Carriageworks enters voluntary administration due to coronavirus

A cultural hub at the historic Eveleigh rail yard

Carriageworks has become Sydney’s first major arts company to enter voluntary administration as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement made on the Carriageworks website today (May 5), CEO Blair French said that “with restrictions on social gatherings likely to remain in place for some time to come, the Board determined that it had no alternative but to place the company into Voluntary Administration.”

The statement also revealed that the sudden cancellation/postponement of six months of activities due to restrictions on public gatherings has resulted in an “irreparable loss of income”.

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“The Board remain hopeful that the Carriageworks facility will be able re-open to artists and community alike once NSW emerges from the effects of the current pandemic,” Mr French said.

Read the full statement from Carriageworks here.

The Sydney Morning Herald¬†revealed on May 7 that Carriageworks’ financial troubles might have begun far earlier, with insolvency discussions dating back to March.

The accounting firm called into run the company on Monday (May 4), KPMG, held five teleconference meetings with Carriageworks directors between March 23 and May 4.

During that period, Carriageworks stood down core staff and casuals and froze all non-essential work. Sources have since claimed to the newspaper there had also been discussions for the Sydney Opera House to take over the venue.

One of the largest contemporary multi-arts centres in Australia, Carriageworks has been the cultural centre of the Eveleigh rail yards since it opened to events in 2007.

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The Sydney Writers’ Festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, a weekly Farmers Market and parts of Vivid Sydney’s programme were among the events cancelled when the venue announced its shutdown in March due to coronavirus.

The news follows the April closures of Perth venue The Flying Scotsman and Melbourne live music hub The Tote.

NME Australia has reached out to Carriageworks for further comment and will update this article as necessary.

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