ARDNA, 2021 Joan and Betty Rayner Commission Recipient.

The 2023 Joan and Betty Rayner ACTF Commission

The Trustees of the Australian Children’s Theatre Foundation (ACTF) and Regional Arts Victoria are delighted to announce the 2023 Joan and Betty Rayner ACTF Commission.

Read on to find out more about the ACTF, the commission opportunity and the guideline materials. Application forms will be open from Monday 10 October to 9am Monday 12 December 2022.

About the program

The Australian Children’s Theatre was created by sisters Joan and Betty Rayner in 1948. Joan and Betty were seasoned performers, touring across Australia and the world. Countless Australian children were introduced to the pleasures of live theatre by attending the widely acclaimed drama, music, mime and puppet productions of the Australian Children’s Theatre. The performances were always lively, engaging and uplifting, and did much to build bridges of love and understanding between people from different cultures and traditions. The Australian Children’s Theatre also enabled outstanding international artists and companies to perform to delighted audiences in Australia.

Joan Rayner established the Australian Children’s Theatre Foundation (ACTF) to keep alive the aims of the Australian Children’s Theatre.

The objectives of the Foundation are:

  • To enable high quality performing companies and individuals to perform for disadvantaged Victorian Government primary school aged children in their schools and other appropriate venues; 
  • To foster love and understanding between people of different countries and cultures; and, 
  • To promote the enjoyment, knowledge and appreciation of the arts through theatre to disadvantaged students of Victorian Government primary schools. 

The ACTF continues to be a strong supporter of theatre for young children across Victoria and will be commissioning or supporting the creative development of a new performance work in 2023 to the amount of $20,000.

Artists involved in the ACTF’s programs should be familiar with these wishes and the achievements of Joan and Betty Rayner. 

Find out more about the ACTF at

Expressions of Interest will be called for in the year preceding the commissioning year. Applications will be administered by the Regional Arts Victoria’s Arts & Education Manager. All applications that meet the guidelines will be forwarded as appropriate to the ACTF Chairperson and Trustees, for discussion in early February 2023.  

The ACTF will commission (in whole or in part) the production of a small- scale theatre piece specifically devised for primary school children, to the point of being tour ready.

It is intended that the successful applicant will be able to tour the new work within Regional Arts Victoria’s Arts & Education program in 2024. Should external circumstances require, the timeline of the development of the work and/or the touring timeline can be extended.

The new work may already be in early development at the time of application, however the commission cannot provide funds for the remount of an existing work. The successful commission will enter into a contract with the ACTF and will include provision for royalties payable to the ACTF following the tour.

The commission will be paid in stages on the successful completion of each stage or milestone as set out in the commissioning contract and the ACTF reserves the right to terminate the commission in the event that the production or the progress of its development or its timing is considered by the Trustees to be unsatisfactory or is not consistent with the application.

The ACTF encourages alternative approaches to creative processes and how these will be used in the development and implementation of the work.

You can access the full guidelines document below.

Submissions must include responses to each of the questions in the sections below. The ACTF Trustees will assess each application which successfully meets all criteria. The criteria will be weighted as indicated below. The calibre of artist applicant and the accreditation and/or public reputation of any mentors identified, trainer or Institute providing the training, viability, substantiation of anticipated expenses and impact of proposal will be considered.   

The successful applicant will be required to sign a Contractual Agreement with the ACTF in respect to the grant based on terms and timelines set down by the ACTF. This will include acknowledgement of the ACTF Commission in all marketing materials produced. The successful applicant will also be aware and compliant with the Child Safe Standards as required by State Government of Victoria from January 2017. For Further information:  

The final decision will be made by the ACTF Trustees. The ACTF reserves the right to withdraw the Commission if applications do not meet the Founders wishes. 


Applications open Monday 10 October and close 9am Monday 12 December. 

We encourage applicants to contact Regional Arts Victoria to discuss your application. Phone appointments can be made on Fridays between 10am-5pm

ACTF Commission Guidelines (.docx)

ACTF Commission Guidelines (.pdf)

ACTF Commission Application Form (.docx)

Applications are to be submitted as a PDF in electronic format, by emailing [email protected] using the subject line ‘ACTF 2023 Commission Application’.  

Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 24 March 2023

Please note, once you have emailed through your submission, you will not be able to make any further edits to the document or support materials. We will email you to confirm your submission. 

For more information on the ACTF Commission and application support access please contact: 

Pippin Davies 
Senior Manager, Arts & Education 
P: 0427 211 123 
E: [email protected] 

The Australian Children’s Theatre Foundation is proudly supported by: