The arts and entertainment sector is one that's been hardest hit in the Covid-19 pandemic with many workers employed on a casual or contract basis making them ineligible for government handouts while social distancing has made it difficult to find an audience.
Three Illawarra organisations are thankful to have scraped through dark times and can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though admit they've had to adapt quickly to get by.
Eaton Gorge Theatre Company was supposed to be in the throes of presenting the children's play Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie at various botanic gardens.
Instead, they've been holding "garage sales" of old costumes to make some quick cash and have transformed live theatre productions into short films for the web, as well as trialing live streaming.
CEO Juliet Screen said it was depressing because performers or artists "live their life to perform to people", then all of a sudden those opportunities were gone when restrictions came into play.
"I think a lot ... are performing online and all of that, but they're not getting paid, and they're not getting that buzz from performing to a live audience," she said.
"It is really hard. And it's funny, because people expect you to do it for free. They sort of have that [mentality] of 'oh well, you're having fun so just do it'. But you can't pay the bills with free."
Mrs Scrine said their landlord and bank had been "very kind" but admitted EGTC may look "very different on the other side".
They were lucky, she said, having been setup us a proprietary limited company since 2004, with some of their permanent staff able to apply for JobKeeper payments. Without it, she feared they would have had to close their doors.
"I think the small companies who weren't able to get access to funding will find it difficult to continue," the CEO said.
"I can see a light at the end of the tunnel for us, it's not total doom and gloom. There are projects that are coming up for us which is exciting, but it's still a way off."
This pandemic will force us to take a newly informed look at how we go about our daily lives and interact with one another.Michelle Forte
Austinmer Dance Theatre adapted to the turbulent times by holding classes and rehearsals at home using video conferencing, while choreography has been altered for upcoming performances to adhere to strict social distancing regulations.
Artistic director Michelle Forte is optimistic for the company's future but said there were times she feared they mightn't survive another decade.
"It's been very scary," she said. "I have had some quite emotional periods to be honest. This is our 10th year and really weird that it's happening now ... it's been very challenging, as it has been for all artists.
"As a society, I think this pandemic will change many of us and force us to take a newly informed look at how we go about our daily lives and interact with one another."
This year the youth dance company will hold virtual auditions for the first time, to produce a shortlist of candidates to join the company in 2021. Ms Forte said it would open the door for dancers Australia-wide to submit a video application, a process they would keep in the future.
"The most challenging aspect for us has been working remotely and being disconnected from each other's energy," Ms Forte said.
"[But] I believe this experience ... has presented an increase in desire to perhaps work harder than ever before."
With restrictions easing the company is committed to performances booked at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre in September. While they're working to increase sponsorship to help diversify with "live streaming" and other practices needed to weather the storm.
"We run on the smell of an oily rag almost," Ms Forte said. "[Live streaming] is something that maybe we need to look at more in the future, because who knows if this is going to become the new normal."
Award-winning community orchestra Steel City Strings has been presenting new and archived concerts online as part of their Isolation Strings fundraising project.
It has included an 11-minute arrangement of hits by hard rock band Metallica, as well as an ensemble piece recorded live from each individual musicians homes.
"It has been really hard for all our players," spokeswoman Lyndall Fowler said.
"The playing from home kept them engaged and playing, as they've had no outlets and haven't been able to get together."
Sunday will mark the final in the series with the world premier of a locally commissioned work, Dark Fire (written for the victims and survivors of summer's devastating bushfires), by the Steel City Strings quartet.
So far "generous" donations and grants the company has received have put their fundraising well above target, allowing musicians to be paid for their time as well as enlisting Wollongong's CMG Audio Visual to record and produce Sunday's concert.
"It's looking a bit grim for indoor music; we're probably going to have to look at more virtual recitals and concerts in the future," Ms Fowler said.
She added they were hopeful shows scheduled for Wollongong Town Hall later in the year would go ahead, but they were also preparing to diversify their performance offerings regardless.