Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Arts

The last of Leo …

Leo Schofield has left Tasmania for good, returning to his home and family in Sydney, after the collapse of his innovative Hobart Baroque festival. Before he left, he spoke to Martyn Goddard about Tasmania, music, friends and enemies, and the biggest disappointment of his long career.

With two days to go before Leo Schofield is to leave Tasmania, his rented house in West Hobart is a mess. Piles of shirts on hangers cover chairs and tables, huge half-packed cardboard boxes litter the place. His three daughters and ex-wife have been down from Sydney to help him pack. One daughter, the actor Nell, rings while we’re talking.

Leo likes Tasmania but doesn’t like this house. His rat’s nest, he calls it: a 1940s red-brick place badly in need of renovation. He’d needed to find somewhere to live in a hurry after he sold Dysart House, the colonial mansion at Kempton in the Tasmanian Midlands that he had meticulously and expensively restored.

In 1935, Leo Schofield he was born to a football-loving pub-owner at Brewarrina on the dry and unrelenting plains of far western New South Wales. But he went to school and grew up in Sydney, and then began his long career in the arts and advertising. In London, never having been to Tasmania, he and his wife, Anne, saw a BBC documentary on the place by the poet laureate, Sir John Betjeman.

‘Tasmania reminded Betjeman of Georgian England before the Industrial Revolution ‒ how unspoilt it was, Leo recalls. ‘So it stirred a curiosity. In the early seventies, Anne and I decided we needed a break and we did a road trip, north to south, and saw all the houses. And after that we made multiple visits. Whenever friends came from overseas, we’d say: “Let’s slip down to Tasmania?”

‘The thought occurred more than once that it might be nice to have a Georgian house in Tasmania. We’d never be able to afford one in Sydney but in Tasmania we could.’

The big moment was in 1988 when, with Donald McDonald, general manager of the Australian Opera, Leo and Anne made the trip to see a special bicentennial performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Theatre Royal in Hobart. It was a dull production but the theatre starred. He never forgot it ‒ Australia’s only surviving Georgian theatre. A great place, he thought, for early music.

The idea for a baroque festival in Hobart had been shared by a top international opera director, Goran Jarvefelt but lapsed when Jarvefelt died at the end of 1989, aged only 42, of a brain tumour.
In 2002, Leo bought Dysart House, the elegant colonial mansion that dominates the village of Kempton. There had been three opportunities to buy ‒ the first at only $400,000 ‒ but at last he felt he could face up to the task of such a complex and expensive restoration.

So the Tasmanian period began …

So the Tasmanian period began. There was a weekly column in the Mercury which quickly became one of the paper’s most-read features. Readers were kept informed about the progress of the Kempton project but they also saw uncompromising criticism of the second-rate: the Ten Days on the Island festival, the Tasmanian tourism industry and its official representatives, unprofessional service in restaurants and hotels, ham-fisted tourism promotion, the woeful condition of the state’s unique built heritage, the lack of any coherent arts policy.

You just don’t say those things in Tasmania: behind closed doors, certainly, but not in the newspaper. Someone might be listening!

Enemies gathered but in the manner of such people they remained, for the time, quiet in public. Their time would come; and it did.

Meanwhile, he became one of the state’s most indefatigable boosters. Events Tasmania ran a survey in Queensland to find out which brands people associated with Tasmania: the name ‘Leo Schofield’ came out top, the only individual ever to emerge as a brand in such a survey.

Parties of friends and colleagues still spent weekends and holidays at Kempton but his work was in Sydney and, increasingly, Brisbane. After successfully leading three of the country’s top arts festivals in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane ‒ and rescuing some of them from doldrum and decay ‒ he put together a regular season at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre of the world’s top ballet companies.

Dysart House was almost always empty. Time to sell. There was an open day to raise money for the local school, then a high-profile furniture auction. And a move to West Hobart before ‒ he hoped ‒ finding a smaller period house in Hobart to bring, once more, back to life.

Although Brisbane, and the global booking trips such an enterprise demands, continued to take much of his time, he remained in love with Hobart and Tasmania. It was, he knew, the ideal place to run the niche music festival he had planned with Goran Jarvefelt so long ago: based around the Theatre Royal, but using the city’s exceptional stock of other early buildings for rich and unusual performances. It would tap the only growth area in all of classical music ‒ the baroque ‒ and allow Tasmanians to see their island and themselves in a new and brighter way.

The first festival was tiny, funded with $200,000 from Premier Lara Giddings. ‘Paul Keating talked to Giddings and said: “You’ve got him down there, why don’t you use him?”’

Graeme Wood, the Wotif founder and philanthropist, gave $150,000. Much of the rest was tipped in personally by Leo and his co-producer, Jarrod Carland, a former professional singer with an arts administration business in Melbourne. It was enough ‒ just ‒ for a first toe-in-the-water festival.

‘[The core idea] was the Theatre Royal to begin with. It seemed to me that it was almost purpose-built for early opera. It was the right size, it was in the right-sized city. Baroque music was the flavour of the month and there wasn’t a baroque music festival.

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden …

‘The first festival in 2013 was put together really swiftly. I had the view that, for anybody to take notice of it, here or on the mainland, we’d have to have a big name involved in some way. And the first big name was, of course, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.’

That London production of L’Isola Disabitata [The Desert Island] a small-scale opera by Joseph Haydn. Though Haydn is regarded as a classical, rather than a baroque, composer, this small-scale piece written for the Palace of Esterhaza after a fire destroyed its opera house ‒ was compatible with the older style. It was the first time the Covent Garden company had performed in Australia.

And there was an acclaimed recital by the Australian counter-tenor, David Hansen.

‘For 2014 we expanded the festival. The audience seemed readier: they seemed to understand what it was. Very professional marketing helped: that’s a game both Jarrod and I know well. And we both know a lot of journalists.

‘We had an agreed strategy. First, we would have to have a major attraction in the festival that would interest mainlanders. Second, it would have to be exclusive to Hobart, to make people come here.

And thirdly, it would have to be relentlessly promoted. I’ve always believed any festival needs an opera at its heart, because that says ‒ even to people who don’t attend ‒ that it’s a serious event. It gives a sense of bigness to the thing. Even though there may be only five singers, it has a live orchestra and it’s not what people are used to.

‘We judiciously built around that. We wanted to be very considerate to local artists, to give them a showcase as well. Otherwise, the ‘elitist’ tag is always going to be hurled at you by bogans and anti-culture people. We thought we could minimise that by having a hefty component of local artists. And the five-dollar series de-elitised the whole thing.’

This time, Premier Lara Giddings contributed $400,000 of state government money. Other major donors, including arts patron Penny Clive and Federal Group director Julia Farrell, gave substantial donations and in-kind support. The Hobart Lord Mayor, Damon Thomas, shepherded through a City Council contribution and free rent for performances in the newly-restored Town Hall.

From his base in Hobart, Leo had the task of combing the world for the best young artists ‒ young because people at the start of their careers had not yet priced themselves out of Hobart Baroque’s very limited budget. By doing this, an event could be created to which people from all over the world would have to come if they were to see the best stars of the future.

For Leo, this meant a number of self-funded trips to Europe and America, looking at other performances and other festivals. ‘London, Vienna, Paris, Avignon, Salzburg. But I’d done those circuits for years when I was doing the eleven major mainland festivals. For this one, we were able through YouTube and so on to target precisely what we wanted to go and see.’

It was known immediately overseas …

But not everything can be seen in person. ‘We were getting notes from agents after the very first Hobart Baroque. It was known immediately overseas. Agents are out there touting for work. Everyone has production videos of the shows they’ve put on because you can’t always be in the right place at the time. The boss of Universal Classics rang me up and said: “There’s a knock-out Russian soprano called Julia Lezhneva.”’

And so the 24-year-old found herself on a plane from Moscow to Hobart.

There were important supporters at Government House. The governor, Peter Underwood, and his wife, Frances, were both ardent fans of baroque music but had never thought to hear it in Tasmania.

They would throw open to doors of Government House for a state reception for the 2014 artists and a public master class was to be held in the grand ballroom.

But enemies were gathering too. Luke Martin, head of the Tourism Council, attacked Lara Giddings for her government grant.

The centrepiece of the second, much larger festival, was Orlando, a Handel opera from the Glimmerglass festival in upstate New York. For modern audiences the plots of baroque opera seria are so convoluted and silly that they demand a cheeky, irreverent approach ‒ and that came in a production by Chas Rader-Shieber that Limelight magazine called ‘neatly conceived and enchanting’.

There was an exemplary concert by the top Spanish counter-tenor, Xavier Sabata, and ‒ best of all ‒ a momentous concert by that 24-year-old Russian soprano, Julia Lezhneva. Richard Flanagan, soon to pick up his Booker, was there: ‘I never thought I’d hear such beauty in Hobart,’ he said. There were four standing ovations, led by the governors of Tasmania and New South Wales.

Lezhneva’s concert went on to win the national Helpmann award for best classical concert. The runners-up in this category were Mariss Jansons, one of the top half-dozen international conductors; Murray Perahia, one of the top half-dozen pianists; and Andreas Scholl, the world’s most renowned counter-tenor.

The national media coverage was uniformly adulatory. There were six national broadcasts of festival performances on ABC Classic FM. Margaret Throsby came down from Sydney to record interviews for her national radio program. In the Sydney Morning Herald, arts initiatives in Tasmania ‒ MONA and Hobart Baroque ‒ were described as ‘the Tasmanian juggernaut’. The idea had been shown to work.

Sniping continued, mostly behind closed doors …

Not everyone saw it that way. Sniping continued, mostly behind closed doors. Lara Giddings came to almost everything. But no politician in the new Liberal government took up offers of free tickets to come to any of the events.

But those of us involved with the festival thought the artistic success would be recognised by the new government and would lead to support. We were wrong.

We asked the new government for the minimum amount necessary to provide Tasmania with a major classical music festival of global significance ‒ one with the capacity, if promoted, to attract thousands of visitors from China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. We asked the government for 45% of the proposed budget ‒ a massively smaller proportion than that of similar festivals in Australia and overseas ‒ $800,000 in the first year, rising to $1.25 million in the third year, with funding certainty over the three years.

After three months with no reply from the government, Leo rang a journalist from the Mercury to see whether she had heard anything. She made a call and then rang Leo back. The answer was no: we were to be offered $300,000 ‒ $100,000 less than the year before ‒ and no commitment for the following year or for any period after that.

The answer, in other words, was no. The event was simply unviable on those figures.

‘My feeling was total fury,’ Leo recalls. ‘To find out via a reporter was just absurd. We’d been asking for six months and had the meeting with Hodgman three months before. Finally we got a letter telling us to talk to Events and Tourism. Well, we’d been talking to them for months. They hadn’t returned calls, hadn’t responded to e-mails.

‘The public servants here are unbelievable. Unbelievable. They’re so scared that they never make a call. The won’t put anything on paper. They never want to leave any sort of a trail of their conversations.’

The best of them all was Jeff Kennett …

It was a contrast, and a shock, to the way he had previously been treated interstate as director of the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane festivals. ‘I had direct dealings with the Premiers, with Neville Wran, Bob Carr ‒ and the best of them all was Jeff Kennett. He was fantastic. They listened and they understood.

‘But in Tasmania they just don’t get it. There are wonderful, intelligent, informed people here but unfortunately they do not sit in Parliament House.’

Hobart Baroque 2015 was cancelled. But there was a flood of support, and unsolicited offers from supporters promised $100,000. And there had been another $100,000 from the federal Arts Minister, Senator George Brandis.

By then the results of a survey by the EMRS company, commissioned by Events Tasmania, had been released. They were ‒ particularly for a shoestring event in only its second year ‒ remarkable.

There was a total spend in Tasmania of around $2.2 million by the 49% of Hobart Baroque audiences who came from interstate. They stayed, on average, 4.8 nights. Ninety-six per cent said they would come again, 82% within the next year. Ninety-three per cent said they had come to Hobart solely for the festival. Each spent an average of $2,455 in the state, compared with $1,517 for the run of interstate tourists in Tasmania. Commercial art galleries, cafes and restaurants, and hotels all reported a brisk pick-up in business during that ten days.

So, in a final attempt to save the festival, Leo swallowed his pride. He went back to Will Hodgman with a revised request ‒ for a grant of $450,000, just $50,000 more than the year before. That, with the extra money from supporters, would have been enough to put on one more festival: smaller, less adventurous than had been envisaged, but it would have lived.

Luke Martin applauded the rejection. The figures, he said, ‘didn’t stack up’ …

Hodgman’s answer, again, was no.

Luke Martin applauded the rejection. The figures, he said, ‘didn’t stack up’.

The work, the pressure and the disappointment have taken its toll on the 79-year old Leo. After each festival, he had become ill with a serious lung infection. It happened again with the second rejection and there were three days in hospital. When he last came to dinner at my house, a fortnight before he left the state, he had spent the afternoon once again in hospital: once again, it was his lungs. The doctors had given him the all-clear but he was tired, quiet and downbeat.

The toll has been emotional as well as physical. ‘Over the years I’ve had lots of disappointments but this is probably the biggest one. I believed so passionately in the event.’

His state of health has worried his family. ‘They’ve all been down over the last week. We had a big talk and they said: “We want to get you back to Sydney”. I have three grandsons and I just don’t see them enough. I can’t tell you how much I miss them.

‘I thought I’d stay and see it out but what’s to stay for? I have a great fondness for the place and a lot of people I really like. A lot of people have been really supportive. But in the end it was a tug-of-war, between Tasmania and my family.’

He believes, perhaps correctly, that enemies with the ear of powerful people helped kill off Hobart Baroque. But he does not regret being publicly critical of things he believes make Tasmania, too often, home to the second-rate.

‘I feel sad to be leaving Tasmania,’ Leo tells me, ‘but I feel I need to now. I’ve proved what I can do: I don’t have to prove it to anyone else. They weren’t ready for it.’

Martyn Goddard worked on a voluntary basis with Hobart Baroque.

• Leo Schofield, in Comments: A response to Luke Martin, Comment 3: ‘The amount we asked for over three years was exactly what the wretched Ten Days on the Island receives to run its miserable event that is about as attractive to a cultural tourist as a cup of cold sick. The funding for one single Ten Days event is two million dollars. But the local arts Pooh Bahs love that paradigm of parochiality as it ensures jobs for their mates. Lord knows what it costs to pay the wages of the self-serving rusted-on arts bureaucrats, to service countless boards and thoroughly unrepresentative pissant advisory boards. As one observer noted, ‘Who are these people?’

• mr t, in Comments: #30 Luke Martin, please read #31. Without going into all the pros and cons, #31 details the knowledge, skills, passion, time and money invested by Leo Schofield. In return, following his last bid, he learnt of its failure through the media. The Premier and his staff did not even pick up the phone to give him the courtesy of any notice. You admit never meeting him in person. It would seem no-one has shown him any courtesy of a face to face discussion since. In my career I have had to meet with many people. Some didn’t want to meet me. Some I had to persuade towards a common outcome. Some I had to communicate very bad news. The worse the news, the more it had to be face to face. Can you walk in Leo’s shoes for 5 seconds and see why he is bitter and turning a new chapter? PS Leo, best wishes with your next chapter. Do not look back. Always act now and look to the future.

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Luca Vanzino

    November 30, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Perhaps Leo should have renamed it, ‘The Hobart Bogan Festival’ – they would have poured in!

    As Frankie Falconi from the SBS television show said:

    “Tassie bogans – top shelf, black label”

  2. Gordon Bradbury

    November 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

    ‘But in Tasmania they just don’t get it. There are wonderful, intelligent, informed people here but unfortunately they do not sit in Parliament House.’

    There are a few other inhabited caves in Tasmania besides Parliament house.

    Sad to see Leo leave. Maybe in another hundred years or so Tasmania might enter the 20th century. But obviously not now.

    Perhaps the wonderful, intelligent, informed people can come together and form an alternative Government. An alternative Tasmanian Government in exile!

  3. Luke Martin

    November 30, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Whoa, for the sake of balance, lets get a couple of things straight here;

    Neither I, nor the organisation I represent, consider ourselves ‘enemies’ of Leo, or his festival. For the record, I’ve never actually met Leo in person, and I find that description quite distasteful and misrepresents what we are all about.

    In terms of my comments about government funding for the Hobart Baroque Festival;

    For some time we have argued for a fair, transparent, and rationale approach to the funding of major events in Tasmania, specifically to avoid outcomes like we have seen with Hobart Baroque.

    The approach in Victoria – established under Kennett – with the Victorian Major Events Corporation is the model, with an independent board, clearly understood application process, guidelines and contractual-based expectations on events seeking public funding..

    In Tasmania, Major Events funding – especially under the previous government – has become highly politicised with decisions essentially made on the whim of Ministers discretion with no transparency or clarity for event organisers on the process or criteria for obtaining funding. This ultimately leads to uncertainty for event organisers and outcomes like we have seen with Hobart Baroque when Government support eventually reaches its limit.

    We went through a similar experience a couple of years ago with the Falls Festival that would also have been lost to the State for a lack of government support, but fortunately received a last minute funding salvation from Graeme Wood.

    With that lack of clarity and agreed measurable outcomes for events, it also leads to questions about value for money and the opportunity cost of government significantly backing one event over another.

    To this end, its important to clarify the story above doesn’t say Leo originally asked the Tasmanian Government to increase funding for Hobart Baroque to $3 million over three years. This would have represented about 20% of the State Government’s entire annual events budget and put Hobart Baroque at the very top of major events receiving public support.

    From my perspective, representing tourism operators in all corners of the State – $1 million for a Hobart-based event in the already busy March/April season could not – on face value – ‘stack up’. Nor would it be in anyway a fair or justifiable outcome for those other great cultural events across the State – Junction, Festival of Voices, Breath of Fresh Air, Queenstown Heritage & Arts Festival etc – that also deliver great tourism outcomes for their region and the State from minimal budgets and public support.

    From our perspective, the demise of Hobart Baroque is a shame, and its disappointing a reasonable outcome with public funding to enable the event to continue could not be reached. The Hodgman Government has committed to implement a clear events strategy, and we’re supporting their initiative to avoid outcomes like this in the future.

    I will add, there is another major publicly funded arts and cultural event in Tasmania that absorbs a substantial amount of public and private support, and from our perspective, could do with an injection of vitality.

    Why Leo has not been let loose of Ten Days in some capacity seems to me to be one of the great missed opportunities.

  4. Andrew Ricketts

    November 30, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Why am I not surprised. It is a dark age here in Tasmania.

    Schofield’s erudite sensibilities are an anathema to the colonial administrators, their catamites and the crony system, operating here in Tasmania.

    In response to Bradbury’s comment: “Perhaps the wonderful, intelligent, informed people can come together and form an alternative Government” A wise media savvy person said to me recently: Ask the questions who, what, when, where and why? To that I would add ‘how’?

    Disappointing for Tasmania to lose the cultured Schofield but perhaps his criticisms will gain attention.

    And I thought I was going to read an obituary.

  5. Luca Vanzino

    November 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Luke Martin @ #3 writes:

    ” For some time we have argued for a fair, transparent, and rationale approach to the funding of major events in Tasmania”

    At the risk of sounding a hypocrite Luke was this process in place when it was decided to fund AFL and V8 racing.

    We both know the answer to that don’t we.

    Would you now support a cost/benefit analysis for these events in light of your above statement?

  6. Russell

    November 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    This is exactly why Tasmania is closed for business – any profit-making business that is.

    We need a Royal Commission into the dealings of Tasmanian Governments over the past 30 years to rid us of the scum filling our Parliamentary buildings.

    We also need a Public Service which serves the Public, not the seat-warmers.

    Better still, we need a revolution.

  7. mike seabrook

    November 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    events subsidy funding should be done through the councils

    and the general ratepayers who mostly do not attend should not pay

    ie.. have a bed tax to pay from the hotels etc.. and if these hotel beneficiaries do not agree to pay up – no money- not by slugging the general non attending tassie taxpayer.

  8. David Obendorf

    November 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    A fond farewell to you Leo. You told the truth and now you walk away from this island that Henry Meville, the colonial whistleblower journalist in the 1820’s, called [i]’this tight little island'[/i].

    Feudal nepotism and an oversight by a top-heavy managerial Public Service has created a self-seving culture. It will take a sudden event, a collapse or a people’s revolution to change this entrenched tribalism that is slowly killing a sustainable island ecology.

    Sadly even the Greens haven’t realised where they became complicit in the abuse of their invention – ‘Clean-Green’ Tasmania. A marketing rhetoric that need some authentic reality to support it.

    Primary Industry Minister Jeremy Rockliff now refers to it as “Clean & Fresh”.

  9. Dave Parsell

    November 30, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    bye,bye Leo we’ll pick up your toys and put them back in your cot.

  10. Margaretta Pos

    November 30, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    A good article Martyn. It could have been so different if the protagonists ….

  11. Tom Bailey

    November 30, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Leo, very sorry to hear you are leaving. Can certainly understand why. Nothing here is ever a level playing field.

    You hit a nerve with Luke Martin – what a long ‘justification’ for hypocrisy.

    “Nor would it be in anyway a fair or justifiable outcome for those other great cultural events across the State – Junction,… – that also deliver great tourism outcomes for their region and the State from minimal budgets and public support”.

    Oh, please…. Junction, a great cultural event that delivers great tourism outcomes!!! What spin figures can you fabricate to justify that one! Ye, gods!

    This state obviously needs to have Luke Martin’s ringing endorsement for any cultural event that makes it off the planning sheet. Philistines are running the state.

  12. Leo Schofield

    November 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    A response to Luke Martin, Comment 3:

    ‘The amount we asked for over three years was exactly what the wretched Ten Days on the Island receives to run its miserable event that is about as attractive to a cultural tourist as a cup of cold sick. The funding for one single Ten Days event is two million dollars. But the local arts Pooh Bahs love that paradigm of parochiality as it ensures jobs for their mates. Lord knows what it costs to pay the wages of the self-serving rusted-on arts bureaucrats, to service countless boards and thoroughly unrepresentative pissant advisory boards. As one observer noted, ‘Who are these people?’

  13. john hayward

    November 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    The Baroque Festival simply didn’t fit in with the Tas aesthetic, which runs to things like hillside clearfalls and revving motors. It also threatened to generally benefit the local economy, another no-no for LibLabs.

    John Hayward

  14. Margaretta Pos

    November 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    #12

    Keep the guns blazing!

  15. Alan Mason

    November 30, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Luke Martin.

    “I have never met Leo Schofield ..”

    As the leader of a so called peak body you should be ashamed to write that!

    Lost opportunities on your watch it seems.

  16. Margaretta Pos

    November 30, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    On reflection … , comparing the attraction of Ten Days to cultural tourists, as being as attractive as a cup of cold sick, is poor form. It damns all the artists and performers involved, not just the hierarchy of whoever, which, I assume is the target. Specific criticism is one thing, guns blazing indiscriminately quite another.

  17. Alison Bleaney

    November 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I feel really cheated. I had been to one of Leo’s performances and was entranced and in a state of excitement of getting to the next one. Shame on you Tasmania… More than shame… Life stops for no-one, no time. Thank you Leo for what you have achieved here..and for trying.

  18. Steve

    November 30, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    #15; Beat me to that one Alan!

    That’s how it works here; if you’re from outside the pale.

  19. Claire Gilmour

    November 30, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    It’s ok Leo, the respect you’ve earned will create an amazing theatre of the future. Great legacy’s do that … live on. Never ever forget, it wasn’t all for naught.

    The one major thing that some heads of public service seem to always, funnily enough, forget is … they are supposed to work for the public not for a political party.

    So really the name of such ‘public servants’ should be, in reality, changed to … oh gee let me think … perhaps …

    Give me head and I’m your servant?
    Sucker come on down?
    Political party toady?
    Paid to obey?
    Head of pollie public scrooge?
    I’m the head polly cocks chicken?
    Etc etc etc …!

    In the meantime … the state’s very own …. senator is continuing on with his usual ‘war’ on humanity …

    http://www.themercury.com.au/news/opinion/beware-abetz-attack-on-workers-comp/story-fnj4f64i-1227140061511

    What a tosser! The way he’s going he’ll have everyone in little abetz uniforms. Hail abetz! Fuck off! From what I can see he represents no one but himself.

    Time for a big, big CHANGE! and getting (excuse my language, but fairdinkum) that fucker out of power …!

    And it can be done …

  20. John Hawkins

    December 1, 2014 at 1:15 am

    #18.

    I think the phrase you are looking for is Beyond the Pale.

    The Pale was the territorial limit beyond which English rule over the Irish from Dublin no longer extended.

    In the 21st century Canberra and the Bass Strait provide for a possible comparison, the rulers in Canberra do not rule in Tasmania.

    To find a Tasmanian beyond the Pale they enlist the cargo cult mentality to buy the votes of our 12 Senators none of whom are believed to attend the theatre, a museum or an opera.

    They are only to be found; Beyond the Pale.

  21. Pete Godfrey

    December 1, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Leo thank you so much for trying to drag Tasmania up from the pits. I have never been an opera fan but still appreciate that there are those who are and the effort you took to get something special going in Hobart. I remember the days when you were a food writer, restaurant owners trembled when you walked in to their premises. My sister and brother in law were one such couple. They had a small restaurant in Thirool near Woolongong, one night you turned up. Fortunately you gave them the thumbs up and they were very pleased with your article on their establishment, even though you called my sister “the ample waitress”.

    We all got a laugh out of that.

    So thank you for trying, and I hope that you are surrounded by good friends in your next abode.

  22. Chris Harries

    December 1, 2014 at 10:00 am

    The pity of it is that it would be hard to find a better place than intimate, heritage Hobart to hold a Baroque festival. Together with a supportive social culture.

    But economically and politically speaking, we are still primarily a dig-it-up, chop-it-down sort of people on this island. There’s a sort of background, persistent resentment in Tasmanian politics that believes succeeding in culture = failing in the industrial stakes.

    We had that same problem of perceived sense of industrial failure that came with the protection of wilderness.

  23. Jane Rankin-Reid

    December 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I agree that as head of the tourism council it is vitally important to build a constructive relationship with the many cultural leaders in this community. Tourism Tasmania can’t keep spruiking Tasmania’s rich cultural heritage or its vibrant contemporary arts scene without a far deeper understanding of cultural spending and costs involved, not to mention the impact of events economically, educationally and socially. It is a very bad look for TT to be weighing in on the merit of an art form based on its economics.

    MONA has radically changed the paradigm and yet TMAG is floundering which should be of immense concern to Tourism Tasmania in my view. The comparison between football revenues and cultural events is very last century, driven by an overweening dependence on political tribes rather than real world awareness. In such an environment, it can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening to be battling to gain funding and support for highly specialised art forms like baroque music, but at no point should the failure to secure funding be regarded as a statement of the quality of the event. There is no question that Leo’s festival was an enormous critical success and that is no mean accomplishment particularly in this part of the world. It is no consolation but Tasmania has also lost IHOS a small vibrant globally recognised opera company now based in Amsterdam. I am saddened to see Mr. Schofield leave Tasmania in such a disheartened state, he has made an exceptional contribution to Australian cultural life and to this island even if he still hates the state’s plethora of iceberg roses!

    I can’t quite make out whether the Baroque festival will be presented in Brisbane after all, but it would be worth travelling for fans of this important genre.

  24. mr t

    December 1, 2014 at 11:18 am

    #15 and # 18 re. “Luke Martin, ‘I have never met Leo Schofield’”

    I remember making the same comment about Will Hodgman when the story about funding The Baroque first broke. No-one had even picked up the phone to speak to Leo Scholfield. It was reported he heard about the decision from the media.

    Luke Martin, too, should hang his head in shame. These positions are all about networking but they all seem to exist inside their own bubbles. Maybe they all need a lesson in assertion skills.

  25. John Biggs

    December 1, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I’m sorry that this has now become politcisd but the facts are that Labor and the Greens have supported world class events like Hobart Baroque, while the Liberals, to a person, have rejected anything that bogans may dislike but are gung ho on V8s, cricket, football. Keep the masses distracted, Will, and if there is any chance that the young may have musical inclinations, stamp that sort of elitist nonense out, like cutting school funding so they hve to sack teachers of musical instruments.

    Very sorry to see you go, Leo, you most definitely have left a hugely positive mark on tasie, but after all you donlt hail from Tasmania so what else could one expect? I;m afraid Luke’s response simply proves Leo’s point.

  26. Will Hickey

    December 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Regrettably. there will never be enough public funding for the Arts. This is a situation that is not unique to Tasmania.

    The issue of Events funding is complicated and in this state, there is no hope of compromise given our limited sources of funding and, as expressed on these pages, very entrenched positions on all sides of the debate. Putting aside the Sports events, there even appears to be dissent concerning the existing Arts events.

    There would be no more experienced ‘sourcer’ of funds for Arts event than Leo. As difficult as funds are to source from corporate Australia in the mainland metropolitan centres, the availability in Tasmania is miniscule.

    There is irony in Leo’s championing of causes that could be grouped as ‘anti-development’ and then accepting funds from Federal’s Julia Farrell, an organisation much derided on this site.

    Having said that, we need the Leos of the world to prod our minds, challenge the status quo and bring a dash of creativity.

    I enjoy his thought provoking, sometimes controversial but always entertaining commentary on our community. We are the better for it.

  27. bob Palendrome

    December 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Martyn,

    $300K is still a lot of money. If you can’t put on something for that then it’s not the government’s problem.

    How many tickets were actually sold to the past events anyway?Lots of obscure figures about % from mainland etc. But how many comps were in there?

    It was an elitist fest for Leo and his mates. Lara gave him the cash to keep him quiet after the 10 days board didn’t want him to join it. Leo went off and Lara shut him up with his own cosy festival from which he received a substantial directors payment.

    Goodbye Leo

    May you live long and prosper as far away from our shores as your ego can carry you.

    Cheers

    Bob

  28. Jane Rankin-Reid

    December 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I completely agree with your observation about the moral conundrum in accepting Federal Hotel’s funding Will Hickey

  29. Steve

    December 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    #20; My reference was to the idea of a fenced community. I believe there is some thought that there is a connection between the “pale” to which you refer and paling fences.

  30. Luke Martin

    December 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    In response to comment #5, and others, yes, any proper, transparent state-wide events strategy worth its salt would – by definition – run the same assessment process over future funding cases for AFL & V8s that also currently suck up a very large chunk of public events funding.

    From a tourism perspective, we don’t actually see the V8s as a major tourism event in terms of generating interstate visitation – but it is the largest single event held in the State and generates considerable intrastate visitation and economic activity.

    And as for those that have had a crack about the fact I said I haven’t met Leo in person. I can say we have spoken on the phone and exchanged emails on a number of occasions.

    The point I was trying to make was that I thought the implications in Martyn’s piece that there was something personal in our statements about Hobart Baroque – ‘enemies’ – was very unfortunate and very wrong.

    Nothing but the upmost respect for Leo, and I reiterate irrespective of the concerns about the funding model, I consider it a shame Hobart Baroque has come to an end, and also that Leo’s passion, networks and skills have not been more effectively utilised by the State.

  31. Martyn Goddard

    December 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    For the record, neither Leo Schofield nor Jarrod Carland were paid anything from Hobart Baroque, the City Council or anyone else. There were no fees. They put a couple of hundred thousand dollars of their own into these two festivals with no hope of getting it back.

    Leo tells me he was not approached at any time to join the Ten Days board and would, if approached, have declined.

    Again for the record, I did not receive any money. I and my partner paid for our own tickets and made a donation.

    The full booking details are already on Tasmanian Times and have been there for months (http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/images/uploads/hb_funding_submission.pdf). There was no need to ‘paper’ any of the houses: demand was strong for everything. Overall in the 2014 festival, 11.76% of all tickets were complementary.

    $499,089 was raised from the box office. 91% of seats were occupied; 88% of occupied seat were sold.

    To say Lara Giddings gave $400,000 to shut Leo or anyone else up is risible. If that was the aim, it didn’t work very well.

    Martyn Goddard

  32. Andrew Ricketts

    December 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Education, culture and intellect are despised and feared by many here.

    Tasmania in fact specialises in fighting insecurity with an accomplished form of mediocrity.

    All symptomatic of poor self esteem; asiduously perpetuated by the colonial administrators.

  33. mr t

    December 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    #30 Luke Martin, please read #31. Without going into all the pros and cons, #31 details the knowledge, skills, passion, time and money invested by Leo Schofield. In return, following his last bid, he learnt of its failure through the media. The Premier and his staff did not even pick up the phone to give him the courtesy of any notice. You admit never meeting him in person. It would seem no-one has shown him any courtesy of a face to face discussion since.

    In my career I have had to meet with many people. Some didn’t want to meet me. Some I had to persuade towards a common outcome. Some I had to communicate very bad news. The worse the news, the more it had to be face to face.

    Can you walk in Leo’s shoes for 5 seconds and see why he is bitter and turning a new chapter?

    PS Leo, best wishes with your next chapter. Do not look back. Always act now and look to the future.

  34. O'Brien

    December 2, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Mr Schofield joins a long list of mainlanders who came, saw and were defeated. Defeated by a dulocracy entrenched within a power base that has devolved through nepotism over decades. This same dulocracy whilst appearing inept and lacking reason is also capable of vicious action when brought to account. Mr Schofield has been somewhat insulated by a high profile and the relatively benign nature of those associated with the arts. What about the countless others who have been assaulted, fitted up, threatened and worse by corrupt elements of a public service who will never be held accountable, and why do our elected representatives look the other way? Why do Federal Hotels garner millions and millions of dollars through deals blatantly rotten like poker machine concessions? Why do tourism operators have their concession fees waived by ‘mates’ in the government and public service? Why are government contracts/positions awarded to relatives regarded as acceptable? Why is our integrity commission a lame emasculated joke? Nothing changes it goes on and on…

  35. RJ Peak

    December 2, 2014 at 3:12 am

    In #3 Luke Martin argues for a “fair, transparent, and rationale approach” to tourism developments. In #30 he argues for “transparent state-wide” tourism strategies.

    Isn’t this the same Luke Martin who, on Local ABC Radio this morning (2 Dec), was defending the plan not to call for tenders for development projects in National Heritage Areas, parks and reserves? Apparently, the secrecy is necessary to protect the “intellectual property” of the proponents.

    Sounds to me like a variation on the commercial-in-confidence rort. I also find it very hard to see any transparency, fairness or rationality in a process like this, and in my view it is fatuous to suggest that there is.

    In other parts of the developed world, public servants and politicians go to gaol for doing such deals involving public assets and public monies, but it seems that in Tasmania they are normalised–all part of routine business in the Clean and Fresh State.

    Is it any wonder that Leo is kicking the corrupt dust of the place off his heels and leaving.

  36. R.Cassidy

    April 4, 2015 at 12:14 am

    “Tasmania is a land of ‘dregs, bogans and third-generation morons’, according to well-known Australian cultural identity Leo Schofield.

    Mr. Schofield just has not spent enough time in Tasmania. Our lovely state attracts the best and brightest from around the world, whom live throughout the state amongst the ‘dregs, bogans and third-generation morons’.

    Sadly, the parochial nepotists rule the roost and truly dislike tall poppies. “They” will not give better qualified or experienced Ausländers a chance, fearing they will be shown up or told how to do it a better way or maybe lose their jobs to the Ausländers.

    Regarding culture and the arts, Hobart will never be like Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, or Sydney. When I was invited to the TSO, I was shocked. Folks wearing jeans, a stained wife-beater or tatty C-W shortsleeve shirt, replete with muddy boots is dressing up for a night out, in Tasmania. Does anyone own a tuxedo or coat and tie, in Tasmania?

    So, in Leo Schofield’s defence, he was making a point, which likely went over the heads of his critics, whom are the ones truly out of step with what lies beyond Tasmania. Whether you accept it or not. There’s a whole “nother world” out there.

    Another example . . . according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Grote Reber, an American astronomer and radio engineer who built the first radio telescope and was largely responsible for the early development of radio astronomy, which opened an entirely new research front in the study of the universe. This man was the grandfather of Radio Astronomy and lived in the Central Highlands for 40 years and there isn’t even a brass plaque commemorating his achievements and contribution to our understanding of the universe. Why?

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