The challenges and opportunities for the suburban venue and 2036 population growth in this region, is a really interesting phenomenon and hasn't been talked about a great deal in the Queensland touring circles.

The three fastest-growing regional areas in Queensland include Upper Coomera-Willowvale and Pimpama, both located in the Brisbane-Gold Coast corridor, and North Lakes-Mango Hill, 35km north of Brisbane's CBD. These locations are considered to be "regional" by the ABS, although the North Lakes-Mango Hill area is part of Brisbane's outer northern suburbs and Upper Coomera and Pimpama are part of the merging of the Brisbane and Gold Coast urban areas. [1]

And of Queensland's top 10 Local Government Areas (LGA) by population size in 2036, eight are in South East Queensland. The remaining two LGAs, Townsville and Cairns, are located in regional Queensland. [2]

This growth offers the suburban arts centres a considerable opportunity to reach out to new audiences and to grapple with the long term challenge of programming for them whilst everybody's budgets are stagnant or in decline. With quality and diversity as key drivers in arts program development, I believe it is imperative that we start to develop partnerships across and around the outer suburban areas to tour, share, and market new kinds of work to new demographics.

Of course the outer suburban arts and entertainment centres of Brisbane are already in partnership with a range of Brisbane based companies. At Redland we have been working long term with Debase, QTC, QSO, Imaginary Theatre, Circa, Southern Cross Soloists, Indel-ability arts and others...and we are working with new young emerging performers coming out of the Universities through encouraging development work from them, with an eye to creating specifically for the growing younger and family audiences across the region.

All these companies and individuals are based in Brisbane, but find it easy and economical to commute, tour, visit and partner in residency projects and to present work. Logically then, the next step would be for professional performance companies who tour around the outer suburban centres to work to extend these audience development strategies, collectively. We can, collectively, develop the suburbs as hot beds of dialogue between all kinds of art works, arts centres and new audiences.

And what's more I'd like emerging professional artists and established companies to seriously consider moving or establishing new bases of operations in the suburbs. I guarantee we could offer arts offices, workshop and rehearsal spaces far cheaper than they pay now in the inner-city. Just sayin'....