How skills development in the performing arts can aid long-term recovery

After the initial scramble to put shows back on the stage, it’s time to think about sustainable long-term recovery and how to build back better.

In the past year, ArtsHub has conducted interviews with sector workers about the skills shortages and long-term COVID impacts that continue to remind us it’s still not business as usual and there is an urgent need for skills development.

Sector leaders have described skills shortages as an ‘absolute crisis’ with ramifications that will be felt for many years.

While COVID-19 cancellations took away the livelihoods of many and spurred career changes that led to a significant loss of talent, the difficulty of finding skilled backstage crew is not a new issue for the sector. Even when shows have been able to hit the road once again, many practitioners have faced difficulties in not having enough workers to realise ambitious ideas and the pressure for less experienced staff to step up into roles for which they may not feel ready.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_