Industry leaders are developing a quality mark to be displayed in theatres and on other promotional materials, aimed at rebuilding trust among theatregoers.
It is one of a number of measures being planned to regain the confidence of theatregoers when venues are able to reopen. Staggered start times for shows are also being considered, as well as plans to work with Transport for London on helping audiences get to theatres.
The plans are being drawn up by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, which have revealed they will be creating a quality assurance mark – which it is hoped will be an official icon – to “encourage consumers that theatregoing is safe” and to show that theatre is “ready for business”.
“This will be used in promotional materials and in venue signage alongside other health and safety messaging and campaign communications to reassure audience members and encourage consumers that theatregoing is safe,” the bodies said in a briefing to inform members of ongoing plans in light of the pandemic.
SOLT and UK Theatre added that they planned to create a safety video for theatres to use, once they are able to reopen, to demonstrate how they are following guidelines, alongside what the bodies described as “ticketing principles” to allow greater flexibility for audiences.
“We are working with partners so we can reach as wide an audience as possible with our reopening campaign,” they said.
The bodies said they would be working with the sector to implement guidance from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on Covid-19 and how to open venues safely.
“We will also be focusing on the training aspect for the industry to include raising general awareness and the specific training of Covid officers,” the bodies said.
In addition, UK Theatre and SOLT are looking at staggered start times for shows, in a bid to avoid “unnecessary congestion pinch points in the immediate future”. They will “ensure that patrons are given a variety of options to enter and exit our buildings where possible”.
SOLT has also indicated it will work with TFL to provide audiences with the options available to them in reaching venues. This comes after it emerged that audiences’ fears over travelling to theatres could be one of the greatest threats to “normalised attendance”.