The curtain is finally rising again, as dozens of regional theatres are back in full-swing preparing for their grand return to the stage for in-person, indoor productions.
However, the upcoming 2021-2022 season is coming to life just as COVID-19 variants continue to be an on-going cause for concern. For the protection of audiences and theatre workers, Theatre Philadelphia has developed and issued a new Audience COVID-19 Vaccine and Mask Policy for the start of the new season.
Over 30 area theatres have already joined Theatre Philadelphia in signing on to the new policy. The policy includes asking theatre audiences to be fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test. Audiences will also be required to wear masks following the current policy of the City of Philadelphia for indoor theatre performances where all audiences are not vaccinated.
Additionally, 12 area theatres have gone a step farther and will only allow patrons that are fully vaccinated. The list includes Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Theatre Exile, 11th Hour Theatre Company, 1812 Productions, Curio Theatre Company, EgoPo Classic Theater, FringeArts, The Hum’n’bards Theatre Troupe, Temple Theaters and Theatre Ariel.
For proof of vaccine, Theatre Philadelphia has partnered with Bindle app to verify vaccine and test results ahead of performances. Full details on the policy, along with an updated list of theatres, can be found online at www.theatrephiladelphia.org.
“I see this regional announcement as a big signal that theatre is back,” said Theatre Philadelphia Executive Director LaNeshe Miller-White in a statement. “We’re finally at the stage where we have season announcements and rehearsals happening. Our hope with these policies is that we can keep our sector’s doors open and produce in-person theater safely. Although still very cautiously optimistic, I am the most confident that our industry is on the upswing than I’ve been at any other point in the pandemic.”
Miller-White added, “Over 30 theatres have signed on already, and we are working with others as they organize their season and return. Theatres have come together to prioritize the safety of audiences and theater workers, as well as streamline front of house processes for both patrons and staff. We want to reopen our stages in a safe manner – and keep theatres open once they return. This is what needs to happen to protect our region’s world-class thriving arts and theatre industry.”
Audience members with a valid ticket must show proof of vaccination along with photo ID at their time of entry into the venue. There are testing exceptions to include accommodations for children under 12, people with a medical condition, or individuals with closely held religious beliefs that prevent vaccination. If unable to be vaccinated, guests must provide proof of a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time. No home tests will be accepted.