Most of Sydney’s theatres have banded together and released a combined statement, announcing that all theatres will continue to operate with certain Covid-Safe rules in place in order to keep audiences, staff and performers safe.
These rules will be consistent across all theatre venues, and include that all visitors are required to be fully vaccinated (excluding individuals under the age of 16) through to January 31 2022. Mask wearing will also continue to be mandatory while in theatre auditoriums and indoor spaces (except when you are eating and drinking).
The statement reads: “We recognise the ongoing risk presented by Covid-19 and are committed to operating in a way that ensures the safety and wellbeing of all our stakeholders.”
“We believe as a collective of theatres operating in Sydney that consistency across theatre venues provides certainty and security to our artists, audiences, employees, partners, donors, funders, and other stakeholders that is beneficial for the sector as a whole, as well as individual theatre companies and producers, both large and small.”
The theatres that co-signed on the agreement on December 10 and are upholding these rules include: Bell Shakespeare, Belvoir St Theatre, Darlinghurst Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, Flight Path Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Hayes Theatre Co, Kings Cross Theatre, NIDA, Red Line Productions, Seymour Centre, and Sydney Theatre Company.
The Lyric Theatre, where the hit musical Hamilton is currently performing, is not part of this statement. Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this theatre, however mask-wearing is still mandatory for all patrons over 12 years of age.
The freshly reopened Theatre Royal was also not part of the joint statement, but did issue its own announcement, saying that all ticket holders for the remainder of this run of Jagged Little Pill are required to be double vaccinated (if they are over 16), wear a mask (if they are over 12) and to check-in via QR code.
As of December 15, the state government uplifted almost all existing restrictions, including mask-wearing at indoor venues, QR code check-ins at venues, and the requirement for people to be double jabbed to enter any non-essential businesses. However, this date coincided with an unprecedented surge in Covid cases in NSW, linked with the presence of the highly infectious new Omicron variant.
Without government mandates, businesses have been left to their own devices in regards to what health measures they maintain. It is encouraging to see these arts venues, which are part of one of the pandemic’s hardest hit industries, take steps to ensure that we can still go out as safely as possible. After all, all we want for Christmas is a summer without the existential dread.