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  • Gavin King

    TropicNow editor

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    Funding cut won't lead to Jute exiting stage right

    Despite the bad news of losing a massive slice of Federal funding, local theatre company Jute is taking a proactive approach to its future.


    Beloved local theatre company Jute will focus on creative ways to raise funds as it faces an uncertain future in the wake of Federal Government funding cuts.

    Tropic Now can reveal that Jute Theatre Company lost out on its bid for $260,000 in Australia Council funding as part of the Federal Government’s latest cost-saving measures.

    Queensland companies received around $14 million from a $112 million pool of federal government funds as part of the Australia Council’s four-year-funding program.

    But Jute was one of 62 arts organisations across the nation to miss out on a share of the funding, which means the local theatre company must now find new avenues of revenue to fund its operations.

    Jute board chair Gill Townsend said the company was devastated by the “bad news” but it was taking a proactive, optimistic approach to its future.

    “This is not the end for Jute, we’re looking at other sources of funding with a sense of optimism rather than desperation,” Ms Townsend told Tropic Now.

    “The funding application process was incredibly competitive and we know we put in a really good bid with a great plan for the future, so if we weren’t successful that means the other applicants must have been really great.

    “Going forward we’ve got a really talented team and a thriving board and we know we can build a bright future for Jute. We need to be agile and innovative and responsive. We’ve been here for 25 years and you don’t last that long without being those things already.”

    Jute CEO Suellen Maunder said staff and the board would meet this week to map out a path forward for the company.

    “I’ve already had positive conversations with Arts Queensland about a funding application we have in with them and they’re keen to make sure any applications we submit have the best opportunity to be successful,” Ms Maunder said.

    “We’re also talking with philanthropic funds and one of those is very positive and adamant that they don’t want to see Jute fall over. In fact there is a huge network of support and a lot of people who want to see Jute survive.

    “Our next step is to map out where we head next. We’re in a situation where an already under-resourced company has to go out and write another 10 applications for funding but this latest withdrawal from operational funds makes that extremely difficult.

    “We’ve got a four-year plan of brilliant projects and programs and we want to grow the company, and we’re taking a proactive approach to achieve that.”