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Australian arts organisations urge spring 2021 reopening without social distancing

The UK-based Event Industry Alliance has launched a new initiative to support the recovery of the industry, as Australian arts leaders call for full reopening in Spring 2021 without distancing measures…

Project Confidence

The UK’s Event Industry Alliance (EIA) has introduced its latest cross association working group initiative called ‘Project Confidence’.

EIA, the collective associations of AEO, AEV and ESSA, launched the group to formulate and implement “consistent, timely and relevant communications” across event organisers, venues and suppliers in order to “inform and engage stakeholders on the work being done to facilitate the safe resurgence of events, at the earliest opportunity.”

It will look to create a comprehensive programme of communications to engage all stakeholders to support the transition through each recovery phase in the UK.

Kate Simpson, marketing and communications director at the Business Design Centre and co-chair of the working group said: “The aptly named ‘Project Confidence’ is a key step in providing reassurance to all those who attend and participate in events, that we collectively as venues, organisers and suppliers, are doing everything we can to create safe spaces for people to meet again.

“I am proud to be working alongside members of all three associations in establishing communications that will support the work that has been going on behind the scenes to make the return to events a reality.”

Australian arts

Leaders from the arts, entertainment and screen sectors have urged the Australian government to allow them to reopen in the spring of 2021 without any social distancing measures affecting audience numbers.

The calls come as targeted support for the performing arts industry is under consideration by the federal government. However, industry leaders say the one-off boost may not be sufficient to save such institutions, which have been severely decimated by the COVID-19 shutdown.

During today’s reopening of the National Gallery of Australia, arts minister Paul Fletcher said the government were looking at targeted assistance for organisations and institutions whose “capital resources have been very much wound down as a consequence of needing to sustain themselves when there’s no revenue”.

A spokesman for Fletcher said the government recognised the role of the performing arts in helping kickstart other parts of the economy such as hospitality, travel and accommodation.

Melbourne Theatre Company executive director and co-chief executive Virginia Lovett told the Sydney Morning Herald: “2021 will be a recovery year, as audiences regain their confidence to return.

“We’ll need government support for that recovery. It will be a couple of years before we’re back at full performance capacity. We need to talk about how to underwrite that [temporary] ticket loss.”

Lovett said it would not be financially viable for theatres to reopen with social distancing measures in place as these venues are “so reliant on box office.”

Live Performance Australia (LPA), the peak body for Australia’s live performance industry, has spoken out in support of a full reopening in spring.

LPA president Richard Evans said: “I’m not sure what we are waiting for while community transmission is so low. There might be a transition period but subsidising social distancing for an extended period is unlikely to be viable.”


LiveXLive, a digital live entertainment company, has so far sold approximately 7,300 tickets as part of its first pay-per-view events offering.

The 11E1even Group’s virtual concert series ‘Live From Out There,’ which features more than 45 virtual live performances from May 15 to June 7, includes a tour and weekend pass costing $39.99 and $19.99, respectively, as well as an a la carte option for single shows, which cost $4.99.

Since kicking off last month, sales have surpassed $148,000 to date, with 18 per cent of all ticket sales from the tour pass and 34 per cent from the Summer Camp Weekend Pass.

The firm has also reported triple-digit growth across the number of events, artists and hours streamed on its platform since January 2020.

LiveXLive has streamed 48 events so far this year, a rise of 336 per cent from 2019 with its programming generating more than 66 million live stream views, an increase of 175 per cent over the same time period last year.

Image: Thennicke