Over 50 years on the edge

PACT is one of the oldest continuous running performing arts companies in Australia. PACT was established in response to the 1964 Vincent Committee Report, a Federal Government report that highlighted the dire state of Australia’s performing arts, film and television industries. PACT was created by a collective of artists, lead by Robert Allnutt, Jack Mannix and Patrick Milligan, who recognised that the best solution to the issues raised by the report was to develop and produce new Australian work.

PACT has always been responsive to the changing cultural landscape. Over its fifty-year history, PACT has shifted its focus depending on the needs of different generations of artists. Up until the early 1970’s, PACT operated as an adult co-operative theatre and music space. In 1974, it became a Youth Theatre thats primary focus was running workshops and developing productions for school-aged children. In 2009, PACT developed a new vision – PACT centre for emerging artists – shifting its focus to the ’emerging’ artist demographic. Since 2010, PACT’s program has been streamlined and showcase opportunities increased. Furthermore, new local and national partnerships have further opened up platforms for artists to develop and present their work interstate and overseas.

Lotophagi the Lotus Eaters, 2007

Lotophagi the Lotus Eaters, 2007

As PACT heads into the next 50 years, it continues to cultivate the Australian performance ecology at its foundations, by supporting and encouraging early career artists to be experimental and ambitious in their creative practice. PACT will continue to provide a space where all aspects of performance can converge in a vibrant, inclusive and critically engaged community.

 
We’ve made mistakes here. We’ve made friends here… Our first tour was because we were spotted here in this warehouse theatre. We got to work with our heroes... Thank you for giving us the confidence to build our experimental arts collective into an empire.
— A Testimonial Love Letter by post (Zoe Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor and Natalie Rose, Alumni 2003) for PACT’s 50th Anniversary