Australian juggler and comedian James Bustar has released a video describing the impact of covid on Australia’s entertainment and performance industry.
The 10-minute video titled ‘The Future of the Entertainment Career in Australia’ includes a collection of interviews from Australian entertainers and artists discussing how the pandemic has affected their financial wellbeing and mental health.
“We feel like we have been totally forgotten by the government. We can’t wait to have our livelihoods back again, we just don’t know when,” Bustar shared.
The emotional performers from a range of disciplines featured throughout the video plead for better support and assistance from the Australian Government, with a recurring theme of anxiety for the future viability of their careers and passions.
“The challenging thing was at the end of March, they think that everything’s back to normal, but really for our industry, people aren’t confident to book and still having to wait for the time to actually earn that income,” Steve Bowen, an Australian DJ for over 35 years said. “We don’t get a regular weekly wage at this moment.”
Circus Performer and Producer Emma Black suggests that the lack of ongoing support for the entertainment industry over the last 18 months is due to a poor understanding of how the industry operates.
“Quite often people don’t understand how our industry works,” Black said. “They don’t understand that you don’t get paid until you’ve done the work. It’s not just artists who have lost the work, it’s everyone else related around that.”
Taylor McLeod also argues that there is a lack of discourse around the people who work within the events industry.
“It’s not just the performers that are suffering, it’s the people that rely on shows going ahead to be able to make a living and make money and look after themselves,” McLeod said. “In terms of funding, I think we’re very underrepresented and we just don’t get enough credit.”
The video also notes the government’s different treatment of audience capacity limits at sports events to the performances of the arts industry. Corporate Entertainer Anthony Laye said that all events should be treated equally.
“There are some double standards going on,” Laye said. “It should be the same rule across the board.”
The moving video provides a glimpse into the immense pressure on the entertainment industry and ends with a poignant plea to support the arts.
Watch the full video below.
Photo: Sam McGhee