Entertainment Stage Carriageworks arts centre calls in administrators amid coronavirus pandemic
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Carriageworks arts centre calls in administrators amid coronavirus pandemic

Six months of events have been cancelled or postponed at Sydney's Carriageworks. Photo: Prudence Upton/Sydney Writers Festival
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Sydney cultural centre Carriageworks has been forced to call in administrators due to coronavirus.

The company, well known for its live performances and art exhibits, announced it had called in voluntary administrators KPMG on Monday night following the cancellation of dozens of events.

In a statement the organisation said 75 per cent of its revenue was generated outside of government funding, mainly through onsite events and programs.

“The sudden cancellation or postponement of six months of activities due to restrictions on public gatherings has resulted in an irreparable loss of income,” a spokesperson said.

It’s one of many arts companies across the country that have felt the pressure under new coronavirus restrictions.

The NSW government is yet to announce a targeted stimulus package for the arts sector.

Carriageworks is believed to be the largest contemporary multi-arts centre in Australia and presents work by hundreds of home-grown and foreign artists and companies every year.

But in recent weeks iconic events like the Sydney Writers Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and the design event Semi Permanent, part of the VIVID program, have all been cancelled or postponed.

CEO Blair French said the organisation would usually attract one million visitors a year to its site in Redfern and up to 5000 people to its weekend farmers market.

Australian artist Mike Parr performs Towards an Amazonian Black Square for his installation The Eternal Opening at Carriageworks in October. Photo: AAP

“But with restrictions on social gatherings likely to remain in place for some time to come, the board determined that it had no alternative but to place the company into voluntary administration,” he said.

Mr French said almost half of the precinct’s core staff had been stood down, with those remaining to move to a three-day week in recent weeks.

“Focusing on essential work only we have been striving to find a way through the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown,” Mr French said.

On Monday the organisation appointed Phil Quinlan and Morgan Kelly from accounting firm, KPMG, as voluntary administrators.

They’re believed to working with Carriageworks executives and stakeholders to “try and secure the future of Australia’s largest multi-arts precinct”.

“We will be exploring the possibility of a Deed of Company Arrangement to stabilise Carriageworks’s financial position and allow it to continue its important role for Australian arts and culture,” Mr Quinlan said.

“All options are on the table.”

ABC