The Show Must Go On

‘The Show Must Go On’ is the first film to tell the story of the mental health of the 42,000 people working in the Australian arts and entertainment industry. While ‘show business’ is often seen as glamorous, fun, exciting, and well paid, recent and alarming world first research from Entertainment Assist and Victoria University paints a darker picture for entertainment workers. Anxiety symptoms are 10 times higher, sleep disorders are 7 times higher and symptoms of depression are 5 times higher than the national average. Suicide attempts in the industry are double the national average.

This film follows former ‘Home and Away’ actor and debut documentary filmmaker Ben Steel on a soul-searching investigation into why are there so many arts and entertainment workers developing and struggling with mental well-being issues. Ben shares his intimate experiences living with depression and anxiety for the past few years, and along the way, we are witness to his intimate conversations with key creatives and crew, actors, dancers, musicians, performers- many of them household names – who have likewise struggled and how they have survived.

While this film may not reach and save every life, we hope it will have enough impact to at least save one, and that it will spark much needed conversations about mental health.


‘The Show Must Go On’ can be linked to the following subject areas within the Australian Curriculum: 

  • English
  • Health and Physical Education
  • The General Capabilities of ‘Ethical Understanding’ and ‘Personal and Social Capability’

‘The Show Must Go On’ can also be used as a supplementary text for the following senior school subjects: 

  • Ethics
  • Health and Human Development
  • Media Arts
  • Music
  • Performing Arts
  • Psychology

Teacher discretion and sensitivity is advised when approaching a study of this documentary, as some students may have direct personal experience with depression and other mental health issues. 

Relevant Content Descriptions for Year 9 and 10 English:

  • Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635)
  • Compare and evaluate a range of representations of individuals and groups in different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1639)
  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)

Relevant Content Descriptions for Year 9 and 10 Health and Physical Education: 

  • Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (ACPPS089)
  • Plan, implement and critique strategies to enhance health, safety and wellbeing of their communities (ACPPS096)
  • Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and wellbeing of diverse communities (ACPPS098)

An ATOM Study Guide is available here.