Outdoor festivals, plays and opera to return from Saturday

Outdoor festivals, plays and opera to return from Saturday - but 'limited and socially distanced' crowds will NOT be able to sing alongSinging and playing wind and brass instruments has been classed a

Outdoor festivals, plays and opera to return from Saturday

Outdoor festivals, plays and opera to return from Saturday - but 'limited and socially distanced' crowds will NOT be able to sing along

  • Singing and playing wind and brass instruments has been classed as 'higher risk'
  • Activities 'limited to professionals only', according to new rules laid out today
  • Audience capacity will be reduced with performers asked to socially distance
  • Small test events are being planned to accommodate for indoor performances

Outdoor festivals, plays and opera will return from Saturday - but 'limited and socially distanced' crowds will not be able to sing along.

Singing and playing wind and brass instruments, especially in groups, have been designated as 'higher risk' activities and are limited to professionals only, according to the new rules laid out today.

Audience capacity will also be reduced, with musicians, performers and conductors asked to socially distance 'wherever possible'.

Outdoor festivals, plays and opera will return from Saturday - but 'limited and socially distanced' crowds will not be able to sing along (file photo of Glastonbury crowds in 2016)

Outdoor festivals, plays and opera will return from Saturday - but 'limited and socially distanced' crowds will not be able to sing along (file photo of Glastonbury crowds in 2016)

Small test events will take place to help plan for indoor performances, but a date has not yet been given on when these productions can go ahead.

These pilots will include working with London Symphony Orchestra and the London Palladium and Butlin's holiday parks.  

Tickets for outdoor events must be purchased online and venues will be asked to use electronic ticketing to keep track of visitor information, in case they need to get in touch for the test and trace system.

The government said these new measures will allow for outdoor plays at venues such as Cornwall's Minack Theatre, opera at Glyndebourne, Sussex and London's West End to return through the Six, The Musical Drive-In.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: 'Our culture, heritage and arts are too precious to lose. That's why we're protecting venues like theatres from redevelopment if they fall on hard times.

'We are also giving further clarity on restart dates in our roadmap back to performance. 

The government said these new measures will allow for outdoor plays at venues such as Cornwall's Minack Theatre, pictured above, to return

The government said these new measures will allow for outdoor plays at venues such as Cornwall's Minack Theatre, pictured above, to return 

'From July 11 we can all enjoy performances outdoors with social distancing and we are working hard to get indoor audiences back as soon as we safely can, following pilots.'

He added: 'Our scientific research project will also help speed up this journey.

'Combined with our £1.57bn rescue package, this is a comprehensive plan to help our brilliant arts organisations weather the Covid storm and bounce back stronger.'

Housing and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick commented: 'The UK has a leading cultural industry that is the envy of the world. 

'Our theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues are one of the reasons that the country has this reputation and they are essential to our national culture. That's why we are protecting them for the enjoyment of future generations.

'Alongside the £1.57 billion investment to protect Britain's cultural, arts and heritage institutions, I am ensuring the buildings that represent these institutions can't be destroyed and are properly protected in the planning system.'

MailOnline has contacted the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for comment. 

What measures must venues and event organisers take?

The guidance details measures including online ticket booking, socially-distanced seating and stringent venue cleaning.

Performances should be scheduled to allow time for a deep clean before the next audience arrives.

A reduction in venue capacity and limited ticket sales will also help maintain social distancing, the guidance says.

Venues should also have clear social-distancing markings, especially in areas where there is queuing.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, pictured above, said the government is 'working hard to get indoor audiences back as soon as we safely can'

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, pictured above, said the government is 'working hard to get indoor audiences back as soon as we safely can'

Tickets should be purchased online and venues are encouraged to move towards e-ticketing.

Organisers must also ensure they take steps to stop audiences needing to 'unduly' raise their voices during the performance.

This includes playing music or announcements during intervals at a volume that may encourage shouting.

Venues and organisers will also be asked to ban visitors from backstage and outside the side door, preventing fans from waiting after the show to meet the star.

Venues and organisers must also take steps to stop attendees from taking part in 'close-contact' activities such as communal dancing.

What will musicians and performers need to do? 

The guidance sets out a number of additional ways in which organisers can reduce the risk of virus transmission.

Singers are encouraged to position themselves side-to-side or back-to-back and avoid singing face-to-face - even when at the required distance.

Performers, conductors and musicians must observe social distancing wherever possible.

The guidance also encourages the reduction of the number of musicians in the orchestra pit and the use of screens to separate them.

Performers will not be required to wear face coverings, but are encouraged to if possible.

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