Email from Nicole Beyer
Theatre Network Australia
Posted by Frank McKone
As you will be aware, the government has now banned events of more than 500 attendees and has made a firm call for social distancing and self-isolation, in order to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus.
TNA is aware of the impact this has on our sector and we are hearing about the anxiety this is causing, especially to independents who work project to project. The cancellation of events and shows across the performing arts is a significant loss of work and income to an already financially precarious sector.
In the TNA 2018 Independent Survey Report – THIS IS HOW WE DO IT: Working Trends of Independent Artists, Creatives, and Arts Workers in Australia – it was shown that respondents worked an average of 8 projects across a year, half of which were paid below industry rates. So right now, we are especially thinking of the independent artists, producers and presenters who juggle multiple jobs and roles to make a living, and we are concerned about those who are already marginalised and more vulnerable to the impacts of the virus, such as Disabled and Deaf artists.
What TNA is doing:
1. TNA, together with our national colleagues are heading into a national industry roundtable with Paul Fletcher, the Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts advocating for an immediate and targeted assistance package for Australia’s performing arts industry.
2. We are promoting the value of the small to medium and independent sectors to the media, and urging stimulus in multiple areas, including financial assistance for the sector's casual workers, and an injection of funds to ensure that all 162 short-listed organisations in the Australia Council's Four Year Funding round can be supported in the next cycle, providing vital infrastructure to our sector as it rebuilds over the medium term.
3. TNA has been speaking to advisors of both major parties and the Greens to seek their support for an assistance package.
4. Updating the TNA Resources Page with relevant resources, links, and plans from national and international colleagues.
What you can do:
1. Log your loss of income with I Lost My Gig Australia. This will support the combined efforts of our national colleagues in advocating for an assistance package.
2. Join in Live Performance Australia’s campaign #livesupport – All industry workers are urged to record a short message and let the government know about the impact of the shutdown on our industry.
3. Take the health and safety of our community seriously, and practise social distancing, and self-isolation if you are unwell to slow the spread COVID-19.
It is an incredibly stressful time with the loss of work and income, and we also acknowledge how heart breaking it is to have to cancel shows you’ve worked very hard to bring to life. But we cannot emphasise how much more urgently we need to show care towards ourselves and to each other.
Please feel free to contact us if you need any further advice or information.
Nicole, Simone, Jamie, Rani and Yuhui
Support Act Wellbeing Helpline 1800 959 500 – a free, confidential service, available 24/7 to anyone who works in the performing arts. We are doing our very best to keep up with the additional demand, but there may be a slight delay. If you or someone you know is at immediate risk, please contact the Emergency Services on 000.
Phone Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or click here for additional services.
Visit ‘Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak’ from Beyond Blue.