Friday 4 December, 2020

Theatre production crews limited to 40 or less in COVID-19 guidelines

Backstage production crews for plays and other theatrical performances must be limited to 40 people or less, according to new COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.

The Ministry issued the new guidelines ahead of the re-opening of the country’s national performances spaces including Queen’s Hall, which re-opened July 1, the Naparima Bowl and the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), which re-opens July 6, and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts which re-opens from August 3, 2020.

These performance spaces refer to the nation’s premier National Performance Space (NPS) including:

  • The National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA)
  • The Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA)
  • The Naparima Bowl
  • Queens Hall,
  • As well as the large number of community facilities (CFs) ie
  • Community Centres
  • Civic Centres
  • Regional Complexes
  • Modernised Community Centre/Faciities
  • Activity Centres
  • Homework Centres.

Here’s an overview of the guidelines; for the full document see here:

Production crews limited to 40 people or less

In order to ensure adequate distancing and safety for production crews, cast and crew numbers must be limited to 40 or less.

‘To effectively practice social distancing, producers will be required to have no more than 40 persons in their production inclusive of cast, crew, directors, designers etc.’

The start times and end times of the various teams including their lunch breaks would be staggered to ensure that group sizes do not cross the threshold mandated by the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry said six feet must be maintained among staff members, including scenes involving monologues, scenes with two actors, ensemble plays and vocal ensembles, which are limited to 15 singers.

Producers must stagger call times, lunch and break periods and ensure frequent handwashing and sanitisation practices.

The number of cast and crew must be limited to essential personnel only, with allowances for remote working where possible.

Additionally, producers must have a COVID-19 safety kit at all times, for the sanitising and safety of their respective casts and crews.

Safety Kits should include all latex gloves, disinfectant/antibacterial or alcohol wipes, antibacterial liquid hand soap, face masks, hand sanitizer, paper towels and paper tissues.

Seating reduced by 30 percent

Due to a need for six-feet distancing, there will be reduced seating capacity at performance halls as follows:

Main Theatre

SAPA - 259 seats

NAPA - 350 seats

Queens Hall - 266 seats

Naparima Bowl - 220 seats

The Ministry said seats can also be reserved to cater to elders, high risk patrons and persons with disabilities will be catered via the ticketing process

Seats will be booked beforehand with seat numbers to ensure seats are appropriately distanced.

Face masks and temperature screening

The Ministry advised cast and crew should all wear facemasks on entering the compound and all equipment, stage props, scenery and costumes must be sanitised.

Additionally, all members of the production team ‘will undergo a temperature screen utilising a temperature-monitoring device and will be asked to respond to few brief questions about their contacts and possible exposure to COVID-19’.

Anyone displaying a temperature over 37.5’C (99.5’F) or other flu-like symptoms will be denied entry and directed to appropriate medical care.

The Producer is responsible for ensuring that all cast members are in good health.

In the event that a cast member presents with flu like symptoms or a high temperature, that member would not be allowed to perform.

In the event that illness of cast or other members results in the need for cancellation of a show, the producer will be offered an alternative date as a first option.

Production staff are also urged to take fresh air breaks every two to three hours when wearing masks.

No congregating, cafeterias will be closed

The Ministry also advised patrons against congregating in the lobbies before, during or after performances, and that the sale of food items in NAPA and SAPA would not be permitted.

There would also be no cocktail reception in the lobby and patrons would be urged to follow the appropriate signage and wash their hands upon entry.

Patrons who feel ill or have a high temperature would not be allowed entry and would be directed to a health centre for assistance.

For the full guidelines see here:

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