After a year without live plays, musicals and comedy due to the coronavirus pandemic, theatres are preparing to reopen their doors once more.
While venues have sporadically been able to open for short periods of time in different parts of the country, no shows have been able to run for an extended period over the past 12 months.
However, the government is set to announce on Monday (10 May) that their planned roadmap out of lockdown is going ahead next week, with the UK entering step three on Monday 17 May.
Under this stage, indoor and outdoor theatres can reopen, with groups from two households or a rule of six also able to meet inside and have “friendly, intimate contact”. However, there will be limits on how many people can attend events.
Should all go to plan, limits on social contact will be lifted on 21 June, with theatres therefore able to open beyond the limits put in place under stage three.
While we know that productions opening from 17 May will play to socially distanced audiences, capacity limits are yet to be laid out. Before lockdown was brought back in in December, theatres could operate at seating capacities of 50 per cent or 1,000 – depending on which was lower.
With these guidelines for reopening in place, many theatres have announced their programming for May and June and the safety measures they will have in place.
A number of these measures include wearing of masks in communal areas, staggered entry times, temperature checks on arrival and cleaning of venues between shows, in addition to social distancing between ticketholders.
Venues are typically only selling tickets to singular households or support bubbles up to the rule of six.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies