Backing Indigenous Arts - Performing Arts

The Queensland Government’s Backing Indigenous Arts (BIA) initiative aims to build sustainable and ethical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industries.

Building on BIA’s visual arts focus, the Government’s commitment of an additional $2.1 million in the 2017-18 budget supports the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing artists and companies. This includes the creation and presentation of new performance work in Indigenous communities in Far North Queensland, and at the Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns (CoCA).

The new BIA - Performing Arts includes three funding streams:

  • New Commissions - Funds of up to $150,000 per applicant (matched by the applicant) – to support the commissioning of new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performance work that engages new audiences and showcases the unique stories of Queensland’s First Nation peoples.
  • Producer Placements - Funding of up to $35,000 per applicant (matched by the applicant) – to encourage sustainable ongoing employment and increase career opportunities for Indigenous arts workers and grow the number of Indigenous producers working in Queensland’s performing arts industry.
  • Next Stage - Funds of up to $150,000 over two years per applicant – to build business and artistic capacity within the Indigenous performing arts sector in Far North Queensland, new audiences for Indigenous performing arts product including regular programming of new performance work at the Centre of Contemporary Arts Cairns, and enhanced engagement within Far North Queensland Indigenous communities.

BIA - Performing Arts Guidelines for the three opportunities should be read in conjunction with the frequently asked questions and important information for applicants.


The second round of New Commissions funding opened on 9 July 2018 and closed 4 October 2018.

The first round of New Commissions funding opened 24 January 2018 and closed 26 April 2018.

Applications for Producer Placements and Next Stage also closed on 8 March 2018.

How to apply

  1. Read the guidelines, important information for applicants and the application form.
  2. Apply online.

An information session on the new BIA – Performing Arts opportunities was held at the Centre of Contemporary Arts, Cairns on 2 February 2018 - presentation slides are now available.

Application process

Step 1

It is recommended that all applicants make contact with Arts Queensland to determine the suitability of the application prior to submission.

Step 2

Once submitted, the application will be checked by Arts Queensland for eligibility. If your application is deemed ineligible, Arts Queensland will provide guidance on how to develop an eligible, more competitive application.

Step 3

Your application will be independently assessed by an external assessment panel who will:

  • assess your application against the assessment criteria and moderate with consideration of available funding and government priorities
  • make recommendations to the Minister for the Arts.

Step 4

The Minister for the Arts will consider the recommendations and has final approval of the funding offer.

Data dictionaries

Data dictionaries provide definitions of measures, calculation methods and counting rules for reporting.

Successful applicants should read the data dictionary for this fund before starting any activities to make sure you collect data in the required way.

More information

Online submission through SmartyGrants is Arts Queensland's preferred method for receiving application forms and outcome reports for our funding programs.

If circumstances prevent you from providing your application or outcome report in this format please contact the Development Manager, BIA Performing Arts, on (07) 4088 1015 or toll free 1800 175 53, or email