Sydney multi-arts centre and event venue Carriageworks has entered voluntary administration, due to the current restrictions on public gatherings.
Opened in 2007, Carriageworks generates 75 per cent of its revenue outside of government funding, primarily through on-site events and programs including Sydney Writers’ Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, and the design event Semi Permanent, aligned with VIVID Sydney.
In a statement, Carriageworks CEO Blair French said the sudden cancellation or postponement of six months of activities due to COVID-19 has resulted in an “irreparable” loss of income for the Redfern venue.
“Following the earlier loss of shifts for casual staff, in early-April we stood down almost half of our core staff and asked those remaining to move to a three-day week,” he said.
“Focussing on essential work only we have been striving to find a way through the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Since opening in 2007, Carriageworks has enjoyed the support of both the NSW and Federal Governments, and the generosity of its many partners and donors.
“During this time it has become a Sydney institution attracting one million visitors a year to the site in Redfern and up to 5000 people every Saturday to the Carriageworks Farmers Market.
“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.”
Board remains “hopeful”
KPMG has been appointed as the voluntary administrators of Carriageworks Limited and will be working alongside stakeholders to “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’ financial position and allow it to continue its important role for Australian arts and culture,” said Phil Quinlan, Restructuring Services partner at KPMG Australia.
“All options are on the table for consideration.”
Despite the uncertain period for events and performing arts, the Carriageworks Board remains hopeful the venue will re-open.
“The Carriageworks Board regret that this action has had to be taken,” said French.
“They are mindful of the impact of this situation upon independent artists and partner companies across the performing and visual arts at a time when the effects of COVID-19 related closures have made this sector so vulnerable.
“The Board remain hopeful that the Carriageworks facility will be able re-open to artists and community alike once NSW emerges from the effects of the current pandemic.”