Sydney theatre fans are getting a little more than they paid for this election campaign: a post-show speech on the importance of the arts. As part of the #istandwiththearts campaign, cast members are reminding audiences of the cuts to Australia Council grants and the recent defunding of a number of “off-Broadway” companies. It’s the smaller houses where most stage stars like Robyn Nevin, who delivered the address after her exhausting matriarchal turn in All My Sons last night, got their start.

Theatre-goers are handed a postcard to fill out which is then dispatched to their local member. All non-political, of course — though the speech makes it clear who’s responsible for the defunding. Our Sydney theatre binger reports Labor frontbencher Tony Burke was vigorously applauding the post-show plea at the opening of new Australian play Back At The Dojo at Belvoir St Theatre on Wednesday. They also note another performance from Opera Australia this week — the nation’s best-funded stage sanctuary — did not feature the speech.

Peter Fray

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