From people committed to entertaining, it’s tough viewing. A powerful series of video portraits of quiet desperation, anger and tears that makes plain the anguish of performing artists hit hard by COVID-19 lockdowns.
- Artists from around Australia are on a new social media video, drawing attention to the financial and mental toll of their circumstances
- A University of Newcastle survey of arts and cultural workers finds 11 per cent were unemployed even when restrictions had eased
- This is about twice the national unemployment rate
This week, Sydney entertainer James Bustar released a video on social media, drawing attention to the plight of about 30 performing arts workers from regional areas and capital cities.
It came as university research revealed artists and entertainers were unemployed at twice the national jobless rate, with the industry shutdown having “alarming” effects on their mental health.
In the video, artists — from Albury-Wodonga, Henty in regional NSW, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle and the NSW Central Coast — detail the emotional and financial impact of the lockdowns.
Circus performer Marcela Scheuner, 26, breaks down as she tells how she relies on support from her parents.
“I’ve never had to do that,” she says. “I’ve never been that person and I, like, cry every time I ask my mum for money because they worked super hard.”
Mr Bustar said he made the video “because it was clear to me the arts community and the people who make it so vital were being overlooked, even though entertainment is one of the hardest-hit sectors”.
“The video is an impassioned plea from the arts community for a lifeline to get them to the other side of the pandemic,” he said.
‘Horribly stressful time’
In the video, Central Coast musician Chris Atkinson says that, before the Greater Sydney lockdown “other industries seemed to be opening up, [whereas] ours was very much not”.
“It was a horribly stressful time, just the uncertainty,” Mr Atkinson says…
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