Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.


Oct 24, 2017

The Edge Ensemble is the core performing company for Western Edge Youth Arts (WEYA). They received $45,000 through the ‘Arts Project for Organisations’ category for the development, presentation and touring of Caliban, a new work by this ensemble of artists from Samoan, Vietnamese, Maori, Ghanaian, Croatian and Sudanese backgrounds.

Sally Farr, general manager at WEYA, has worked in arts management for nearly 20 years and has written quite a few grant applications. ‘I don’t think it ever gets easy,’ she says, ‘but it’s a lot less daunting after you’ve done it a few hundred times, and it definitely helps when you have a clear solid project, as we did with Caliban.’

Writing a grant application can help with the framework behind a project, she says. ‘You do a more detailed costing and think about where else you might get support. Milestones and the project plan are important too. For us, the application clarified our thinking about the timing of the tour.’

Caliban by the Edge Ensemble, Western Edge Youth Arts. Photographer: Nicola Dracoulis.

There are elements of music, dance, writing and design in the project, but as the focus was on creating a new theatre work for the main stage, Farr chose the Theatre panel to assess the application.

Applicants to the ‘Arts Projects for Organisations’ category must choose an assessment criterion that describes the main purpose of their project. Farr selected access and participation, because, she says, ‘highlighting the impact for young emerging artists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds was the best reflection of the unique strengths of the project, as well as the key points of difference within the theatre world.’

Sally suggests that there may have been a number of reasons the assessors supported the project, commenting that, ‘you get a sense after doing many applications whether it’s a good fit or not. If you’re struggling to answer the questions, this is a sure sign the project either isn’t well planned or is incompatible with the assessment criteria.’

Including the input of the ensemble in the application demonstrated their investment in the project, she says. ‘It’s appropriate to show that there hasn’t been a manifestation without their input.’

Caliban by the Edge Ensemble, Western Edge Youth Arts. Photographer: Nicola Dracoulis.

Other strengths included a confident articulation of the value of the work, a strong track record of delivering projects, and confirmed funding partners and venues.

A key strength, she says, is ‘the fact that we are creating opportunities for engagement in the arts that otherwise wouldn’t exist for the young people and communities we work with.’

A season of Caliban has been presented to 460 enthusiastic audience members over a three-night-season at The Coopers Malthouse, and has received great reviews.

WEYA are currently organising a tour of Caliban to performing arts venues in regional Victoria in May 2018.

For touring dates, and more information about WEYA and the Edge Ensemble (Rex Pelman, Piper Huynh, Oti Willoughby, Natalie Lucic, Achai Deng and Abrahan Herasan) check out the website. Or follow them on Facebook.