Shows are back on… but what’s happening backstage?

The COVID era has spurred a shortage of production staff that is snowballing through venues and companies.
a scene of a darkened area of a theatre backstage, with two production crew members working on the lights, silhouetted by a lit-up background

You rarely glimpse them onstage, but skilled production crew are a vital part of any live performance. Stage managers, lighting operators, sound mixers and set mechanists – all are integral to delivering a successful season of live performance.

Sadly, when COVID hit, these arts workers were among the first to be stood down or to leave the industry (inevitably in that order), which had led to a dearth of production staff for shows currently in production.

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ArtsHub's Arts Feature Writer Jo Pickup is based in Perth. An arts writer and manager, she has worked as a journalist and broadcaster for media such as the ABC, RTRFM and The West Australian newspaper, contributing media content and commentary on art, culture and design. She has also worked for arts organisations such as Fremantle Arts Centre, STRUT dance, and the Aboriginal Arts Centre Hub of WA, as well as being a sessional arts lecturer at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).