arts during a pandemic

COVID safety for arts performances

At Greengage, we take the health and safety of all performers and crew very seriously.

One of Greengage's founding aims was to create online opportunities for paid work for performers and people in the performing arts industry. During a global pandemic, this aim comes with its own set of challenges...

From March to June, our shows were fully online and remote. There was zero contact. Since July, we've moved to a hybrid model that sometimes involves in-person shoots. 

To make sure all our shoots are COVID-safe, we have a risk assessment process that covers all performers, the crew and the venue. To learn more, watch the video below.

Before our first in-person shoot, we did a lot of research.

Our main sources include the Health and Safety Executive's guidance on risk assessments for keeping workplaces safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and UK government guidelines for the performing arts as well as TV and film production.

In collaboration with Stand Together Music, we also consulted medical and scientific reports and experts in the music world to understand what to do regarding spacing of musicians, where it applied in our shoots. You can read a summary of the research here.

We assess the risk of COVID transmission as part of shoot planning.

COVID safety is a big area of focus whenever we are planning a performance that involves an in-person shoot. Every performance is different, so we always start from our basic guidelines (tailored to what we do) and go from there.
We're passionate about making fantastic shows, and most performances -- whether they're theatre, music or spoken word -- haven't historically involved having to wear masks or prevent people getting too close to each other.

To make sure we aren't compromising the artistic vision or integrity of the production, our directors and producers work very closely together (usually over Zoom) to make sure we keep the production front of mind while we minimise any risks of illness. This is often a challenge! But it can be done.

First we assess the venue, the size of the shoot (how many people are involved, both performers and crew), and the types of interaction that we think will exist between performers and crew members.

Once we've mapped out these things, we work with the venue and director(s) to highlight any potential risks and take steps to mitigate them.
In a venue, this can involve marking out one-way systems, making sure ventilation is good enough, blocking off specific areas to prevent congregation in tight spaces, or ensuring there is frequent cleaning of surfaces likely to be touched by several people: door handles, bathrooms and surfaces in reception areas for example.

We also require all of our performers and crew (and anyone else who will be present at the shoot) to undertake an individual health risk assessment.

The aim of this is to make sure they are thinking about any risks they may be taking, and so that Greengage can take any necessary actions to protect them and anyone around them on the day. We enforce social distancing in all of our shoots, and mask-wearing indoors.
We require performers and crew to complete and return their individual health risk assessment forms before the day of the shoot, and to inform us in advance if anything changes, or if they become ill. We also circulate information about what types of safety measures each person needs to take, and what each person needs to do. This can include bringing their own mask and bottle of water, and taking breaks between takes so that we can re-ventilate the space properly.

On the shoot itself, we remind people to stick to the safety measures and provide back-up where it's needed.

We always have extra face masks, antiseptic gel, wipes and bottles of water in the magical kit bag...

And after the shoot, we make sure to check in with everyone 14 days later to make sure they're still healthy.

oUR PROCESS

How we make performances as safe as possible

2-3 weeks before:
COVID-19 risk assessment

Before every shoot, we complete a COVID-19 risk assessment that covers the venue and team

1 week before:
Individual health risk form

All performers and crew must complete and return a form before the shoot.

Prepare the venue so it is COVID-safe

We liaise with the venue to arrange cleaning before and during the shoot, mark out distances etc

Day of the shoot:
Reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19

We wear masks, use hand sanitiser and enforce social distancing

Maintain social distancing for all performers and crew

We adhere to government guidance and have also compiled research from experts across Europe

2 weeks after the shoot: checking in

We check in with everyone who was involved on the day to make sure they're still healthy

Got questions?
If you have any questions about COVID safety or Greengage's approach to performances, please email us at hello@greengageventures.com.