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Outdoor performances with social distancing can resume

Performing arts can now take place outdoors from 11 July with a socially distanced audience present. This means that outdoor theatres, opera, dance and music can resume from Saturday so long as they take place outside and with a limited and socially distanced audience.

According to The Events Industry Forum Guidance that was approved by DCMS, the range of outdoor events now permitted includes:

  • Air Shows
  • Agricultural Shows (including town and country shows)
  • Carnivals, Fun fairs, fetes, steam rallies and Community Fairs
  • Car boot sales
  • Circuses
  • Display and Performing Arts including Street Art Events
  • Firework Displays
  • Flower Shows and Gardening Events
  • Historical re-enactment events
  • Literature Fairs / festivals
  • Pet and Animal Shows
  • Some music concerts (see below)
  • Outdoor theatres and performing arts

The Government will also work with the sector to pilot a number of small indoor performances with a social distanced audience to help inform plans about how best to get indoor venues back up and running.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working alongside sector bodies including UK Theatre, the Association of British Orchestras and the Musicians’ Union to identify suitable pilots.

A change in planning rules will also mean theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues will be protected from demolition or change of use by developers, stopping those that have been made temporarily vacant during lockdown disappearing altogether and giving extra security to these businesses as they start to re-open.

New guidance has been published by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport.

The guidance follows the government’s five-stage roadmap outlining how we will get audiences back into performing arts venues. It provides advice on all aspects of performance, from casting, sound and lighting, costume and fitting, to cloakrooms, orchestra pits, hair and make-up.

The guidance makes clear that the following measures should be considered to allow for safe resumption of performances:

  • A reduction in venue capacity and limited ticket sales to ensure social distancing can be maintained
  • All tickets must be purchased online and venues are encouraged to move towards e-ticketing for help with track and trace
  • Venues should have clearly communicated social distancing marking in place in areas where queues form and adopt a limited entry approach *. Increased deep cleaning of auditoriums
  • Performances should be scheduled to allow sufficient time to undertake deep cleaning before the next audience arrives
  • Singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments in groups or in front of an audience is limited to professionals only
  • Performers, conductors, musicians must observe social distancing wherever possible

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