Considerations during lockdown
Theatres Trust encourages theatre operators to consider the building management and security of their theatres during this uncertain duration of closure.
Assurity Consulting has put together a series of COVID-19 contingency planning white papers covering:
- General health and safety considerations for workplaces
- Fire safety considerations for workplaces
- Managing air systems and services
The government has published advice relating to construction work, which you should look at if your theatre is undergoing or planning a capital project.
Ticketholders are entitled to a full refund for cancelled events and you should process this promptly. If the cashflow impact of this could be critical for your organisation then you may wish to call ticketholders and ask if they would be willing to convert their refund into a donation to the theatre. Be considerate and understand that some audience members will be anxious about their own access to money at the moment and could require that refund.
While events are cancelled there is still work to be done. Can your staff continue to work from home? Do you require additional IT equipment to enable home working. Arts Council England has some useful digital resources including online fundraising and tips on homeworking.
Remember that some employees may be stressed and anxious and you should consider the mental health aspects of this situation. The Theatre Helpline is free, independent and open to everyone working in the theatre industry - call 0800 915 4617 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Implement enhanced hygiene procedures to protect any staff or volunteers still coming into your premises. Ensure your sinks have soap available and encourage regular handwashing.
Consider the impact that your closure may have on staff and freelancers. If your building or people could usefully support the local community perhaps you could repurpose some existing roles to this new purpose. Arts Council England and Creative Scotland have announced details of funds to support creative freelancers who have work cancelled in this period, but you could consider whether other work is possible.
Some members of your community may begin to feel lonely, particularly older people and disabled people who could be concerned about the impact of the coronavirus. Remaining in contact with your audiences will be vital so that you can reopen following any closure with the confidence and loyalty of audiences intact.
If you have creative work to share consider if it can be disseminated in a different way. The infrastructure for live streaming may not be possible but you could consider recording and broadcasting at a later date. Miracle Theatre has guidance on recording performance and the rights implication is available.