Theatre News

Social distancing rules for singers altered following Covid transmission studies

Singers can now perform closer to one another than before!

A singer with a microphone in their left hand
A singer with a microphone in their left hand

Specific guidance around singing during the pandemic has been updated following last week's published results into the transmission of coronavirus.

The results of new testing conducted by two Universities (and backed by the DCMS) found that singing and talking had the same impact on the aerosol spread of Covid particles – in effect meaning that singing is no riskier than talking for infecting others. Shouting and belting were up to 30 times riskier, the tests showed.

As mentioned by the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden last week, this now means that performance guidance will be adjusted. While before, those on stage were advised to abide by extended social distancing (if face-to-face, actors should be three metres apart) that rule has now been altered to mean actors can sing face-to-face with the "one-metre-plus" rule – meaning they should stand a minimum of one metre from one another, but further if feasible. Shows are expected not to encourage performers to belt and instead use further amplification if necessary.

The news has been welcomed by many across the arts industry including the Society of London Theatre, who highlighted how greater flexibility would now be available for those staging shows. Rules have also been changed for brass instrument players, meaning brass secitons do not need to be further away from other orchestra members.

The first fully-staged indoor musical, Sleepless, started performances last night in Wembley, with a variety of venues now revealing plans for productions.