How a year-round festival programming plan aims to offer arts workers greater job security

By rolling out a range of special projects year-round, Perth Festival aims to provide more secure longer-term contracts for staff while also building the cultural tourism market.
Perth Festival. Digital projections of bandicoots are shone onto a red-lit avenue of trees. A large crowd makes their way down the path between the trees.

Expanding Perth Festival’s cultural footprint from one signature event to a series of events spread out across the year, including this week’s EverNow, will enable the Festival to offer greater job security and longer-term contracts for many of its staff, according to Perth Festival Executive Director Nathan Bennett.

‘Internally, we were very mindful that, for a long time, the rhythm of a festival is such that we expand and contract our workforce a lot over the course of a 12-month cycle. And so, if we’re able to find a way to smooth out the calendar, deliver more activity year-round, it means that we can employ more people on longer-term contracts or on an ongoing basis,’ Bennett tells ArtsHub.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts