COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES
The Arts Club Theatre Company (ACTC) recognizes that rehearsals and public performances are no longer inherently safe activities. As an organization, we care deeply about the health and welfare of our patrons, performers, staff, and volunteers. As such, additional precautions are being taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Following the procedures outlined below does not guarantee an illness-free event; however, we aim to minimize the risk of infection as much as possible by adhering to these best practices.
Arriving at the Venue
Ticketholders will be given information about the ACTC’s safety measures before arriving at the venue. They will also be asked to fill out a digital declaration of fitness on the day of the performance, and those experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter any ACTC venues. Additionally, a waiver acknowledging the risk of attending an indoor public event must be signed with every ticket purchase.
Staggered entrance times will be distributed with safety information to ensure that there is sufficient space for social distancing in the venue. Lobby capacity allows 5 square meters per person (based on current public health guidelines). For example, at the Newmont Stage, the lobby has a capacity of 40 people, including staff. The audience would be divided into two groups, one arriving a half hour before the performance begins, and one arriving at the 20-minute mark. Staff will be on hand to carefully monitor lobby capacity and traffic flow into the theatre.
Upon arrival at the venue, ticketholders will be expected to line up outside. Signage (i.e. stickers placed 6 feet apart) will encourage physical distancing and reinforce what is expected of ticketholders once they are inside the venue. These signs may include a reminder to fill out a fitness declaration on our digital platform, information on our cleaning practices, warnings about potential washroom lineups, and encouragement to find and remain in your seat as quickly as possible.
Staff members stationed at the door will ask ticketholders if they have completed their fitness declaration, or be present to help them do so prior to entering the venue.
ACTC staff interacting with members of the public will wear face masks not only to reduce health risks, but also to serve as a visual reminder to the audience to take precautions. Hand sanitizer will be available for all Front of House staff.
Ticketholders will not be required to wear a mask inside the venue, but the practice is welcomed and encouraged.
In the Lobby
Ticketholders will enter through one door and exit through another. If a patron needs to leave the lobby before or during the performance, the patron must re-enter through the main door.
Once inside the lobby, ticketholders will be asked to use the provided hand sanitizer before proceeding to the washroom, theatre, or bar. The doors to the lobby will not be opened until the theatre is open.
Most of the furniture in the lobby will be removed, except for a small number of distanced seats to accommodate guests with mobility issues.
Stickers will also be placed on the ground inside to reinforce physical distancing. A “socialization station” of 3 dots, all 6 feet apart, will help remind patrons that while the ACTC encourages a warm and friendly atmosphere, patrons must socialize at a distance.
Patrons lining up for bar service must stand 6 feet apart. All beverages and snacks (if available) will be served by an ACTC staff member, and appropriate controls for the staff member will be utilized. These may include masks, plexiglass barriers (or similar), and gloves, if required.
No food or drink will be left opened and exposed to air before serving to patrons. Buffet-style finger food will be prohibited at events. Pre-poured wine requires a lid; beverages should instead be served directly to patrons.
Cash transactions will not be available. Patrons are encouraged to pay by tapping a credit or debit card.
Self-serve bussing stations will be available for patrons to deposit used glasses. Staff collecting glasses from the lobby and theatre for washing will be required to wear gloves. Glasses will be washed and disinfected to an acceptable restaurant standard.
Every other stall or urinal in the washrooms will be blocked off, and blocked stalls will be clearly marked as unavailable.
To prevent lineups in tight corridors leading to the washrooms, distancing will be enforced by a washroom attendant.
If the lobby is open for longer than a half hour, washrooms will be disinfected every half hour and immediately after the performance begins.
Air-drying stations in washrooms will be replaced with paper towel dispensers.
In the Theatre
Seating maps in the theatre will reflect a 6-foot distance between audience members, with every other row empty. Where available, seating will be allowed for groups of up to 4 patrons, provided they are from the same social “bubble.” Every seating group will have open aisle access.
Unused seats will be covered, and access to them will be limited.
The front row of the audience will be placed a minimum of 12 feet from the stage.
Until further notice, programming will typically not include an intermission; however, if an intermission is required, patrons will be asked to remain seated except for a washroom visit. Bar services will not be available after the performance has begun. Ample intermission time should be allotted to ensure safe distancing and limited washroom traffic.
While the audience is entering and exiting the theatre, doors will be left open to reduce the number of common touch surfaces. Doors should only be opened or closed by ACTC staff. Traffic flow will be managed through designated entrances and exits. In the event of an emergency, the audience can exit through all doors.
In between performances, all hard surfaces on seats in the theatre (including seat backs, drink holders, and armrests) will be wiped down and disinfected.
If an audience member requires the use of the washroom during the show, the patron may not be readmitted if the usher is unable to determine a safe way to do so without compromising the spacing of other guests.
The use of fog, haze, smoke and otherwise are prohibited, as these theatrical effects can induce coughing. If a patron is excessively coughing or sneezing during a performance, they may be asked to leave by an ACTC staff member.
All artists engaged by the ACTC must adhere to the same safe working practices followed by ACTC staff. Orientation on safe working policies will be given online before the first day of rehearsal, including filling out a digital declaration of fitness, washroom assignments, building access, distancing protocols, and other aspects of the ACTC COVID-19 Return to Work Policy.
In rehearsal halls, capacity will be based on a 12-foot radius between all performers and stage manager(s) to allow for additional distancing when deemed appropriate. Access to the rehearsal hall will be limited to only essential staff and artists, at the discretion of stage manager(s).
The stage manager(s), director, and creative team stations will be at least 6 feet away from each other, and 12 feet from performers.
Artists will be given individual water and tissue stations, and will be responsible for cleaning their own cups and other personal items. Artists will be given an individual kit of supplies that they will also be responsible for, including pencils, highlighters, and other items that may be needed throughout the rehearsal process.
Air purifying units should be purchased for use in smaller spaces.
If performers, stage managers, or creative team members must get within 6 feet of one another, it will be done with the explicit consent of all parties and written understanding of the risk involved. Rejection of such direction will not affect employment, and the right to refuse unsafe work will remain protected.
A daily meeting with the stage manager(s) and director will take place to discuss any additional risks that may be present due to blocking choices, staging, and cast call times. Company members will not be required to be on site longer than is absolutely necessary.
For the stage management’s prep weeks, and throughout the rehearsal process, necessary office supplies such as printers and a computer workstation should be set up in the rehearsal hall.
Fittings and Props
If staff are required to be closer than 6 feet to a performer to do a costume or prop fitting, they will be required to wear fabric masks and plastic face shields. Time spent in close proximity should be as limited as possible.
An effort should be made to schedule fittings in the largest available room (i.e. the rehearsal hall).
Hard surfaces and props will be wiped down between uses and on a daily basis. All props and costumes will be disinfected before entering the rehearsal hall or being put on stage.
Where possible, props and costumes should be doubled to reduce the need for sharing between performers.
Microphones and body mics will be disinfected before and after every use. If a technician is required to adjust the position or set a body mic on a performer, they will be required to wear a mask and face shield.
Green Rooms and Dressing Rooms
The use of common spaces should be limited, and time spent before a show will be limited to personal stations or dressing rooms. Similarly, stage management will remain in their office whenever possible, and the crew will remain at their technical station. If more than one rehearsal hall is being used, break times will be staggered to offset interaction in common areas.
Headsets will be utilized for distanced communication.
Dressing rooms and stations between technical/stage management areas backstage will reflect a physical distance of six feet where possible. Performers will also be given separate dressing rooms and bathrooms if possible.
Air purifiers can be used in dressing room areas if requested. Cleaning of dressing rooms, common touch areas backstage, the theatre control booth, and crew and cast bathrooms will be done on a daily basis.
Backstage and Performance
Areas in the wings where an actor or crew member prepares to come onstage or collect their props will be set up utilizing physical distancing.
Set design will consider backstage and onstage physical distancing requirements.
Hand sanitizer will be available backstage.
Entrances and exits will be divided between performers to allow for physical distancing wherever possible.
Illness of Artists and Crew
The ACTC recognizes that the importance of artists not coming to work when sick may conflict with the idea that “the show must go on.” However, performers and crew must not come to work if they are experiencing any cold- or flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, fever, or sneezing. Efforts will be taken to ensure that all cast and crew feel comfortable coming forward if they are feeling unwell. The ACTC accepts that cancelling or postponing a performance/rehearsal due to illness is a necessary and appropriate course of action.
As stated previously, the ACTC cares deeply about the health and welfare of our patrons, performers, staff, and volunteers. We strive to create as safe of a theatre experience as possible using these guidelines.