Frequently Asked Questions: NSW Performing Arts COVID Support Package

<Back to the NSW Performing Arts COVID Support Package

The frequently asked questions have been compiled following feedback from the sector.

We encourage everyone to read the NSW Performing Arts COVID Support Package Guidelines.

Please note guidelines are current at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email sector.support@create.nsw.gov.au

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS – Completing the application

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS – Various types of venues / performances

What does the package contain?

The aim of this package is to provide urgent financial support to performing arts venues, producers and promoters impacted by the cancellation or postponement of performances as a direct result of the NSW Government COVID-19 Public Health Orders from 26th June 2021.

The purpose of the package is to ensure that the performing arts remain financially viable so it can continue to make its important contribution to the NSW economy.

It is recognised that the performing arts is particularly vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 and related Public Health Orders due to its financial reliance of box office sales.

The package is also designed to provide certainty to performing arts venues, producers and promoters of what assistance will be available if further COVID-19 Public Health Orders result in further cancellation of performances or restrictions in audience numbers.

How does it work?

This funding is designed to support select performing arts organisations with heavy reliance on box office income, including not-for-profit performing arts companies who were staging or scheduled to stage performances that have had to be cancelled or postponed as a direct result of current Public Health Orders.

We are encouraging venues, promoters, presenters, producers, agents and artists to submit applications.

Only ONE applicant can apply for support for the impacted performance and may be either the Venue, Producer or Promoter of the performance.

This person or entity will be the “Primary Applicant” and will be required to ensure contractual arrangements that may exist between themselves and other “Related Parties” are honoured in line with the payments made by Create NSW.

The Primary Applicant will be required to provide a Statutory Declaration that the payment arrangements have been agreed to by all eligible parties.  The Primary Applicant will also be required to remit payments to eligible Related Parties within 7 days of receipt of funding from Create NSW.

For example, if two organisations are co-producers for a performance that was forced to cancel or postpone had a contractual agreement to split box office revenue 20/80 for the event, then it would be expected that the Create NSW funding support would be split according to that contractual ratio.

What are the key dates?

Applications opened Friday 23 July 2021.

Funding will cover performances impacted by NSW Government Public Health Orders from 26th June 2021

What can the funding be used for?

This funding support package is about keeping businesses in business and people in jobs.

It is also about providing confidence and certainty for the sector so they can continue to program shows for 2021 for audiences to enjoy once it is safe to do so.

It is expected that venues and organisations supported by this package will be making payments to presenters, performers, suppliers, contractors and artists in line with existing contractual arrangements.

Who is eligible for this support?

To be eligible for funding, the applicant MUST be one of the following:

  1. An eligible venue (see Attachment A in the guidelines)
  2. A producer of an eligible performance scheduled to perform at one of the eligible venues
  3. A promoter of an eligible performance scheduled to perform at one of the eligible venues

Eligible venues have been identified through wide sector consultation, review of on-line marketing material of venues and through assessment of tickets on sale through major ticket selling agencies.

If your venue is not an eligible venue as listed in Attachment A of the guidelines, an application for consideration can be made through Create NSW.  Please refer to Attachment C of the guidelines for more information on how to apply for consideration as an eligible venue.

Eligible Performances

Eligible performances must be evidenced by marketing collateral (website, social media etc) and have ticket sales managed through one of the eligible ticketing systems listed in Attachment B of the guidelines.

The following performances are eligible under this package:

  1. Theatrical performances (including dance and musical theatre) of running times of greater than 40 minutes
  2. Music performances (including opera) of running times of greater than 30 minutes

Who is NOT eligible?

  • Film screenings at any of the eligible venues.
  • Theatrical or music performances produced or promoted by educational institutions other than those listed as eligible venues in Attachment A of the guidelines.
  • Workshops, classes, and any other educational related performances at any of the eligible venues.
  • Conventions and other corporate or private activity undertaken at the eligible venues.
  • Visual art exhibitions held at any of the eligible venues

What happens if the venue where my performance/s is held is not listed?

Eligible venues have been identified through wide sector consultation, review of on-line marketing material of venues and through assessment of tickets on sale through major ticket selling agencies. However, we acknowledge this list may not be exhaustive.

If your venue is not an eligible venue as listed in Attachment A in the guidelines an application for consideration can be made through Create NSW.  Please refer to Attachment C in the guidelines for more information on how to apply for consideration as an eligible venue.

What support is available for me if I’m not eligible under this package?

The $75 million support package forms part of the NSW Government’s broader stimulus package, and while your organisation may not be eligible under this specific fund, we encourage you to visit www.service.nsw.gov.au for the full range of support available. Individuals should visit Services Australia for information on support.

Additionally, Create NSW’s Arts and Cultural Funding Program provides funding opportunities for arts and cultural organisations, professional artists and arts/cultural workers across a wide range of artforms and disciplines. The NSW Government will invest an additional $24 million into the Arts and Cultural Funding Program over the next four years. This includes a permanent 10% increase in funding available through the competitive assessment rounds for the small to medium sector and independent artists.

Artists and organisations across NSW are now able to apply for funding through Round 1 of Create NSW’s 2021/2022 Arts and Cultural Funding Program for Annual Organisation, Project and Creative Koori categories. For more information, guidelines and to apply, visit the Arts and Cultural Funding Program page. Applications close 18 August 2021.

Is there a cap on funding?

No. The funding amount per performance will be calculated using a formula of average ticket price multiplied by the number of tickets available for sale and a specified percentage (“Agreed Percentage”) tied to the prevailing Public Health Order.

There are five possible “Agreed Percentages” that Create NSW will pay in line with Public health Orders. See funding details on page 2 of the guidelines. 

If I am successful – when will I receive payment?

Payments will be made monthly in arrears. Create NSW will notify applicants of what first payment to expect within 3 weeks of successfully applying to the funding package.

Can I apply for other NSW Government support packages?

To avoid confusion and duplication, eligible applicants should only apply for support through this package.

Create NSW will be working closely with Service NSW to ensure that all applicants receive the maximum support allowable across all available packages.

If you have already applied for support under the 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant package any amounts received will be deducted off your first payment made under this package.

What is involved in the assessment process?

Applications will be assessed using the material provided in your application.  Assessment checks will include but not be limited to:

  1. Checking of ABN and other corporate information to substantiate legal and tax status of the primary applicant.
  2. Assessment of marketing material to ensure that tickets for the performance claimed have been made available to the public.
  3. Assessment of average ticket price and total tickets available for sale are fair and reasonable.
  4. Cross check with other applications made to this package to ensure no duplication

How do I apply?

Organisations will be able to apply through SmartyGrants. For additional information on the application process, please read the Guidelines.

What evidence do I need to provide?

Eligible organisations will need to provide at a minimum evidence of performances scheduled, venues and average ticket prices. For additional information on the application process, please read the Guidelines.

Is there any further information available?

Create NSW hosted a series of webinars for the sector prior to the release of the guidelines and applications opening.

We encourage you to watch these webinars for further information.

What if I have further questions?

If you have any questions about the support package, please contact Create NSW via email at sector.suport@create.nsw.gov.au

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS – Completing the application

How do I determine venue capacity?

Venue capacity should be calculated as the maximum number of tickets that could be put on sale for your performance. In most cases this will be the seated capacity of the venue. In some cases, it will be less than the seated capacity of the venue if seats are held off-sale due to staging or other artistic decisions.

Do not use the restricted capacity figure resulting from Public Health Orders.

How do I determine average ticket price?

Most eligible performances will have a tiered pricing structure (eg Premium, A Reserve, B Reserve). Under this scenario the average ticket price will be the number of seats allocated to each price point, divided by the total number of tickets on sale.

If your eligible performance is general admission only, the average ticket price will be the advertised price of the ticket.

The application process requires the identification of a “Primary Applicant” and that related parties need to (a) agree who this applicant is, and (b) how funding will be split. Can you provide more information on this process?
For an eligible performance to occur at an eligible venue a number of related parties will have come together to agree to stage the performance.

For theatrical and classical music producers who do not have access to their own venue, the creators of the performance may have agreed to a paid fee to appear (“sold off”) or will take the box office risk themselves (“self-presenting”). Alternatively, there may be an arrangement that splits the risk of the box office between the parties (“co-produced”).

For contemporary music producers, the venue will normally offer a “door deal” – whereby the agents or promoters receive the proceeds of the box office to meet the costs of travel, accommodation, and marketing etc, with the residual distributed to the artist/s. The venue meets its own costs – including the cost of the technicians for the show from income derived for the bar. Alternatively, for live music venues, agents/promoters may agree to a “guaranteed fee” to appear, with the box office risk being taken by the venues themselves.

In each of the scenarios there is an underlying commercial assumption of how box office income will be shared be the related parties. The intent of the funding is that it mirrors this underlying commercial agreement.

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS – Various types of venues and performances

NOTE: Answers for specific genres and circumstances are provided below. Please note in all cases where funding is not available through this package there are other options available to support individuals and organisations.

Please subscribe to Create NSW eNews to keep up to date on funding opportunities and targeted support for the Arts sector.

We also encourage you to visit www.service.nsw.gov.au for the full list of NSW Government assistance available for businesses.

The Federal Government is responsible for providing support to individuals. Please visit the Services Australia website for a full list of support available. 

I am holding a Festival in August. Performances are being held in a public park with tickets on sale through an eligible ticketing system. Am I eligible for funding?

At the moment Festivals are not eligible through this package, unless the Festival is held at one of the eligible venues.

I run a themed restaurant that hires actors to entertain patrons. Am I eligible for funding under this package

Unfortunately, no. Funded activity needs to both at an eligible venue and an eligible performance.

Eligible performances are either theatrical performances of at least 40 minutes or musical performances of at least 20 minutes. Performances at eligible venues will take place on a dedicated stage.

My business receives a fee from an eligible venue to deliver curated parties that are free for patrons to attend. Am I eligible for funding under this package?

Unfortunately, no. For a performance to be eligible it needs to be ticketed and on sale to the public.

I am scheduled to perform at a private school auditorium. The tickets are on sale to the general public and this is a professional not educational performance. Am I eligible for funding?

Unfortunately, no. Educational and religious institutions not on the list of eligible venues are excluded from this package at this time.

Why isn’t my pub / club included in the list of eligible venues?

Following extensive sector consultation, eligible live music venues have been identified as those who are wholly, or very substantially in existence to deliver live music. Other pubs and clubs, while often delivering live music offerings to their patrons, do not have live music as core to its operations. This package is designed to support the performing arts, and therefore live music venues have been restricted to these peer-assessed dedicated live music spaces.

Please note that you can apply for consideration as an eligible venue. To do so, commence an application and follow the instructions provided in Attachment C of the Guidelines.

I am a not-for-profit museum / gallery – why aren’t I eligible for funding?

The business model of not-for-profit museums and galleries is different to the performing arts. The majority of income for these organisations is derived from either government funding or private sector support. These steams of income remained stable during the previous shutdown. The financial impact of the shutdown on this part of the Arts Sector is not as great as the performing arts – that is dependent on box office income.

I run a commercial gallery – why aren’t I eligible for funding?

This funding package is primarily designed to deliver broad economic stimulus. Theatres and live music venues attract large numbers of patrons into town and city centres at a particular time. Research shows that for every dollar spent on a ticket, patrons spend at least three dollars on auxiliary activity (i.e. restaurants, taxis, retail etc). The concentrations of people at a particular time and the multiplier effect of these people being in the town/city centres at the same time (in a COVID-safe way) is central to the design of this package.

Why aren’t individual artists being supported in this package?

The focus of the COVID support package is to keep businesses viable so that employment opportunities will return to normal level as soon as possible once the impact of the virus has passed.

The Federal Government is responsible for providing support to individuals. Please visit the Services Australia website for a full list of support available.

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