Theatre News

Government issues guidance for live events including strong recommendation that audiences wear facemasks

The guidance was released yesterday ahead of England’s 19 July step

Her Majesty's Theatre
Her Majesty's Theatre
© Matthias Nonnenmacher / CC BY-SA (

The UK government has issued further guidance for live events as venues prepare to stage performances at full capacity.

While there are different dates for reopening across the devolved nations, in England theatres will be able to host non-socially-distanced spectators from 19 July. SOLT and UK Theatre has already outlined some initial guidance, which this largely echoes. SOLT and UK Theatre will also update their "See It Safely" guidance to boost audience confidence.

There are six key actions that venues must adhere to when allowing audiences into spaces. Though social distancing is no longer enforced, the government has strongly encouraged the continued use of face coverings inside venues. (We've put this bit in bold because we think it's pretty important).

Venues are advised to complete risk assessments that involve identifying risks and mitigations – with organisations advised that staff should continue to wear face coverings when working in close contact settings.

Theatres should do all that is necessary to provide adequate ventilation in spaces – either naturally or mechanically through fans and ducts. Theatres can use CO2 monitors to see if there are areas that are poorly ventilated.

Those with Covid symptoms are to be turned away from venues, with locations also told to maintain a much more regular cleaning schedule. Greater training for staff is also advised, and that all measures are communicated to audiences before and during live events.

Though not mandatory, venues are encouraged to maintain the NHS "Check In" system to help track and trace possible infections.

The government has also recommended venues introduce the NHS Covid Pass – which, through proof of testing or vaccination, can show that individuals are less at risk of transmission or infection. There are a lot of question marks around this pass right now, but the government will reportedly announce more soon.