COVID-19 INFORMATION

Updated August 2021

Links to national organizations for actors and designers/technicians

and sample protocol at professional theatres:

The following recommendations are based on public health guidelines and the implementation of those guidelines through industry standards in the performing arts. This includes the CDC and local health entities as well as Actors' Equity Association and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees as well as model practices at professional theatres around the country. Please note that these are guidelines in an ever-changing situation which still suffers many unknowns; all individuals returning to the Center for the Arts to participate in productions will be asked to remain flexible and diligent in maintaining best-faith efforts for the safety of all. 

 

In theatre, we're used to quick deadlines and doing what needs to be done to get a production ready on time. We encourage you not to dismiss or shortcut these guidelines for the sake of the production. A virus does not care that tech starts tomorrow. Change your mindset from "the show must go on" to "the show will only go on if all involved are kept safe and healthy.”

 

General Guidelines:

  1. The Department of Theatre Arts will adhere to the guidelines set forth by the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.  Such guidelines include for example:

    • Masks must be worn in all indoor locations, including rehearsals, regardless of vaccination status.

    • Efforts should still be made to maintain social distancing indoors even when masks are donned

    • Individuals should monitor their own symptoms closely and not come to campus if they are feeling ill

    • Please see the specific details for the above - and all - UWL guidelines here:  https://www.uwlax.edu/info/covid-19/

  2. Though our department has a culture in which students are encouraged to spend free time in the building, we still need to be cognizant of close socializing in our spaces.  This means that the following policies will be effective for the fall semester:

    • The Green Room will be open this semester.  However, students are still required to be masked, making the space better for gathering or doing homework than for eating.  

    • The strict campus visitor mandate has been lifted, but visitors to any theatre space must still be approved in advance by the appropriate faculty supervisor.   Guests will need to be masked.

    • Student meetings and gatherings are now allowed, but all participants will still need to be masked.  Consider when a virtual meeting may still be best in a particular situation.  Speak with your advisor or direct supervisor if you have questions.

  3. If you have any concerns about your safety or that of others, please always contact your advisor or direct supervisor within the department.  As is standard with any safety concern reporting, please respect the chain of command (which includes escalating to your advisor’s supervisor if needed).  

  4. Our spaces still retain some social distancing efforts; please do not rearrange furniture or remove tape without permission to do so.  

  5. If you are provided a face shield for either rehearsal or a class and need it in more than one event within the department (i.e. two classes, one class and rehearsal), you are responsible for bringing that face shield with you from one event to the next.  You will NOT be provided with more than one face shield.

 

Symptom and Illness Tracking:

  1. All individuals entering the CFA are expected to monitor themselves daily for symptoms. Do not enter the CFA if you feel sick.  

  2. If you are unable to work in the shops due to illness or quarantine, your supervisor will inform you if there are remote-working options available.  Due to the necessity of continuing our production work, it is likely that other students will be given an opportunity to work in your place.  There is no paid sick-leave for student employees. 

Main Floor Shops (Scenery, Lighting, Sound, Paint, Props):

  1. Only students signed up to work in these shops as Shop Staff, Work/Study, THA 360 or THA 110 Lab will be allowed in the Toland and shop areas during normal shop hours, with the exception of student Stage Managers.  

  2. Arriving for shop:

    • Lobby doors to the Toland are to remain locked/closed.  Please enter the stage area via the Stage Right Backstage door, and exit via the Stage Left Backstage door.  You may reenter through the SL Backstage door when returning from the restroom.

    • Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes prior to your scheduled shift.  Please be sure to exit the premises immediately following your shift.

    • Masks are required at all times, regardless of vaccination status.  

  3. During shop:

    • Please be cognizant of social distancing as much as possible.  Though our shops are once again open to lab students, we will still operate at a slightly reduced capacity in order to promote social distancing.

      • There will be times you may need or desire to work within 6’ of another individual; keeping your mask on is imperative.  Face shields will also be provided if you wish to wear one in addition to the mask.

      • Please be aware of individuals around you as you move between spaces, particularly through to the shop and in the tool room and paint sink areas.

    • All paid student workers who work four or more hours per week will be provided with a clear plastic tupperware tub (with a lid) in which to store tools and other items needed for working in the shop.  Items such as pencils, tape measures, and wrenches will be given to you to keep in your tub for the duration of the semester.  Please do not share these items.  

    • PPE will be provided as per usual:

      • Safety glasses, ear muffs and welding hoods must all be cleansed using disinfectant spray/wipes before and after each use.  

      • Disposable nitrile and latex gloves are available as needed, as well as cotton work gloves.

      • You are expected to provide your own mask, to be worn at all times.  However, nuisance Masks and N-95 Respirators are available in limited quantity, to be used in situations specifically requiring this level of protection (as opposed to homemade cloth masks, for example).  

    • We will continue the practice of wiping down shared tools daily using disinfecting wipes/spray.  It is recommended that everyone wash hands regularly and wipe down shared surfaces frequently.  

 

Costume Shop:

  1. Only students signed up to work in these shops as Shop Staff, Work/Study, THA 360 or THA 110 will be allowed in the Costume shop areas during normal shop hours, with the exception of student Stage Managers.  

  2. Arriving for shop:

    • Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes prior to your scheduled shift.  Please be sure to exit the premises immediately following your shift.

  3. During shop:

    • Please be cognizant of social distancing as much as possible.  Though our shops are once again open to lab students, we will still operate at a slightly reduced capacity in order to promote social distancing.

      • There will be times you may desire to work within 6’ of another individual; keeping your mask on is imperative.  Face shields will also be provided if you wish to wear one.

      • Please be aware of individuals around you as you move between spaces, around tables, through hallways, etc.

    • All paid student workers will be provided with a clear plastic tupperware tub (with a lid) in which to store tools and other items needed for working in the shop.  Items such as pencils, tape measures, and pins will be given to you to keep in your tub for the duration of the semester.  Please do not share these items.  

Rehearsal Guidelines:

  1. Auditions

    • Stage management will retain the digital audition forms from this past season, both to de-densify that part of the audition process and because they are very convenient!  Links to be sent out in advance of auditions and posted on the callboard.

    • Actors are asked to be mindful of distancing while waiting to enter the theatre to audition.

    • The signup process will revert to past practices, with actors typically signing up for slots on the night of the audition and not in advance

  2. Arriving for Rehearsal:  Lobby doors will remain unlocked and open.  Please be aware of others when entering/exiting through these doors in order to remain cognizant of social distance.  Please follow the following guidelines:

    • Actors should be aware of distancing when arriving at rehearsal and when congregating in the house while not onstage, regardless of vaccination status.

    • Actors may NOT sit or store items on the stairs/aisles on the sides of the house.  

    • All actors and stage management team members are required to use facial coverings at all times in rehearsal.  Students should plan to provide their own masks or to obtain one from the vending area. Actors who received a face shield for acting class may wear it in rehearsal instead of a mask ONLY with the approval of the director.  Stage management team members may also use face shields in some with advance approval by the Production Manager.  Face Shields will be provided at no cost. 

    • Both actors and stage managers should note that current public health guidelines indicate that masks are significantly more effective than face shields..

  3.  During Rehearsal:

    • Masks will be required for all rehearsals for actors, designers, and all other staff.

    • Although surface transmission is a lesser concern, continue your practice of bringing a pencil and other personal supplies to rehearsal.  Stage management will have some limited backup items. 

    • Line notes will likely remain in the Google spreadsheet version, to be sent out to actors at the end of each night they are in use.

    • All guests must be approved in advance.  Please be prepared for the strong likelihood that requests will be denied in accordance with best safety practices and University policies. This includes theatre students not working on the production as well as outside friends or family.

    • The Toland Green Room will be open this year, but actors must be masked while in the room.  Plan to use the room for waiting between scenes, running lines, or doing homework rather than eating meals or snacks that will require removing your mask.

  4. After Rehearsal:

    • As requested by your stage management team, be prepared to assist in wiping down or disinfecting props you use during the night.

  5. Stage Management

    • Stage Management can revert to the medium table for the ASMs, but should still be cognizant of distancing whenever possible.  

    • Each member of the SM team should maintain an individual kit of their office and stage management supplies in a sealed tub. At the end of the night, place your tub in the SM cabinet so that supplies are not used by classes during the day.

    • Additional protocols with regard to the sound system and SM box will be implemented as needed.

    • The stage management office is not large enough to allow work without masks.  All stage managers must wear their masks while working in the office.  Additionally, only one team (or two SMs without assistants) can be in the office at a single time.  Consider staying in Toland or using the Rehearsal Room or CFA 342 for your end-of-night meeting to share notes and questions.

  6.  Cleaning responsibilities: Stage Management teams are not expected to be responsible for a thorough cleaning of the theatre space prior to rehearsal.  If you are running into concerns, please see the Production Manager.

 

Tech Considerations

  1. Tables.  Technical teams will do their best to socially distance while working at tech tables.  

  2. Headsets.  Headsets should be assigned to individual team members and technicians for the duration of the production. Cleaning and care instructions will be provided-- this will include the proper way to conduct safe headset checks before technical rehearsals and performances.

  3. Gloves. Due to updated medical knowledge and changed CDC guidance, gloves will no longer be required for crew or ASMs.  They remain available, though, should someone wish to wear them or if the situation changes and the requirement is reinstated.

  4. ASM Setup.  Once we reach tech, each ASM will add their light and wireless headset (if in use) to their supply tubs.  Once the headset is assigned, the battery should be labeled with spike tape.  This will allow the battery to be charged overnight and returned to the same headset the next day. No headsets will be stored in the drawer of the wireless headset box once they have been assigned. 2021 note- In spite of changes in surface transmission data, this is still operable practice.

  5. Costumes, Hair, and Makeup.  Each actor will be assigned a specific area in the makeup room to prepare.  Plexiglass dividers may not be moved, and actors may not relocate without permission of the costume designer. Actors will be taught how to be largely self-sufficient with hair and makeup.  When assistance is required, the costume designer will coordinate the interaction between an actor and the assigned costume crew member to be as safe as possible.  All laundry protocols specified by the costume designer should be followed nightly.

 

Performances

  • Actors will be unmasked for performances, and will undergo COVID-19 testing.  Designers, technicians, front of house staff, and other personnel will be masked.

  • All policies for headsets, gloves, and gear established during tech rehearsals shall be maintained during performances.

  • Audiences are required to be masked in the theatre.  Additional guidance for ushers and other front of house staff are forthcoming.