How DMV theaters are strategizing for reopening

Despite uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, some venues are moving forward with reopening plans

With the fall season and following seasons still only tentatively planned, arts organizations are taking the time to focus on a reopening strategy that makes the most sense for their staff, performers, and community. Of course, The Actor’s Equity Association has its own rules for a safe reopening that will need to be followed. But the exact details are currently left up to the management of each venue—at least, until a consensus is reached about the general viability of plans to open anytime in the near future. The following list reflects current statements released by DMV arts organizations. This list was first published June 26, 2020, and has been continuously updated as information comes in. The most recent update was made at 9 PM on June 25.

ASC has announced its Summer 2020 “SafeStart” programming—an integrated approach to live and digital theater that will offer two productions performed under a carefully developed series of mitigation protocols designed to keep actors, staff, and audiences safe.

SafeStart, ASC’s evolving program of coronavirus prevention mediations, has been carefully formulated in consultation with an advisory group of medical experts and local officials familiar with the region and with ASC’s facilities.  The plan focuses first on establishing a safe workplace environment for rehearsals, production, and administration and then proceeds to create a safe gathering place for audiences.  The ASC SafeStart Visitor’s Guide is available for viewing here on the company’s website.

Highlights of ASC SafeStart include:

  • Two weeks of virtual rehearsals and intentional self-quarantining of the performance company for the duration of the performance season

  • Significantly reduced occupancy in all venues and workspaces

  • Universal masking for all audiences and non-performing staff and volunteers

  • Enhanced hygiene at all facilities and for all individuals

  • Socially-distanced seating, contactless ticketing and merchandise purchasing, and the elimination of concessions and programs

“ASC SafeStart is a series of layered mitigations that, taken collectively, represent an iterative and evolving response to how we will live, and work, in the age of coronavirus,” states Managing Director Amy Wratchford. “The plans are designed to make it safe for our actors, our staff, and our audiences to create and experience live theater again, as well as share the community connection inherent in ASC productions that we’ve dearly missed during this time of isolation.”


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