The Board of Griffin has followed the current controversy around the 2022 Sydney Festival with concern.
With two works featured as part of the program—Window Cricket Bat and Green Park—we are aware of calls to withdraw in response to the Festival’s acceptance of funding from the Israeli embassy.
We have spent the past fortnight consulting with our Festival artists, our staff, wider artistic community and key stakeholders, and considered the ethical and financial implications of a number of responses including withdrawing from and remaining in the Festival. We acknowledge that, in such a passionate and divisive matter, every potential course of action holds the risk of causing hurt to people we value—from our artists, to our staff, to our donors, to fellow small arts organisations and the broader community we are here to support.
However, our financial and contractual arrangements mean that if our productions were withdrawn from Sydney Festival, Griffin would have to cancel both seasons outright. This would in turn present significant financial risk to the company, in excess of $100,000. As a relatively small arts organisation, this would severely impact our operations and program in 2022.
It would also mean the loss of work for artists.
The latter has, above all else, informed our decision to remain in the Festival. We believe it is consistent with Griffin’s values and actions over the last two years of the pandemic, where we have worked hard to create income and financial stability for actors, writers, directors, designers and stage managers.
We look forward to participating in the review to be conducted by the Festival into its policies and practices.