Help the performing arts recover

Opening up the Australian Performing Arts Collection

Frank Van Straten AM played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Australian Performing Arts Collection. As the first archivist at what was then the Performing Arts Museum, and its founding director, he has done more than any other individual to seed this rich collection and secure its longevity. Today the Australian Performing Arts Collection is the nation’s leading collection of performing arts materials, documenting Australia’s circus, dance, music, opera and theatre heritage. It consists of 737,000+ items including costumes, designs, programs, photographs, posters, props, personal memorabilia and archival material.

The key objective of the Frank Van Straten Fellowship program is to enhance the analysis, discoverability and interpretation of the Australian Performing Arts Collection through high quality research and/or creative works that will resonate with diverse audiences.

The Fellow will be given the time, space and support to undertake research aligned to Australian Performing Arts Collection’s key subject areas: circus, dance, music, opera and theatre (which includes comedy, vaudeville and magic). The program also creates opportunities for the wider community to access the Australian Performing Arts Collection through the outcomes of Fellowship projects.

Generously supported by Frank Van Straten AM and the Adrian Turley Foundation.


2021 Applications

We are delighted to announce the Frank Van Straten Research Fellowship for 2021. This Fellowship offers special access to the Australian Performing Arts Collection for your project along with a stipend of $15,000.

Applications are now open and close on Friday 30 October 2020 for a Fellowship which commences in March 2021, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.


Guidelines and application


2020 Recipient Announced

Dr Kate Rice has been awarded the inaugural Frank Van Straten Fellowship.

Dr Rice has used this opportunity to research a number of historical theatrical performances documented in the Australian Performing Arts Collection and produce a series of performative podcasts that bring these forgotten stories of the Australian stage to life. Dr Rice is exploring a range of subjects including the 1919 Influenza Pandemic, child performers and a fight for copyright in the early twentieth century.

Read more about Dr Rice’s research:
Theatre and the Influenza Pandemic of 1919
Researching the Performing Arts Collection Without Leaving Home

Listen to this creative docu-drama podcast about what happened to Melbourne theatre during the 1919 pandemic.
Performing the Past


"The Performing Arts Collection is vast, and this Fellowship offers the opportunity to really bring out its drama. I’m so excited to find the real experiences and stories behind the collection, and create a podcast series that will bring them to life."

Dr Rice


Frank Van Straten said, “Adrian Turley and I were delighted to learn that Dr Kate Rice had been selected as the recipient of the inaugural Frank Van Straten Fellowship. Kate’s proposed Past Performance podcasts have the potential to bring the Australian Performing Arts Collection to a vast national and international audience, highlighting its important work and the treasures of its vast collection. As a former broadcaster I am well aware of the power of audio to excite, inform, document and inspire. Kate’s expertise in this area is proven, and we are looking forward to ‘tuning in’ as her podcasts go to air.”


Download the Media Release

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