Detailed guidance on how theatres can stay Covid-safe while making work and resuming live performance has been published by the government.
The extensive advice covers all stages of the theatremaking process, including training, casting, rehearsal and performance.
It also spans creative departments including set design, sound and lighting, stage management and backstage, the orchestra pit, costumes and hair and make-up.
The publication of the guidance for the performing arts industry follows news that outdoor performances are allowed to resume from July 11.
However, the government has not yet confirmed a date for when indoor performances will be able to resume, which is when the majority of the guidance will be relevant.
Some of the key points for training, rehearsing and pre-production include:
- Rehearsing outdoors where possible or ensuring rehearsal spaces have adequate ventilation.
- Reducing group and cast sizes where possible to maintain social distancing.
- Observing extended social distancing of three metres between singers and between wind and brass players where possible.
- Keeping a record of staff shift patterns for 21 days to assist the NHS Test and Trace system.
- Encouraging self-tapes for auditions where possible.
- Encouraging actors to learn lines in advance or displaying scripts on screens to avoid handling of scripts.
For creatives and backstage workers:
- Pre-building as much of the set as possible off site.
- Creating a screen around the sound and lighting desks.
- Reconfiguring backstage to introduce a one-way system.
- Laundering costumes between each use and covering in plastic after cleaning.
- Asking performers to do their own hair and make-up where possible.
Advice for managing performances includes guidance on audiences, staging and capacity, ticketing and payments, cloakrooms, food and drink purchases and toilets.
Some of the key points include:
- Maintaining social distancing between audience members who do not live together.
- Encouraging patrons to purchase tickets online or to use contactless payment.
- Frequent cleaning of cloakrooms.
- Using screens to create a physical barrier between staff and customers at concessions points.
- Designating staff to manage queues of people.
Read the full government guidance for the performing arts here.