The idea of creating a body, particularly to assist regional theatre administrators in Queensland, was formulated in 1982 at a meeting in Gladstone. By this time several modern arts centres had been built, set up and staffed in major cities and towns by local government authorities. Although there were regional arts centres springing up all over Australia, the original Queensland participants believed their isolation warranted specific attention and, in Cairns on 26 July 1983, the Northern Australian Regional Performing Arts Centres Association came into being.
The formalisation of NARPACA as an incorporated Association took place in 1990 with the first meeting being held in Bundaberg in February. Today the Association is recognised, not only as a support group, but also as a powerful lobby, presiding over a touring circuit of immense political and social value.
At various times NARPACA has employed staff in regional offices located in Mackay, Rockhampton and currently Brisbane to service member needs and undertake a key role in the state and national touring networks. The organisation’s core strength has been the on-going commitment of members to proactively meet and share expertise to advance the development and presentation of performing arts across major arts centres in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
NARPACA has enjoyed a successful long-term relationship with the Queensland Government, the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association (APACA) and other similar state organisations, in both developing and delivering positive outcomes for Queensland’s and Australia’s performing arts industry.
Amongst many significant achievements is the establishment of NARPACA's Ticketing Professionals Conference which has grown to become the key annual national ticketing event aimed at both audience and employee professional development. The association also hosts annual conferences for industry and individual development of venue managers and technical staff. These events are well supported by industry partners, government, producers, promoters, and key stakeholders who recognise the value and importance of NARPACA and the dynamic role it undertakes in connecting communities, artists and audiences.