Live Performance Australia (LPA), the arts and entertainment industry peak body, today called on all states and territories to outline the timeframe to allow all live entertainment venues to operate at 100 percent capacity and to guarantee borders would remain open now the vaccination program was underway.
LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said the live entertainment industry had proved resilient in the face of significant disruption caused by COVID-19. “The industry has worked with all governments to get our people back to work, our shows back on stage and touring.
“We set a goal of getting our theatres open at 100 percent capacity by March this year. We’ve nearly reached 75 percent audience capacity indoors across the country with some shows at 85+ percent and Queensland at 100 percent, the first state to lift restrictions.
“We’re now calling on all states and territories to follow the lead of Queensland and open all indoor theatre venues to 100 percent capacity. We also need to review the one person per two square metre rule. We know that small live performance venues are struggling to program events given the current restrictions and events of scale such as concerts and music festivals are a long way off returning to normal business operations.
“The challenges of eight different frameworks with anomalies in indoor and outdoor settings plus lack of consistency across industry sectors is severely impeding business recovery. We are concerned that sport and cultural events are being treated differently, despite the venue settings being broadly the same.
“We are also a huge touring industry and rely on borders being open and venue capacities being aligned nationally. For a producer putting a show into market, the current patchwork of restrictions severely hinders their ability to design a business model that works in terms of ticket sales and touring costs.
“At 75 percent capacity most of our shows are still not breaking even. We’ve also had the constant disruption of snap lockdowns and changing border and density restrictions. This has impacted both consumer and industry confidence.
“20 March marks one year since the first domestic border closed in Australia. Monday marked the first day in 12 months that all domestic borders were open. We need to keep them open.
“For our live music promoters we also need certainty we can kick start our summer touring season in October with full capacity in all our venues, indoor and outdoor, large and small.
“We ask that the National Cabinet agree to keep the borders open, commit to increasing capacity to 100 percent at all live entertainment venues and work with us to implement a framework for bringing in international artists and crew.
“This will get all of our people back to work and enable our companies to get back to business”, Ms Richardson said.