Coronavirus guidance for the performing arts and venues sector

Support provided by Scottish Government

What does this involve?

This guidance is for the performing arts and venues sector both professional and non-professional. It is for use by the performing arts and venues sector in Scotland.

It sets out expectations on what businesses and organisations of all sizes and sub-sectors need to consider as part of their planning for restart. The guidance emphasises the importance of undertaking a robust and ongoing risk based assessment with full input from trade union or workforce representatives. It also requests that all risk mitigation measures are kept under regular review so that workplaces continue to feel, and be, safe.

The guidance includes: 

  • assessing risk
  • workforce planning
  • operational guides
  • information for all those involved including performers, producers, designers and more
  • physical distancing guidelines
  • managing rehearsals
  • set design and construction, costumes, hair and make-up
  • managing audiences, participants and performances
  • ticketing and payments
  • cloakrooms and security checks 

Guidance will be reviewed on a regular basis in line with the regular three weekly review of lockdown requirements.

When two or more organisations are involved in presenting a performance e.g. a venue working with a theatre company or an orchestra, each organisation will have to interpret and implement this guidance in the way that is best for them to ensure the safety of their workforce and the public. If they have different approaches to the guidance, they need to come to a suitable agreement before they start working together. 

Not all actions will apply to all workplaces or venues but all should be carefully considered. Guidelines are grouped as follows:

  • people involved in performing, producing, designing and supporting events
  • physical distancing in the performing arts environment
  • managing audiences, participants and performances

UPDATE 9 October 2020: 

There will be additional national and local measures in place from 10 October to 2 November 2020 inclusive to reduce opportunities for the virus to spread. During this period, organised outdoor activity managed by an organisation is not permitted for performing arts activities in the central belt area. The central belt is defined as the areas covered by:

  • Ayrshire & Arran Health Board, comprising East, North, and South Ayrshire
  • Forth Valley Health Board, comprising Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, and Stirling
  • Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board, comprising Glasgow City, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, and West Dunbartonshire
  • Lanarkshire Health Board, comprising North and South Lanarkshire
  • Lothian Health Board, comprising the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, and West Lothian

What does this cost?

This is a free service. 

Who is this for?

Professionals working in the performing arts and those in formal training for associated professional careers, such as in Further and Higher Education.

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.

How long does this take?

It will take around 90 minutes to read the full guidance.

Important information

Getting in touch with your local authority (council) will be vitally important in getting restarted. 

Each local authority may have different structures and requirements. Early discussion with Licensing, Public Safety, Environmental Health and Culture teams is recommended, so you can get hold of the relevant permissions and understand your local council's priorities.

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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