COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on live performance worldwide. Though digital technologies have made a world of entertainment accessible, they cannot replace the experience of seeing a show live. 

There is magic and possibility when people gather to be entertained, challenged, moved, transported or uplifted by a story told in real time, through sound and movement. By its very nature, live performance is ephemeral. But its impact can be long-lasting.  

A person stands in an empty darkened theatre, illuminated by a single light bulb.
Daniel James Boud, Ange Sullivan, Head of Lighting, Preparing a Ghost Light at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 2020, nla.obj-2976573618, Courtesy Daniel James Boud

On Stage shines a spotlight on Australia’s performing arts history, through the National Library’s extensive performing arts collections, and looks forward to the return of better days.