Coronavirus guidance for the performing arts and venues sector

Support provided by Scottish Government

What does this involve?

The Scottish Government has published guidance for the performing arts and venues sectors in Scotland, both professional and non-professional, to help them restart and continue to operate safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The guidance is intended for businesses and organisations of all sizes and sub-sectors, with advice on how to continually assess risk and review the measures in place to protect performers, staff and audiences.

Guidance is included both for when performing arts venues are open to the public for attendance at a live performance, and for when they are closed to the public but can be used for broadcasting, recording, and to rehearse or otherwise prepare for reopening.

Topics covered include: 

  • the current situation and laws in Scotland
  • permitted venue capacities at each local protection level
  • assessing risk
  • workforce planning, including:
    • Test and Protect
    • vaccination
    • shielding
    • worker health and wellbeing
    • equalities
    • outbreak management
  • health and safety measures, including cleaning and hygiene, face coverings, ventilation, temperature checks, shift patterns and other operational guidance
  • fixed teams, work cohorts or 'work bubbles'
  • advice for non-professionals gathering for performing arts activities
  • physical distancing in performing arts environments
  • advice for professionals involved in performing, producing, designing and supporting events, including:
    • managing rehearsals, training, pre-production and performance
    • set design and construction
    • dance, singing, shouting and physical activity
    • playing music and orchestra pits
    • casting and auditions
    • sound and lighting
    • stage management and back-stage
    • costumes, concert dress, hair and make-up
    • handling props, musical instruments, technical equipment and other objects
    • managing broadcast performance without a live audience
    • managing front of house and back of house during a performance
    • creative learning for school age children
    • private tuition
    • travel
    • communications and training
  • managing audiences, participants and performances, including
    • staging and capacity
    • ticketing and payments
    • cloakrooms and security checks
    • seating arrangements and common areas, including toilets
    • collecting customer details
    • food, drink, retail and hospitality
    • contractors and other visitors
    • communicating guidance and compliance

This guidance extends until further notice but will be updated in line with ongoing public health guidance.

What does this cost?

This is a free service.

Who is this for?

This guidance is intended for:

  • professionals working in the performing arts
  • individuals in formal training for associated professional careers, such as in further and higher education
  • non-professionals (meaning those participating in performing arts other than for work purposes), or groups which include non-professionals

Venues covered include:

  • concert halls
  • theatres
  • comedy clubs
  • any other venues which:
    • normally open at night
    • have a dance floor or other space for dancing or spectating by members of the public
    • provide music, whether live or recorded 

How long does this take?

It will take around 2 hours to read the full guidance.

Important information

This guidance can be used for training, rehearsal, recording, broadcast, pre-production, creative-learning related activities and performances without an audience.

These activities can take place in theatres and concert halls.

If you're planning an outdoor performance, you should also refer to the events guidance for additional information.

Each local protection level in Scotland has different rules around arts performances, audience capacity and venue opening. Check your local protection level to see what is currently permitted.

This guidance extends until further notice but will be updated in line with ongoing public health guidance. 

Next steps

Visit the Scottish Government website for more information and to read the full guidance.

Support provided by Scottish Government

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