Front of House Safety Guide

Here’s a handy guide for our front of house team about safety measures and legal requirements in place during physically-distanced times. We’ve made this post public so other improvisers and groups can also use it if they find it helpful.

This guide is based on the following:

>> Hoopla’s Full Risk Assessment
>> Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s Guide for the Performing Arts

Other useful links regards safety in shows:

>> Safety guide for performers
>> Safety guide for audience

Please don’t work if you have symptoms

The safest theatre is one where there isn’t anyone with Covid there in the first place.

Therefore please remember to not come to the show if you have any of these symptoms:

  • High temperature or fever.
  • A new, continuous cough.
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Any doubts, please call Steve or Angela and we’ll find cover and you’ll still be paid as per sick leave.

Before audience or performers arrive

  • Use hand sanitiser.
  • Open outside doors to ventilate room.
  • Set air conditioners to be using external air instead of recycled air and set to correct temperature.
  • Check floor has been cleaned.
  • Hoover stage.
  • Clear stage of all excess mics, cables and mic stands and check the venue in general is clear of clutter.
  • Clean all surfaces that hands touch (chairs, tables, tech desk, box office, door handles).
  • Set audience tables with maximum distance between them, ensuring safe gaps between tables and stage and also leaving a safe gap for performers to access the stage.
  • Set chairs two chairs per table, or more if groups have booked (up to 6).
  • Ensure there are maximum of 20 chairs set out for audience (reduced from 75 while physical distancing is in place).
  • Check general safety posters are still displayed.
  • Set standing frame at stop of stairs with safety reminders.
  • Set hand sanitiser near audience entrance and at tech desk.
  • Check thermoter gun is working.
  • Set electric candles on each table.
  • Get sound and lights set up as per normal.
  • Turn promo screen on and check it is up to date.
  • Put Hoopla roll banners up.

As performers arrive

  • Use hand sanitiser again before greeting them.
  • Before each person enters please check their temperature using thermoter gun and check they don’t have any symptoms (increase in temperature, persistent cough, change or loss in taste or smell).
  • Show them around the venue and demonstrate the main stage access route and off-stage positions, and remind them not to stand at the very front of the stage.
  • Groups can rehearse in the venue before the audience arrive but have to move outside when audience arrive.
  • Please remind performers that they can no longer warm up in the little green cupboard room.
  • We have asked groups to minimise tech requests at the moment as the front of house team have so much else to do. If groups are making complicated tech requests they should have their own tech, if they don’t it’s fine to refuse to do additional tech.

As audience arrive

  • Open doors earlier than normal and earlier than advertised to stop queues forming on stairs.
  • Use hand sanitiser again before opening doors.
  • Please wear a mask when greeting audience at door (this is a legal obligation too), as people have to currently wear masks when moving around pubs until seated at tables.
  • As people arrive please check tickets (they will have on their phone), there is no need to give them paper tickets. Most shows will be pre-booked online tickets only.
  • Each audience member also has a quick at-a-distance thermometer check on their wrist (not head, that feels weird, and wrist gives same reading).
  • Ask audience without face covering to wear one until they are seated and when moving around the venue.
  • Please point them to tables and let them know they can order drinks and food on The Miller app using the information on each table.
  • Audiences arriving in groups of 6 or less can be seated together and we can move around tables and chairs to assist that.
  • Remember audience can’t be seated in groups larger than 6. We have limited group bookings on the website to 4 to be on the safe side.
  • Please ask performers and audience to move on if they are crowding around the box office area, we need to keep the area clear to stop queues forming on stairs.
  • We have to be very strict on numbers and should no exceed 18 audience members unless this is cleared with Steve and Angela, so there are unlikely to be tickets available on the door.

During the show

  • Provide sound and lights as per normal.
  • Doors to be kept ajar to assist ventilation (noise levels from outside permitting).
  • Aircon to be kept on at correct temperature and with external air flow rather than recycled to assist ventilation.

After show and in-between shows

  • Open doors and prop open to enable audience to leave smoothly without having to open doors themselves.
  • Remind them to wear masks as they move around pub.
  • Clear tables of all glasses, plates and cutlery.
  • Spray down all surfaces that hands touch (tables, chairs, door handles etc).
  • Open up outside doors wider to air room.
  • Clear away all rubbish.
  • Check there isn’t a queue or congestion occurring on the stairs.
  • Wash hands.
  • Have beer.

If there is a show on afterwards we need to check that the audience waiting for the second show aren’t in the way of the exiting audience from the first show, so we may introduce a one way system (to be tested).

Pack away hand sanitisers, thermometers, cleaning equipment and cabling at the end of the night.

Sound levels

At the moment sound levels should be at normal conversation levels to prevent audience members needing to shout to each other, about 80dB at the loudspeaker.

Face coverings

Masks must be worn (by law) when moving around the venue until seated for food and drink. We must also remind people of wearing masks about this when we greet them and also with signs.

Performers do not have to wear masks when rehearsing and performing, but after the show they should wear masks when moving around the venue.

Front of House should wear masks when greeting audience or whenever they are likely to interact with audience. They don’t have to wear masks when working as a tech running the actual show as the sound desk is deliberately physically distanced from the audience and mask may get in the way of the job.

Whenever there is interaction with audience the front of house need to wear masks, by law.

Avoiding queues and overcrowding

We need to avoid queues on the stairs, general overcrowding, and audiences from each show mingling. To help with this please be very strict with timings and please regularly catch up with Angela and Steve at Hoopla to recommend any changes to timings or general process.


You can totally still have a beer Joe.


Additional Info

>> Safety in classes

>> Safety in shows

>> Full booking flexibility

>> Improv at 2m is still fun!

>> Hoopla’s full risk assessment

>> Guidelines for our teachers

>> Guidelines for our performers

>> Government guidelines for performing arts


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