Congratulations Ed McCarthy! (again)

Our own Ed McCarthy has received his fifth Emmy nomination!  Ed was part of the lighting team for the 73rd Annual Tony Awards.  The team’s work has been nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special.  Ed’s previous nominations were for lighting of the Tony Awards in 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019.  Congratulations, Ed!

Broadway Closed for the Rest of the Year

Many of us have suspected it, but it’s now official – Broadway will not reopen in 2020. The press release says that, “The Broadway League announced today that Broadway performances in New York City will be suspended through the remainder of 2020 due to COVID-19.”

“The Broadway experience can be deeply personal but it is also, crucially, communal,” said Chairman of the Board of The Broadway League Thomas Schumacher.  “The alchemy of 1000 strangers bonding into a single audience fueling each performer on stage and behind the scenes will be possible again when Broadway theatres can safely host full houses.  Every single member of our community is eager to get back to work sharing stories that inspire our audience through the transformative power of a shared live experience.  The safety of our cast, crew, orchestra and audience is our highest priority and we look forward to returning to our stages only when it’s safe to do so. One thing is for sure, when we return we will be stronger and more needed than ever.”

You can read the full press release here.

London’s Earliest Playhouse Rediscovered

Archaeologists believe they have found the remains the earliest purpose-built playhouse in Britain. The Red Lion is believed to have been built around 1567 and is thought to be the first purpose-built theatre of the Elizabethan era but its location has long been disputed but archaeologists are as certain as they can be that they have found its remains at a site in the East End of London.

Here are links to two stories.
BBC News
The Guardian

Equity Announces Principles to Support Safe and Healthy Productions

On May 26th, Actors’ Equity Association, usually just referred to as Equity, the union for theatre actors and stage managers across the country, recently announced that theater in America should not resume until there is fast, reliable testing for the novel coronavirus and widespread contact tracing.

Equity has hired Dr. David Michaels, former head of OSHA during the Obama Administration, to assist them with developing a list of conditions under which its members will return to work.

They are beginning with four  core principles.  “These four principles are the foundation for our continued work with Dr. Michaels,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “We intend to build out protocols that can be used by our employers and all of our colleagues to insure that everyone who works in the theatre has the safest workplace possible.” The four principles are:  

  1. The epidemic must be under control, with effective testing, few new cases in the area and contact tracing. 
  2. Individuals who may be infectious can be readily identified and isolated, with frequent, regular and accurate testing with speedy results. 
  3. The way we audition, rehearse, perform and stage manage may need to change and the venues we work in may need to undergo changes in order to reduce the risk.   
  4. Efforts to control COVID-19 exposure must be collaborative, involving Equity members, employers, the union and all others involved in the production of theatre. There must be collective buy-in and ongoing evaluation and improvement of health and safety practices. 

You can read the press announcement on the Equity web site and an article in New York Times.  An additional article in the Times talks to theatre owners and producers about when they expect to reopen.  Unfortunately, most of them don’t see theatres being able to reopen this year in a way that is both responsible and profitable.

Performing Arts COVID-19 Resources

Over the past couple of months, many organizations have written white papers and/or set up web pages on the impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts, reopening, bringing audiences back and more.  I thought it would be helpful to bring them together into one post.  So, here are summaries and links to some of the better resources.  I hope at least one is helpful to you.  Obviously newer information will be the most relevant, but the older information is still very useful.

If you know of other useful resources, please let me know.  I’ll update this page as I learn of additional information.

Let’s start with the basics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a home page for COVID-19 information.

Second, keeping the PAC clean and safe.  What can PACs do and what are employers required to do? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a web page outlining the basic Hierarchy of Controls from most effective to least effective.  The page notes that “Controlling exposures to occupational hazards is the fundamental method of protecting workers. Traditionally, a hierarchy of controls has been used as a means of determining how to implement feasible and effective control solutions.”  Here’s the key graphic:

Similarly, the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 contains recommendations and descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards that employers must comply with.

The CDC has information on Cleaning and Disinfecting Facilities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a list of products that meet their criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The American Institute of Architects’ Re-occupancy Assessment Tool V1.0 was published on May 6th.  The document isn’t specific to theatres but provides information and checklists for a whole-building approach to mitigation strategies.

You may have heard  that UV-C can kill the virus.  The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has a few resources regarding UV-C disinfection.

Ten Facts about UV Radiation and COVID-19 

Germicidal Ultraviolet FAQ 

Third, what about the organization itself?  The National Endowment for the Arts has a great list of COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations.

The Event Safety Alliance published The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide on May 11th.  Like the IAAPA guide, this is comprehensive and, I think, a little more relevant to performing arts venues.

AMS Analytics has published a 2nd draft edition of Guide to Reopening Theatrical Venues on May 15th under the banner of The Performing Arts Center Consortium.  The guide is well written and has clear tables describing aspects of a PAC, Phases of reopening and safety and mitigation actions to take at each phase.

AMS Analytics also published The Long Runway to Return: The Role of Anchor Cultural Institutions, which urges major institutions to focus on their mission as they adapt to new artistic and financial realties.

Shugoll Research published Coronavirus Theatre Survey: National Sample of Theatregoers on May 11th.  The results aren’t surprising and include statistics such 63% of theatregoesrs are likely to wait a few months before returning to the theatre.

IAAPA published COVID-19 Reopening Guidance: Considerations for the Global Attractions Industry on May 1st .  It is a comprehensive paper on general considerations as well as considerations for specific elements of a venue such as food service, offices, and backstage spaces.

Other Resources:

Handwashing (World Health Organization)

Physical Distancing (CDC)

Face Masks / Face Coverings (CDC)

Cloth Face Coverings (CDC)

Coronavirus Symptoms (CDC)

Gensler has a blog with posts related to how companies and architectural design may need to change in response to COVID-19