As the arts industry begins to gain momentum following the shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, funding from the Federal Government is beginning to materialise and restrictions on venue capacity are continuing to lift in most states.

The arts industry was immediately devastated by the shutdowns that began in March as the pandemic took hold in Australia, with Live Performance Australia calling that month for a $650 million stimulus package.

Melbourne Theatre Company’s  Torch the Place . Photo © Jeff Busby

In June the Federal Government announced a $250 million rescue package, of which $90 million was loans, including a $75 million Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund. A $60 million portion of the RISE Fund – for which guidelines for applying were not released until August – has finally started flowing to arts companies. Melbourne Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre are among the recipients who will receive grants of between $50,000 and almost $2 million.

According to the Government, 71 percent of the total funding will go to small-to-medium sized organisations, and 21 percent to organisations in regional areas. $34 million will flow to not-for-profit organisations and $26 million to commercial...