Shows must go on – under Covid rules

THEATRE fans are being assured that the shows will go on – staged in accordance with Covid guidelines.

Gadoc's production of Chicago at Beau Sejour has sold out. (30131012)
Gadoc's production of Chicago at Beau Sejour has sold out. (30131012)

While Beau Sejour Theatre is hosting Gadoc’s sold-out production of Chicago, St James is seeing three Shakespeare plays over four nights as part of the ‘Globe on Tour’ event, which is said to be close to selling out.

It was announced last week that in view of rising Covid infections, people were ‘strongly recommended’ to wear masks where they were in an enclosed environment with poor ventilation, and unable to socially distance.

Gadoc chairwoman Lisa Johnston, who is also director of Chicago, said its committee met in the wake of last week’s guidelines being issued and also spoke to Beau Sejour management.

‘Gadoc has decided very much to follow the States’ guidelines,’ she said.

‘We’re obviously liaising very closely with Beau Sejour. They said they were very happy for it to go ahead. Gadoc is taking this as seriously as anyone else.’

The group has purchased masks to be offered to audience members as they arrive and there are

bottles of hand sanitiser at the end of every other row in the auditorium.

Cast, musicians and the production team have also taken lateral flow tests.

‘Beau Sejour has assured us that their ventilation system is in line with the current guidelines,’ said Mrs Johnston.

She said about 35-40% of the audience arriving for the first night on Monday were wearing masks.

The theatre can take almost 400 people. The show’s six-night run was sold out some time ago, and Mrs Johnston had not heard of anyone returning tickets due to virus concerns.

St James sent a message to ticket holders for this week’s Globe on Tour performances.

It asked anyone with Covid symptoms to not attend and the box office would offer a credit for a future event. Ticket holders have been told they can feel free to wear a face mask.

Last night it was estimated that about 30% of the audience wore a mask.

Music Theatre Guernsey’s recent production of Let The Right One In at the German Underground Hospital took place either side of the new mask guidelines being announced. The group brought in measures for its last few performances.

In a message on its Facebook page it said that the venue was not well-ventilated and it was not possible to adequately social distance.

The message referred to the guidance on masks and the recommendation that a lateral flow test be taken before attending.

Audiences responded well, said cast member Simon De La Rue.

‘I started the second act sitting in a wheelchair on stage and staring out at the audience as they came back into the tunnel. I could see that everyone had brought a mask, as requested.

‘However, some had allowed theirs to drop down to their chin while they chatted to their friends or had their interval snacks and drinks.’

Cast members also took a LFT before each performance, and stayed away from the audience before and after the performance.

MTG producer and artistic director Darren Alderton said that cast for its forthcoming musicals show and pantomime are being asked to take tests before rehearsals, although some of them are doing more than one production and are taking tests several times a week.

‘My Thursday involves two residential home visits, and then watching Chicago. I’ll be taking three in one day.’

The company had the virus at the forefront of its planning for live events but due to it using non-standard sites, such as the underground hospital, the Victorian walled garden, and not using the balcony at St James, it has been able to provide ventilation, socially distance the audience, or change dates.

The group has been running for 18 months and despite restrictions has staged 15 performances in that time.

One event that has been called off due to concerns is a quiz night at Sylvans Sports Club which was to take place on 20 November.

Co-organiser Nigel Baudains said that the government’s advisory guidelines were ‘not very helpful’ and a lot of people were ignoring them.

‘Our events regularly attract more than 80 people,’ he said.

‘Given the size of the room there’s no chance of social distancing. The only ventilation is by opening windows and doors which is not practical in late November.’

With people talking, eating and drinking it would serve no purpose to make them wear masks since they would be more off than on.

‘It is very frustrating but we feel we are acting responsibly,’ said Mr Baudains.

  • As of yesterday lunchtime there were 202 cases in the Bailiwick, five in Alderney. 16 new cases had been found in the previous 24 hours and 23 had recovered. Five of the new cases were symptomatic. Two people are in hospital with Covid.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News