WA minister intervenes to lift opera smoking ban – update…
HEALTH promotion agency Healthway will be forced to rewrite its hardline anti-smoking policies after the West Australian government intervened to clear the way for a Perth production of the world-famous opera Carmen.
West Australian Opera last week dumped a planned performance of Carmen because it depicts people smoking. The opera has a $400,000 sponsorship deal with Healthway, which explicitly warns all arts organisations it funds that they cannot portray smoking on stage.
Healthway’s 2013-14 annual report states: “Healthway will maintain a firm stance on not supporting arts organisations that portray smoking on stage during performances.”
In addition, the agency’s published sponsorship conditions state that “smoking is not to be portrayed during any performances under the control of the sponsored organisation”.
According to a summary of its board deliberations on Carmen in April, Healthway also decided that “organisations would not be eligible for Healthway sponsorship for the entire program/season where smoking formed any part of any performance”.
WA Health Minister Kim Hames yesterday said he was prepared to direct Healthway to allow the opera to go ahead. He said he would write to WA Opera, telling the group it could perform Carmen without risking its sponsorship revenue. “Carmen is a historical story which has nothing to do with promoting smoking,” he said. “It’s not appropriate that Healthway stop a performance like that, so I’ll make sure that that doesn’t happen. I am going to write to the (WA Opera) board and say to them, ‘If you want to run Carmen, then you run it’.”
He said he had spoken to Healthway chairwoman Roseanna Capolingua, who was “comfortable with the direction”.
WA minister intervenes to lift opera smoking ban
Originally Written by Andrew Burrell, WA Chief Reporter, Perth