Home Arts sector left in limbo due to ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns | 7.30

Arts sector left in limbo due to ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns | 7.30

by smart

it’s one of the most famous musicals in the world but the recent lockdowns have seen the curtain fall on what was already a sellout season of the phantom of the opera the show was scheduled to tour both sydney and melbourne later this year but today it was postponed indefinitely it’s a massive blow you know we sold over 100 000 tickets what is that going to mean in the future you know what’s going to happen when we do finally get through this pandemic what’s going to be left it’s just the latest casualty of this pandemic and after 18 months of cancellations the industry is at breaking point well it’s a devastating time for the industry i think none of us ever expected particularly how well the year kicked off that we’d be in this position major shows like hamilton and harry potter have been hard hit by lockdowns both are produced by michael castle our productions of harry potter and hamilton specifically those cast members our crew all of the management team creative staff musicians who work on the show they’ve all been stood down under their contracts we have been advancing annual leave to ensure that there is money in people’s bank accounts harry potter and the cursed child opened here in melbourne in 2019. since then it’s weathered five lockdowns as well as strict 50 covered capacity limits but the future of the production is under threat by australia’s continuing lockdowns and its producer says the show and his other musicals like hamilton could soon meet the same fate as the phantom of the opera given it’s a commercial proposition of course where there will come a time when we say this is just not sustainable with the uncertainty of how long we’re in this for and how long we’re shut down you know we can’t keep these productions sustained and put on ice and the phantom of the opera today is sadly an example of what might be upon us here in australia federal arts minister paul fletcher told 730 the government has provided financial support to those productions there’s a million dollars of rise funding in hamilton another example is opera australia you mentioned uh phantom of the opera and the fact that they’ve sadly had to cancel that we’ve worked closely with opera australia they’ve received significant funding under the sustainability fund at the height of the pandemic last year many artists found themselves ineligible for job keeper because most work as freelancers so in june last year the federal government committed 250 million dollars to the sector through a creative economy jobs package of that 90 million was offered in concessional loans which will eventually need to be repaid in march this year an extra 125 million dollars was made available through the same scheme we’ve got lockdowns at the moment and that is very tough because it means venues closed performances cancelled artists losing their gigs that’s why it’s important that we’ve got the 600 covered disaster relief payment available through services australia artists like ben lee feel the live music industry has not been given the same allowances as big sporting events we’re mostly talking about 500 people or a thousand people in a space together even an outdoor space it’s just very clearly not the same level of risk as bringing 30 000 people together for a state of origin gain i’m doing the same exact same thing as i did in 2020 which was uh release an album um and then reschedules cancel and then re postpone a whole bunch of dates so it’s very you know the true meaning of groundhog day fellow australian musician diesel has also produced a new record in lockdown you know in the music industry we were like one of the first industries to like really get shut down boom straight away will be the last light to get turned back on again fully there was a real feeling that by october november this year we would be you know we’d be in a vaccinated country we’d be in a situation where we could have a summer of festivals shows tours and everything would be back on the ceo of industry body aria says the optimism of six months ago has totally dissolved the sector some people in this industry have no have had no income or very very little income for almost 18 months now you know we have to get some consistency and some protocols around national touring water closures in the face of so much uncertainty the industry is now calling for government underwritten insurance for shows all of the commercial insurers are no longer supporting live entertainment and that’s a challenge we’re looking for a roadmap out of covert and we’re looking for those particular supports because the decisions that trigger a shutdown of a show are decisions made by state governments they’re the level of government that is best suited to provide a specific interrupt insurance type fund many in the industry say the federal government’s funding scheme only goes so far a sentiment backed by a new report from pricewaterhousecoopers which found the australian music industry as a whole shrunk by 39 last year a loss of around seven hundred million dollars in all my childhood opera australia i’ve never gone out to government and said we need help i’ve never asked them to give us money but when we are unable to sell things when we’re not in control of our destiny when we have no other option then i am saying we need help hi i’m lee sales thanks for watching this story if you’d like to watch more of 7 30 stories they are on the left of your screen and tap on the button below to subscribe and get the latest from abc news


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Arts sector left in limbo due to ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns | 7.30
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