Audiences adhering to social distancing will be able to return to indoor theatres, music and performance venues from 1 August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced today.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with the sector on pilots of performances with socially distanced audiences that will inform final guidance for venues in the run up to August 1. These include the London Symphony Orchestra at St Luke’s, London with a variety of further events in the coming weeks.
This announcement marks the move to stage 4 of the government’s 5-stage roadmap for the return of professional performing arts. Under the new regime, audiences, performers and venues will be expected to maintain social distancing at all times.
Guidance for the performing arts, published earlier this month, also sets out further measures to support the safe return of audiences, including:
Cultural Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
"The UK’s performing arts sector is renowned across the world and I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing. From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country.
"This is a welcome step in the path to a return to normal and, coupled with our £1.57 billion rescue package, will help secure the future of this important sector."
Guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants was updated on 10 July.
Singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments in groups or in front of an audience is still currently limited to professionals only.
This guidance will be for organisations in England. Organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should adhere to the advice of the devolved administrations at all times.
This guidance will be updated as the evidence develops around singing, wind and brass instruments, and the wider public health context. The five stages of the phased return to professional performing arts is as follows: