The UK government is rolling out stage four of its five-stage roadmap to bringing back performing arts in the country. Under the new regime, audiences, performers and venues are expected to maintain the mandated distance at all times.
The UK government has publishedguidance
on its website.
To endures distances can be maintained, venue's are required to limit their capacities accordingly. Tickets will be purchased online and venues encouraged to use e-tickets to reduce contact and help with tracking visitors down in case authorities want to reconstruct a chain of infection.
To indicate appropriate distances to their visitors, venue operators should have markings in place in areas where queues form. The UK government also recommends venue adopt a limited entry approach, and increase the deep cleaning of auditoriums.
"Performances should be scheduled to allow sufficient time to undertake deep cleaning before the next audience arrives," the guidelines state, creating a challenge for promoters and venue operators, who are used to short turaround times for load in and load out.
Needless to say, distancing rules are in place for performers, conductors, musicians as well, which may cause problems for theater performances especially.
BBC arts editor Will Gompertz reported, that it made "no financial sense for many venues to open with social distancing rules in place; theatre budgets tend to be based on a breakeven of around 70% capacity. If social distancing measures mean a theatre can only run at 20-25% capacity, the producer cannot afford to put the show on."
This chimes with the stance the UK's Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has been emphasizing since May, when it pointed out that that government-enforced restrictions on business capacity and physical distancing would render certain business models unviable.
Stage five of the UK's plan to bring preforming arts back will allow venue operators to increase their indoor capacities, however, it remains to be seen when stage five will be rolled out.
The government also laid out its roadmap for the return of business events and conferences, which will be permitted to resume from Oct 1, provided rates of infection remain at current levels.
The International Festival Forum (IFF), which takes place in London each year, is therefore launching an online edition dubbediFF
, Sept. 2-3.
It would have been the sixth edition, which usually gathers festival bookers and agents in the heart of London's Camden district in early autumn, in order to facilitate conversations about the following year’s festival line-ups.
“We’ve left the decision as late as possible, but with ongoing restrictions around Covid-19 in place taking IFF online this year was the only option,” said ILMC head and IFF co-founder Greg Parmley.
The upside: IFF is an invite-only event thatusually sells out in advance
, but the online version iFF doesn't face those limitations, which means professionals from around the world can congregate in larger numbers.
The iFF conference program will cover the international festival scene, from artist development and the roles of agents to sector recovery ideas and new income streams.
The organizers have also found a way to host IFF's networking lounge and targeted speedmeetings online.
The UK government just pledged a £1.57 billion ($1.96 billion) rescue fund for cultural businesses including museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues. The industries are currently awaiting clarity on the money's distribution.