by his decision to take $104.8 million from the Australian Council to fund his own hand-picked National Program for Excellence in the Arts, saying that "only the mediocre" have anything to worry about. But the new "excellence"-based approach, which primarily funds 28 major companies, denies a simple fact: that small-to-medium companies provide the training ground from which the 28 majors draw their talent. Brandis’ assumption that size and profile equals excellence may have disastrous implications for the confirmed high quality of the arts in Australia.

Take Red Stitch Theatre Company. Founded 13 years ago, this is Australia’s leading ensemble theatre company, with a focus on contemporary multi-platform artists. The company actively seeks collaborations with actors, designers, playwrights and organisations, and has been producing award-winning theatre for more than a decade, including Red Sky Morning and The Flick.