Equity welcomes release of Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr

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Actors Equity welcomes reports Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr has been released from jail.

Earlier this month Ms Vafamehr was sentenced to 90 lashes and one year in jail for her role in feature film My Tehran For Sale.

Ms Vafamehr has reportedly had her sentence reduced to three months and will not receive any form of corporal punishment. As Ms Vafamehr has already served four months in jail she has now been released.

Maggie Dence honoured with 2011 Equity Lifetime Achievement Award

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Maggie Dence

Australian actress Maggie Dence has brought to life some of the country’s most memorable television characters in a career spanning more than four decades, including Rose Sullivan and Mavis Bramston.

It was Maggie’s extensive stage and screen credits, as well as her commitment to the Actors Benevolent Fund, that inspired Australian performers to award Maggie this year’s Equity Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by FOXTEL.

Actors Equity president, Simon Burke said; “Maggie has delighted both audiences and fellow performers over many decades creating unforgettable characters in Australian television series such as Rose Sullivan in The Sullivans, Merle Bulpitt in Kingswood Country, Dorothy Burke in Neighbours, Bev Baker in Prisoner  and the legendary Mavis Bramston in The Mavis Bramston Show.

World class performances for regional and remote Australia

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Federal Arts Minister, Simon Crean, has announced $3.6 million in government funding for 21 performing arts companies to tour regional and remote Australia in 2012 and 2013.

The program will enable 21 performing arts companies – including Bangarra Dance Theatre, The Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Ballet – to make 1,500 performances at more than 600 venues around Australia.

Mr Crean said that this program ensures more Australians will have access to top tier productions throughout the country.

"The tours also play an important role in stimulating the cultural and economic life of regional communities. The productions help generate business for arts venues and create new audiences for existing productions," Mr Crean said.

Ellen Adamcewicz

Tasmania Theatre Company suffers a budget blow

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The Tasmanian Government has announced that it will cut all funding to the Tasmanian Theatre Company (TTC) next year.

Artistic Director Charles Parkinson said this decision will have wide ranging ramifications both for Tasmanian artists and the Tasmanian community.

“In 2010-11 we employed 76 artists and performed to over 10,000 people which clearly demonstrates a high level of interest and enthusiasm for our productions,” said Mr Parkinson

Equity has written to the Premier of Tasmania, Lara Giddings, urging her to reconsider cutting of all funds to the Tasmanian Theatre Company.

Ellen Adamcewicz

Local content struggling to survive: New report

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Local content is being diluted by the digital television channels, as TV networks look to fill their schedules with cheap foreign programming.

Among the key finding from a report released by Screen Australia this week is that the amount of foreign content on Australian television has increased by 154 per cent since 2008, while Australian content has increased by only 54 per cent in the same period.

"In the multi-channel environment, Australian content is being drowned in a sea of foreign content," said Fiona Cameron, chief operating officer of Screen Australia.

Read more about the findings here and here.


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