Australians may be planning on riding out the coronapocalyse by binge-watching television shows, but the people who make them have been left in dire straits because of the outbreak.
Stage shows, television and film productions are shutting down worldwide as countries try to slow the spread of the virus.
Major Australian festivals including Groovin The Moo and Splendour in The Grass have been postponed or cancelled. Even Opera Australia is liquidating its assets to stay afloat during the shutdown.
It has led to fears Australia will experience a cultural recession, as the government places new restrictions on non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 500.
At a roundtable in Canberra on Tuesday, industry warned the $4 billion industry was on the brink of collapse.
"Realistically, we're looking at a three to six month closure period at least before any recovery phase," Live Performance Australia chief executive Evelyn Richardson said.
"In this scenario we will have not just thousands of people out of work but major companies going under."
Live Performance Australia has called for an $850 million support and stimulus package for Australia's live performance industry, which would fast track income support for performers who have lost work due to event or venue closures.
It also wants a cash injection for the sector to help them meet shortfalls over the next three months, and for the Australia Council to fund all organisations that were assessed as worthy in the four-year funding review process.
The union representing Australia's actors, Actors Equity, wants companies to be supported to keep casts and crews together as much as possible.
"For instance, ballet and dance companies have cancelled their summer seasons but they're still going to work each day teaching classes and rehearsing, so they're still being utilised in that sense," Actors Equity director Andrew Crowley said.
"For long-running shows, they should be able to stay on top of it, rehearsing, so when it opens back up they're ready to go. You can't not do a show for that long and be expected to get straight back into it."
Mr Crowley said the virus would have a "long-term effect on cultural output that would be felt throughout the world".
Hollywood and Netflix have shut down production, and while some Australian productions were trying to push through, Mr Crowley warned "there won't be any new shows out there".
Australian Major Performing Art Group (AMPAG) executive director Bethwyn Serow said Newstart payments should be accelerated for performers whose contracts had been cancelled.
Any relief had to come swiftly, she said.
"People are worried about how they're going to feed their family now," Ms Serow said.
Ms Serow said there should be flexibility in grant funding so money could be repurposed by the artists towards projects they can complete during the lockdown.
Key performance indicators should also be changed to acknowledge the impact of coronavirus.
"Hypothetically, what that could look like is Bell Shakespeare has to deliver a program to schools and tour regionally. They could provide that through videolink but need extra resources to do that," Ms Serow said.
There are ways consumers of arts can also help.
"Pay for streaming," Mr Crowley said. "Pay when live artists are moving to stream."
Ms Serow said ticket holders of cancelled events should consider not claiming a refund, if they can afford it.
"We're asking the public, where they have capacity, to convert their tickets to donations and to keep doors ready to open, and keep artists, designers and craftspeople doing what they can to prepare for when they can come back on tap," Ms Serow said.
- For information on COVID-19, please go to the federal Health Department's website.
- You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
- If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000)
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.