Every arts organization around the world is currently navigating the new and uncertain world of how to operate safely during the pandemic, but different sectors experience their own unique challenges.

This Electric City Culture Council (EC3) Bulletin will focus specifically on the Performing Arts.  The challenges are great for music, theatre, and dance right now, being a sector that largely relies on mass gatherings.  Venues and presenters are trying to figure out how to keep artists, staff, and audiences safe, while still being able to present work live.

This Bulletin gathers reopening resources from across the internet, including government regulations, advice from industry associations and arts services organizations, and real-world examples of the performing arts organizations that are finding a way to open their doors. Click on the links below to explore the resources.  These resources are also available through EC3’s COVID-19 Updates page, and we will conitue to provide updates as they arrive.

In the coming weeks, EC3 will also be running a webinar with Peterborough Public Health on health and safety for live performance.  See the bottom of this Bulletin for details, and watch for a full announcement coming soon.

Please also see our previous Bulletin, “Door Open? Will They Come Back? When? How? Guides and Advice for Reopening Arts and Culture Organizations,” for more general advice and resources about reopening.

And if you have any other resources that you have found useful, please forward them to EC3 and we will share them around.

The Government of Ontario has released extensive documents on preventing COVID-19 in the workplace.  You can also dive into the actual Ontario legislation with Rules for Areas in Stage 3, the official law relating to Stage 3 reopening.  Section 11 ‘Performing arts’ is particularly relevant.  

Locally, Peterborough Public Health has put together an excellent page, Reopening Safely: Guidance for Workplaces & Retail.  This collects lots of resources, including general advice and sector-specific resources, including, notably, a section on Live Shows, Performing Arts and Movie Theatres.

The Government of Canada offers advice on Risk mitigation tool for gatherings and events operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also see the World Health Organization’s advice for large event organizers, which many national service organizations that we checked in with have been sharing around.

The Event Safety Alliance has published an extensive Reopening Guide covering everything event and venue professionals need to consider.  

The Performing Arts Center Consortium has published an extensive Guide to Reopening Theatrical Venues (PDF).

The Public Services Health & Safety Association has published lots of sector-specific guidance for COVID-19 health and safety, including Health and Safety Guidance During COVID-19 For Entertainment, Museum and Gallery Employers.  

Ontario workplace safety not-for-proft Workplace Safety & Prevention Services also has a number of guidance documents, including Guidance on Health and Safety for Television Film and Live Performance Sector During COVID-19 (PDF) and Outdoor Recreation and Drive-in/Drive-Thru Entertainment Settings During COVID-19 (PDF).

BC arts and entertainment health and safety association ActSafe Safety Alliance has put together an excellent list of COVID-19 Resources for the Arts and Entertainment.

The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) has a long list of Online Industry Resources, such as the research paper The Long Runway to Return: The Role of Anchor Cultural Institutions.

During the pandemic, CAPACOA and Ontario Presents have joined forces to create a shared document, Coronavirus Response for the Live Performance Sector, including a wide variety of resources for people and organizations in the performing arts.  The document is still being updated on a very regular basis.

The Canadian Association for the Performing Arts (CAPACOA) held a webinar (now available as a recording) titled A Clean Slate for Reopening about public safety and reopening.

Chorus Connections discusses What Community Chorus Leaders Should be Doing Right Now, which also includes a link to download their document, A Season Planning Guide Amidst COVID-19.  Lots of useful advice for anyone planning their upcoming performance season.

Performing arts consultants Charcoal Blue have an excellent article, Performance Buildings in a Post-Pandemic World.  It was published early in the pandemic, but looks at real-world data from past pandemics and offers excellent advice about how to make performance venues work post-COVID.

We are starting to see a few examples across the country of performing arts attempting to put frameworks in place and reopen their doors.  The Orillia Opera House held its first show on August 19 – read their Health and Safety Protocols (PDF).  The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharine’s is also holding outdoor events now – read their Public Safety Gudelines document.

Ontario Presents has a growing collection of Reopening Plans from various Ontario performing arts venues.

Take a look at the Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Pandemic Plan, which the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) has made available online for free.

EC3 is working with Peterborough Public Health’s Public Health Promoter Keith Beecoft to host a webinar for artists and arts organizations on health and safety for live performance venues and facilities.  

To get the ball rolling, Keith recommends taking a look at the Government of Ontario’s Rules for Areas in Stage 3, the official law relating to Stage 3 reopening; and in particular Section 11, ‘Performing arts.’

This webinar will take place in the next few weeks – watch EC3’s social media and future Bulletins for a full announcement.