The producers of Tony and Olivier award-winning musical Come From Away have announced the show will reopen to live audiences on October 20, assuming the roadmap to lifting lockdown once 70 per cent of adults over 16 are fully vaccinated remains on track. According to the NSW government’s roadmap as it stands, they’ll be able to welcome audiences back to the Capitol Theatre at 75 per cent capacity, with tickets already on sale now, through to November 28. However, the NSW government has not officially confirmed the date from which businesses can reopen, only that this date will be the first Monday after the 70 per cent vaccination target is reached.
Rodney Rigby of Newtheatricals produces the show – set in the aftermath of 9/11 when flights from across the US were diverted to a tiny Canadian community – in collaboration with Junkyard Dog Productions. In a sign of the times, they have mandated that all audience members must be able to prove they are fully vaccinated in order to enter the Capitol. He said they wanted to lead by example. “Across the world, vaccination is proving to be an effective way of getting fans safely back into the theatre and we cannot wait to welcome audiences back soon.”
The policy of all cast and crew being required to be vaccinated has been widely embraced on Broadway in New York and in London’s West End, and gives us an idea of how theatres are likely to work once they reopen. Previously, casts have protected themselves from possible infection by living in isolation bubbles. Last year the cast and crew of Disney Theatrical's Frozen – the first international production to open in Australia after the 2020 national shutdown – all went into a cast-only bubble for months when they were preparing to open, to ensure the multimillion-dollar production wouldn't be jeopardised by an outbreak amongst the cast or crew. At the time, vaccination was not an available option, but mandating the jab now means that months-long isolation bubbles are no longer a required safety measure.
As far as Rigby is concerned, it’s a no-brainer. Their responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for the show’s employees and local audiences. “We believe it’s our responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for our employees and audiences here in Australia."
Come From Away is the perfect antidote to our times, Rigby says. “It’s a beautiful, triumphant show about human kindness and resilience, and couldn’t be a better reflection of the power of community spirit shown in New South Wales over the past few months.”