I don’t like jumping on band wagons, you tend to upset the musicians, especially anyone with an instrument that requires it to be vaguely steady; but jump I must.
Coronavirus, or Covid-19, whichever terminology you wish to use, is set to change our world. Whether you think that it’s a right-wing media conspiracy or the next plague that will cull the majority of humanity, you cannot avoid the actions of governments around the world and the ramifications that they will have on our industry.
Theatre, Aussie or otherwise, requires that large groups of people come together and sit for several hours, indoors, in close proximity and in buildings that recycle their air. Something that I fear will soon be about as popular as a Corona beer in a Texan bar.
Compounding this, is an ongoing economic slowdown that has put pressure on the disposable income of most Australians. Indeed, although theatre revenue is slightly up, national attendance is down, and shows are cutting short their runs as predictive sales show a rather sobering reality.
Usually I would say that theatre will over come. In times of strife, economic or otherwise, theatre is a bastion for the people. A large bonfire to gather around to warm the cockles of the heart and forget the unfortunate predicament outside the momentary suspension of disbelief. But is it different this time? The very ability to go about our work is being threatened, and even a short month or two, government mandated quarantine could do irreparable damage to the infrastructure that supports us.
It seems a perfect storm.
But what to do… what to do…..?
Well, that my dear colleagues and theatre passionista is the question. And sadly. I have no answers.
But we will have to evolve, even if temporarily, to meet this great challenge that stands before us. We will rise up from beyond the barricade of toilet paper; because no matter whether this beer of flus finds a foot hold on our shores or not, the many and varying people who make up our community have the capacity to not only save this industry, but also to make it stronger and more resilient for future storms.
So wash your hands, dry them with a clean cloth and put on that thinking cap, because it’s only with creativity that we can stave off the seemingly inevitable.
Chookas, and sneezings greetings.