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Greetings to all friends of fortyfive!

We’re still around, and still working on the survival and regeneration plan for gallery and theatre!  

Thank you to all the friends who have contributed so generously to our appeal for help in opening our doors as soon as social distancing allows. We have so far reached half way to our target of $250,000 to try to secure the safety net we need to ensure the support needed for every production and exhibition.

As you’re aware, fortyfivedownstairs had to close its  doors from 16 March and we will have no income at least until October, and possibly beyond. It’s a position we share with arts organisations across the country, from  major companies like the Australian Ballet to smallest regional venues.

Ask any company and they’ll tell you that costs are virtually never covered by ticket sales and we echo MTC Artistic Director Brett Sheehy who put it very clearly when he said ‘we exist on a financial knife edge’. We know exactly what he means – we’ve always existed on a knife edge.

Why do we need funds?

We’ve been asked a number of times why we need to raise these funds. In the past, many of our finest productions have relied on individual grants (project funding) to develop and present new work. However, since the 2015 cuts to the Australia Council, grants have been severely impacted, and increasingly competitive. 2019 was one of the most artistically successful years we’ve had, (25 Green Room Award nominations) but financially extremely difficult.

We’re making this appeal so that we can continue to curate a venue which is an easily accessible mini arts house in the centre of the city – a gallery and a theatre which supports eclectic and exciting independent artists. Our criteria is simple – we look for work that appeals to the heart as well as the head – work like Patricia Cornelius’ Do not go gentle… (2010); Helen Yotis Patterson’s Taxithi (2015) and Moira Finucane’s glorious gothic cabarets, first seen at fortyfivedownstairs in 2005.

In the gallery we’ve raised funds for the Emerging Artist Award, now in its fifth year an Artist in Residence project; and Melbourne’s most democratic exhibition Small – all under pressure to survive.

We are very conscious that there is great need across the board – and many causes desperately needing support. Thank you most sincerely to the hundreds, including so many artists and performers, who have supported us so generously in the past month.

We are doing our utmost to keep going in what The Age has described as ‘close to a crisis point’ for the Arts sector (3 June 2020). Your support would be invaluable.


Gary Abrahams, Director

Resident Alien, 2016 & 2018
Angels in America, 2017
The Ghetto Cabaret, 2019

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