Shakespeare’s Globe in London has announced an easing of Covid rules including the return of standing tickets alongside continuing safety measures
The easing of Covid restrictions has led Shakespeare’s Globe to bring back standing tickets for “groundlings” from the end of July.
The £5 standing tickets are now on sale for performances from 29 July 2021, when its production of Twelfth Night opens. Initially, there will be only 200 of these tickets available per performance to allow for social distancing to continue but it is expected to be up to 400 by the end of August.
After the Globe building reopened for outdoor live performances in May, it brought in chairs for the open space around the stage which can normally accommodate up to 700 “groundlings”. The Globe looks forward to returning to this capacity “at a future date”.
Seating capacity will also gradually increase throughout the summer with spaces between groups sat on the same row remaining until mid-August. The open-air theatre has laid out plans to be back to full seated capacity 23 August. The maximum capacity of the Globe is normally 1,600 including groundlings.
All Globe staff will continue to wear a face covering and audiences are encouraged to do the same, particularly when moving from their seat. Enhanced cleaning, hand-sanitiser stations, contactless ticketing, and modified routes and arrival points to avoid overcrowding will all remain.
Neil Constable, CEO of Shakespeare’s Globe, said: “We are very happy to be welcoming back groundling standing audiences into the yard once more. Being in the open air and watching the action on stage as a groundling is a unique experience that many of our audiences have greatly missed over the past year.
Although the Government rules have relaxed, we will continue to maintain many of our Covid-19 safety procedures to ensure we keep our activities running and our staff and audiences as safe as possible.
“We remain cautiously optimistic that the systems we have in place will continue to safeguard our productions and the future of Shakespeare’s Globe. With increased audiences, our income will hopefully be at levels to help recover some of our significant losses.”
Artistic director Michelle Terry added: “The very thing that theatre thrives on is the one thing that Covid denied us: the live, alchemical relationship between play, actor, audience, space and time. It has been beyond incredible to have opened our doors to live theatre again.
“The beating heart of that space is the unique and ultra-live relationship between actor and groundling, standing together and ready for action. Well, we’re all ready. And we can’t wait.”
Yesterday, the piazza and on-site facilities including the Globe shop reopened to audiences before the theatre doors open. Restrictions on booking party sizes were lifted and temperature checks and check-in via the NHS app is no longer mandatory.
The Globe is also maintaining its “Book with Confidence and Exchange with Ease” pledge, allowing exchanges up to 24 hours ahead of a performance if a ticket holder cannot attend due to Covid-19 related issues.
The Swan at the Globe, the bar and restaurant, is now open at full-seating capacity.
Twelfth Night runs from 29 September to 30 October, with Shona Babayemi as Olivia, Peter Bourke as Antonio, Rachel Hannah Clarke as Curio, Bryan Dick as Orsino, Victoria Elliott as Feste, George Fouracres as Aguecheek, Nadine Higgin as Sir Toby Belch, NadiKemp-Sayfi as Maria, Ciaran O’Brien as Sebastian, Sophie Russell as Malvolio, Michelle Terry as Viola and Jacoba Williams as Fabian. It is playing alongside The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.