Not that long ago, violinist Hannah Fang was expecting to play to a full house at Auckland's Phoenix Cabaret.
Now she is waiting for the Government's alert level review on Monday to decide whether her show Hannah Fang and Friends, scheduled for October 24, can even go ahead.
She's not holding her breath.
"I'll go crazy if I kept changing according to every alert level," she told the Herald.
"It takes time to put a performance together, to rehearse, promote it, get your crew, your equipment. I can't even rehearse now.
"Everything is up in the air."
ON HOLD BUT HOPEFUL
Covid-19 has dealt the performing arts a tough hand this year, with lockdown restrictions meaning cancellations, postponements and a persistent unpredictability that makes event planning next to impossible, performers and industry representatives say.
Alert levels 3 and 4 earlier this year effectively drew the curtain on all shows and events across the country.
In Auckland, iconic venues like the Civic, Auckland Town Hall and Bruce Mason Centre stay closed while the city is under what's known as level 2.5, or level 2 with restrictions.
But Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) got back on the boards last night with two shows featuring New Zealand works, Still Life with Chickens and Black Lover, both at the ASB Waterfront Theatre.
"They're our first performances on stage in front of a paying audience since March," said Jonathan Bielski, ATC chief executive.
The plays are running at less than half the full capacity of the theatre to stay within Covid distancing rules, with people seated at least one metre apart.
The venue is also broken up into zones, each with its own entrance, foyer, bathrooms and stairwells, to allow for audience groups of 100 or fewer that neither come into contact nor access the same spaces and touch points.
"It has been an incredibly challenging year for the industry, not being able to perform and sell tickets, meaning less or no work for people who work in the arts," Bielski said.
"But we're seeing demand for our shows, people are holding on to their tickets and people are buying tickets as well, so we are hoping for further easing of restrictions."
Organisers of upcoming festivals are similarly keeping a keen eye on alert level changes.
The Auckland Heritage Festival has more than 100 free and low-cost events scheduled to kick off at the end of September on the theme of secrets and stories of Tāmaki Makaurau.
One of them: why it wasn't until 1910 that Auckland women got their first public toilet.
Councillor Alf Filipaina said the pandemic has taught the Auckland Council events team imaginative ways to design and deliver events.
"Anzac Day commemorations were held at home in people's backyards, Matariki Festival moved to a pop-up and virtual format with smaller community-based events," he said.
The month-long food, arts and music festival Elemental AKL in October is shaping up for alert level 2, although some of its larger events can only happen under alert level 1.
"Elemental AKL was always a dispersed event taking place across the wider Auckland region," said Steve Armitage of festival organiser Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). "So the approach hasn't required much amendment."
Not so for violinist Hannah Fang, who is considering postponing her performance to January next year.
Her full house target is 230 people for her Auckland show, so the level 2 limit of 100 people won't cut it, she said.
"It's a strange time for live show performers," she said.
"Our job is to gather people, but gatherings are not allowed."