The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport published detailed guidance on how theatres can stay Covid-safe, while resuming live performances.
The Government requests to maintain social distancing between individuals during training, rehearsals, pre-production and performance, and the guidance covers all the stages.
The key points for performers are:
1. Providing space for performers and other attendees to be socially distanced from each other and from any audience, production team members or other individuals, wherever possible during training, rehearsal, pre-production, performance and any other form of performing arts activity.
2. Working outdoors where possible. Where this is not possible, ensuring all rehearsal, training and performance areas, with particular regard to indoor and covered areas, have adequate ventilation.
3. Organising and designing repertoire, rehearsals, training and performance to avoid situations where performers cannot socially distance, wherever feasible.
4. Reducing as far as possible any time that individuals are not able to maintain social distancing.
5. Reducing group and cast sizes where possible to maintain social distancing.
6. Adapting live performing arts to ensure they are safe. If that is not possible, consider the use of technology solutions to reduce interactions and ensure social distancing (for example for castings, rehearsals, training and performance).
7. Removing non-essential common areas such as waiting rooms.
8. Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people maintain social distance, where possible.
For creative workers:
1. To pre-build as much of the set as possible offsite
2. Screens around sound and lighting desks
3. Reconfiguring backstage to a one way system
4. Laundering costumes after used
5. Asking performers to do their own hair and makeup if possible
For managing audience and capacity:
1. Reducing site, premises or venue capacity and limiting ticket sales to a volume which ensures social distancing can be maintained.
2. Where possible, encouraging guests to purchase tickets online and to use e-ticketing. Where this is not the case, encouraging contactless payment.
3. Considering allowing guests to pre-order and collect refreshments and other retail merchandise at designated points throughout the site, premises or venue to maximise social distancing and reduce pinch points. For example, avoid selling programmes or ice-cream inside or outside the auditoria, or at points of site of ingress or egress where crowds and queues may form and make social distancing harder to observe.
4. Using space outside the site, premises or venue for queuing where available and safe. Outside queues should be managed to make sure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or additional security risks, for example by introducing queuing systems, having staff direct visitors or audience, and protecting queues from traffic by routing them behind permanent physical structures such as street furniture, bike racks, bollards or putting up barriers.
5. Providing seating in a way which ensures social distancing between individuals or groups from the same household or support bubble can be maintained
However, the Government has not yet confirmed a date for indoor theatre performances to start again.