An Open Letter to Audiences in uncertain times

Phi stands on stage wearing her ukulele Willow and reads from an aeroplane love letter

Dear Potential Audience Member,

I’m an independent & self produced cabaret artist with a show happening next weekend during a hectic and very uncertain time.

TL;DR: things are scary right now but events can go ahead in SA, if you can please buy tickets to my show (and others) and support local artists.

Here in South Australia I know that I’m in an incredibly fortunate position, unlike my creative colleagues in NSW and Victoria – my show can still go ahead albeit with a reduced capacity.

I’ve been watching the wellbeing of many incredibly talented artists suffer deeply with cancellations, postponements, extended lockdowns and heightened uncertainty about the future of their work.

My show “Love at a Distance” explores different perspectives and experiences of distant love, it explores themes of inclusion, racism, mental health challenges, diaspora, and intimacy. It shares incredibly personal moments from my own long distance relationship alongside a call to better understand how we as individuals can give and receive love; how we can stay open minded and continue to provide love and care even through challenging circumstances.

We are living in uncertain times where things can change suddenly and with very little warning. Self care is incredibly important as many of us are reporting a sense of fatigue and burnout with no end to the pandemic in sight yet all the pressures of the worlds both pre and post COVID continuing on.

Yet despite all the risks and challenges, artists are still creating, sharing, producing and presenting work. We continue to try connecting with our communities, our audiences and many have done this in dynamic ways to overcome the barriers of lockdowns and closed borders.

2020 and 2021 so far have been the epitome of ‘the show must go on’.

Some of us are simply craving the rawness of live, in person shows. The energy that audiences and artists create together during a live show. But for us to do this, we need your support.

Even as a self-produced, solo performer there are many costs to cover – venue hire, APRA Licensing, marketing & promotions from printing posters to boosting FB posts. It all adds up. Now imagine how steep those costs and risks are for bigger shows who employ hundreds of creatives. None of this includes the time, energy and emotional costs that go into creating and sharing a show. Every player in the arts & entertainment industry is important, whether you’re a solo performer, a technician, producer, venue manager or part of a massive ensemble. We all contribute so much to the culture, livelihood and economy of our country. Yet there is still very little being done to provide a safety net for creative industries.

With 50% of my potential earnings involuntarily removed by the latest restrictions in South Australia there is even more pressure on me to ‘sell tickets’ to cover my costs.

Believe me, few of us are in this as independent artists to make big money. We do this work because we love to share stories and to connect with people through our chosen mediums.

Yet in the same breath I know I need to pause and also consider the impact that these changes have on audiences who are trying to navigate their own experience. Maybe they were keen to come see my show (and/or other events happening in our state) but have been impacted by these restrictions financially. Perhaps they are immune suppressed and need to be mindful of their movements. Maybe, like me, they are anxious about leaving the house unless it is absolutely necessary and feel that attending arts events could be a frivolous choice and thus they should just stay home to scroll their socials or watch re-runs on their chosen streaming platform (whose business model has only benefitted from our stay at home directives).

Believe me, I hear you.

But at this moment in time, I want to encourage you to offer support how and where you can because in South Australia we have been very fortunate and so far very safe. We are in such a privileged position where events can still go ahead, just with a few changes. But these are only worthwhile endeavors for us to offer if audiences are willing to come along.

The entertainment and events industry only works if you buy a ticket and show up.

If you are well enough to get out and support artists, please do so. If you cannot attend in person, please consider sharing a link or post about a show to encourage others to attend if possible.

If you can afford to attend shows like mine, please consider booking a ticket to do so. Refund processes have been ironed out after 18 months of navigating this strange new world so if you have $20-$30 to spare why not invest that in a local artist. Who knows? You might attend something that makes you laugh, cry, and be incredibly grateful that we can gather in person and connect through live arts experiences.

So if you can, please book a ticket for my show next weekend, or any of the other shows that are taking place at Holden Street Theatre or other fantastic local venues in SA.

Use the QR Codes, mask up in crowded locations and follow the directives that we all know well that have been keeping us safe while we live in unknown.

Here’s the link to book tickets if you’re willing and able:

With much hope, love and gratitude,
Phi aka the Ukulele Dream Girl