Eastern Angles is now looking to find ways to mount its Christmas show, based on the assumption that we will at least be down to Level 2 of the five-tier coronavirus alert system announced this week. Planning has involved a web of considerations from re-organising our space and theatre to accommodate the social distancing, exploring cabaret style tables with family bookings, and using different entrance, exits, and shorter shows with no interval to avoid the inevitable half time queues!
However, the real difficulty will be around the cast - this is the tricky bit! If anyone shows symptoms during any time, we could be stumped, facing h an immediate two week lockdown at least. Some of this will be dependent on the current state of play when we decide to go ahead and sign contracts – that dependence, assuming there is still no vaccine, will have to include government guidance and take into account box-office sales, level of infections, levels of testing availability etc.
Prior to this, we are currently exploring how auditions might happen?
Possibly they could be done online, or we should we go for people we already know. Are people allowed to declare their states of immunity, if known? Will immunity passports become a reality?
In terms of rehearsals – how much distancing will be required? Will it make the show artistically sterile? will we need a Perspex screen in front of the stage?
But perhaps the most controversial aspect will be around the behaviour and freedoms of the cast members themselves. We are 70 miles from London and most of our cast usually do a weekly commute from there to stay in digs – but will people want actors staying in their houses? Will cast be allowed to go back to London every weekend? Do we put all actors up in a single location? Do we just use local actors or those who already live together?
Whatever happens the future of touring in at least the mid-term will look very different and present a completely new set of challenges in addition to the many that already face the independent sector.
ITC are very keen for other members to contribute their experiences and concerns about the future of touring and producing. Please do email us your responses and join us for the upcoming ITC Members zoom Meetings and panel discussions about the issues facing our independent sector.