When COVID-19 first hit Australia in March 2020, entertainer James Bustar lost all his gigs virtually overnight, as did numerous other artists. Despite feeling depressed, he struggled on, taking heart from online collaborations with other performers around the world.

James Bustar

But when Sydney went into the current lockdown he felt he needed to do more; to try and find a way to tell the world about the crisis artists are facing. He decided to create a video in which members of the arts community could talk about the devastating impact the global pandemic has had – and continues to have – on their careers and mental health.

In the emotionally-charged 11-minute video that resulted, 30 entertainers talk of bookings drying up, incomes cut to zero, being forced to rely on parents for survival, the lack of understanding of the gig economy, struggling with loneliness, depression and a debilitating lack of purpose, and frustration at the lack of support for the arts, while so many sporting events are given exemptions to go ahead.

“I made the video because...