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Media and entertainment

Tasmania is well served in the fields of media and entertainment with small local operators finding niches alongside the nation’s biggest corporations. One of Australia’s best-loved media personalities, Ray Martin, AO, is a Brand Ambassador for the State.

Each of Tasmania’s three regions (north, north-west and south) has its own daily newspaper and there are many smaller local or specialised publications. Tasmanian-made television programs are included by the ABC and two commercial stations. National TV broadcasts from SBS and subscription TV are also available.

Commercial and community broadcasters and the ABC provide a full range of radio programs.

Locally produced magazines such as the literary quarterly, Island, and the lifestyle quarterly, Tasmania 40° South keep up the cultural flow.

Tasmanians are prolific authors and the most enthusiastic self-publishers of books per head of population in Australia. Tasmania 40° South is the State’s busiest book publisher.

There is also a vigorous tradition of live theatre and, appropriately, the Australian Script Centre is based in Hobart. The nation’s oldest operating theatre, the engagingly ornate Theatre Royal, opened in Hobart in 1837 and is still going strong. The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has been hailed as the best small-city orchestra in the world.

There are always audiences – and usually enthusiastic receptions – for touring international celebrities to the smallest amateur production whether they offer live comedy acts, drama, dance or music of any style.

A screen-funding agency, Screen Tasmania, has helped to market the State to producers of screen content. Since 1999, the agency has generated local spending of $26.5 million by investing $7.2 million in 75 local productions, including feature films, documentaries and digital content, including animations, interactive web content, games and apps. Screen Tasmania’s industry support has resulted in the creation of more than 1,500 local jobs and numerous professional development opportunities.

Recent productions that have taken Tasmania to the wider world include the TV drama series The Kettering Incident and acclaimed international films Lion, The Light Between Oceans and The Hunter. A locally produced TV drama, Beaconsfield, attracted a national audience of 1.6 million, while a dark comedy series Noirhouse had great web success. Eight-part comedy series Rosehaven on ABC TV has received enthusiastic reviews and The Nightingale won major awards at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival.

Tasmania’s digital screen industry is flourishing with animations, including Bobbie the Bridestowe Bear, Pixel Pinkie and Buzz Bumble, along with the educational computer game The Voyage.

Screen Tasmania provides grants for film festivals and events which build awareness of the screen industry and contribute to Tasmania’s rich cultural life. Highlights include BOFA (Breath of Fresh Air) and Flickerfest, Australia’s only Academy Award-accredited short-film festival.

The Cradle Mountain Film Festival is a project of Cradle Mountain Canyons, an adventure tourism business running canyoning tours in the wild rivers around Cradle Mountain..

Creative in most fields, Tasmanians are making a clear impact in the emerging business of multimedia animation.

Facts and figures

  • Sir Lawrence Olivier, Noel Coward, J.C. Williamson, Vivien Leigh, Jack Davey, Roy ‘Mo McCackie’ Rene, Sybil Thorndike, Roger Woodward, Michael Redgrave, Lillian Gish, Sir Peter Ustinov, Marcel Marceau, June Bronhill, Paul Mercurio, Ruth Cracknell and Ronnie Corbett have all performed at the Theatre Royal.
  • The Saturday edition of The Mercury reaches 79 per cent of the regional population, a level of “penetration” rarely achieved in the modern newspaper world. Daily circulation is over 31,000.
  • The Examiner is the second most-read newspaper in Tasmania. It circulates mainly in Launceston and the northern region.
  • Theatrical types insist that the Theatre Royal has a celebrated ghost that regularly distracts performers with unexpected entrances in the Wings.

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Tasmania’s Stories Edition 206

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27 June 2019, Edition 206

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