The Seymour is home to three diverse arts companies who develop and present work in our spaces. Their dynamic, creative approach makes them companies that we are proud to be associated with.


The Sydney Improvised Music Association Inc. (SIMA) is a not for profit incorporated association.

Formed in 1984, it is hard to overestimate the importance of SIMA to the Sydney jazz scene. The number of gigs it has organised in that time is also impressive but raw figures don’t begin to tell the whole story.

The organisation has been a crucial anchor for improvised music in the city, a constant and dynamic presence

SIMA – led with extraordinary determination, energy and strategic adroitness by Peter Rechniewski  –  has always put the art form and the musicians first. It has championed veteran artists of importance, such as Bernie McGann and John Pochée, and consistently encouraged younger players to develop their talents by giving them opportunities to perform in front of sympathetic audiences. The Necks played one of their first gigs for SIMA.

While maintaining an unstinting commitment to Sydney’s music culture, SIMA has never been parochial. Indeed it has embraced and celebrated the international nature of jazz, presenting and touring many important overseas artists from North America and Europe, including Dewey Redman, Geri Allen, Andrew Hill, Steve Lacy, James Carter, Oliver Lake and Horace Tapscott. Local musicians often performed with these significant figures, occasions that sometimes had the unintended consequence of emphasising their own originality and prowess.

SIMA has also regularly presented adventurous ensembles from other parts of the country and fostered good working relationships with organisations, such as the Melbourne Jazz Co-op, that broadly shares its objectives.

There have been numerous problems with venues and funding over the past 25 years but SIMA has proven remarkably resilient. The best bit is that the story is far from over – there is a lot more music to come.

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Shaun Parker & Company

Shaun Parker & Company is an exciting and bold new dance company led by award winning Artistic Director and Choreographer Shaun Parker.

Despite being in its inaugural year of operation, Shaun Parker & Company enjoyed much international success, touring to no less than ten venues including London’s prestigious Sadlers Wells.

The company’s first major production, “Happy As Larry” (2010) — pro duced as part of the Australian Major Festivals Initiative — enjoyed sell out seasons at the Sydney Festival, Perth Festival, Brisbane Festival, New Zealand International Arts Festival, and Dance Massive in Melbourne. To date Happy as Larry has won 12 children’s Jury awards in Perth, the Honourable Banksy Award in New Zealand and was nominated for the 2010 Australian Dance Award “Most Outstanding Achievement in Choreography”.   2012 is looking to be just as an eventful for Shaun Parker & Company. Productions in the works this year include contemporary music & dance work “AM I” with key collaborator and composer Nick Wales; the outdoor work & short film, “Spill” for the International Festival of Birmingham; “Trolleys” (an aptly titled ballet of shopping trolleys for the London Cultral Olympiad); “The Yard”, a collaborative street-dance work that sees 33 Western Sydney School Children reinterpret William Golding’s “The Lord of the Flies”; and at the end of the year the company will be developing a new production in Rio.

We are a key organisation with the Australia Council and supported by Arts NSW Trade & Investment, City of Sydney and the Seymour Centre.

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Critical Stages

Critical Stages began in 2005 as an initiative of Darlinghurst Theatre Company under the direction of Glenn Terry, born from the desire to find further life for outstanding productions from across the independent theatre sector. Successful productions were being resourced directly by independent artists and only reaching limited audiences in small metropolitan venues. Critical Stages developed a model to assist the development of these artists and their productions by providing infrastructure and support to use touring as a pathway to allow these works to expand their audiences and their creative potential.

In 2005 and 2006, the Critical Stages team travelled extensively throughout Australia to meet with independent artists and presenters alike to develop the model and launch the initiative to the industry. Critical Stages was established as an initiative of Darlinghurst Theatre Company, with core funding initially from Arts NSW and then as a triennial initiative funding from the Australia Council from 2009-2011.

Critical Stages has grown to become Australia’s leading producer of touring theatre from the independent theatre sector. In the past five years it has toured fourteen productions by some of the country’s leading independent theatre practitioners, including Craig Ilott, Michael Futcher, Kim Hardwick, Peter Houghton, Julian Louis, Toby Schmitz, Drew Fairley and Kate Smith, Stephen Lloyd-Helper, The Escapists, Finucane & Smith; to regional and remote audiences across the country.

In 2011 Critical Stages separated from Darlinghurst Theatre Company to form as a separate not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, with a dedicated management staff and board of Directors.

Over 120 artists have been engaged on Critical Stages touring productions, with over half engaged as touring cast and crew, traveling to perform in over 90 towns from Darwin to Launceston, Karratha to Lightning Ridge to a total audience of over 80,000 attendees.

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