Bristol Old Vic plans special socially distanced performances

Last Updated on 20 July 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

Bristol Old Vic has announced plans for measures after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions including special socially distanced performances

Bristol Old Vic
Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic has come up with a way to support theatre-goers anxious about rising Covid-19 cases: special socially distanced performances.

For each of its autumn/winter productions, it has pledged to offer two performances each week that will be guaranteed to be socially distanced, catering for vulnerable members of the public or those who need to keep extra precautions in place.

These socially distanced performances will also require mandatory mask-wearing, whatever happens to other rules in the theatre or in society at large.

Bristol Old Vic has been operating at less than 50% capacity in its auditorium since theatres were able to begin presenting shows in May, with strict safety measures in place.

The theatre will also continue to film all its signature productions for streaming or live broadcast for audiences who feel safer watching at home.

Theatre staff will continue to wear face coverings, and it is recommenced that audiences — wherever they can – continue to wear face coverings too while respecting others’ personal space and not attending if they have Covid-19 symptoms. Additional cleaning will stay in place, with ventilation set at the highest level. Staff will take lateral-flow tests three times a week.

The theatre will also continue to offer no-questions-asked exchange or credit on tickets if audience members no longer feel comfortable attending.

Bristol Old Vic’s executive director, Charlotte Geeves, said yesterday: “Today’s announcement of the end to restrictions in England means theatres can remove all social distancing measures and sell productions at full capacity for the first time since March 2020.

“However, public confidence varies widely. Some people are rushing through the doors, keen to sit side-by-side in a buzzing auditorium, while others are feeling more cautious.

“This theatre belongs to everyone so we wanted to make sure everyone has the opportunity to return to the theatre in their own time and in a way that feels right to them.

We want to reassure everyone who visits us that, as the latest information comes from Public Health England, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on how things develop and will adapt accordingly. Our top priority is keeping people safe.”

The theatre is already advertising which performances will be guaranteed socially distanced until the end of March 2022, starting with Giles Terera’s The Meaning of Zong running from 11 September to 2 October. They are scheduled for various evening and matinee performances.

About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.