Since 2005 Brand X has been on a mission to convert Sydney’s disused and vacant spaces into creative havens. Their collection of subsidised spaces gives artists the chance to rehearse, record, perform and build their creative enterprises, but due to Covid-19, all Brand X venues and programs were forced to shut down.

“We lost customers and haven’t made income for three months now. It almost destroyed us, but thanks to some generous donations and subsidies from government, we live to fight another day,” Brand X founder James Winter told Urban Village.

“It’s been a weird experience for the arts community. People tried the pivot to digital but desperately missed the physical and visceral engagement with colleagues and their audience. Online just doesn’t cut it.”

Thankfully, on the 15thJune Brand X reopened the doors of their St Leonards studio spaces, with East Sydney Community and Arts Centre in Darlinghurst and Tempe Jets Rehearsal Space opening imminently.

James predicts that all venues, including their popular Flying Nun theatre program, will be back up and running by September.Restarting now is critical if we are to expect live shows by the end of the year.

“This is a fast-moving beast. Last fortnight it was all looking very dire. Now venues are preparing to open, reprogram their activity and implement Covid-19 Safety Plans. Opening safely and quickly is the most important thing right now.”

Even as the creative industries have taken a significant hit and the future still looks uncertain, James maintains optimism.

“I think recovery will happen faster than we think,if we don’t have a second outbreak. Audiences are hungry for culture, more so than before Covid, and I cannot wait to see what artists do with this new voice.

”The reopening of creative spaces is the first step on the long road to rebuilding our creative sector. Finally the wheels of progress are in motion.

To get involved or donate to help Brand X keep the show going, visit their website.