Performers Safety Guide

From 19th July 2021 there are no legal restrictions on our classes or shows, however some of our covid safety measures will be staying in place and others will be gradually phased out rather than being removed all at once. This is so we can keep improv fun while also keeping safety in classes and shows. We will also be able to adjust month by month and rollback changes if needed.

We recommend groups also do their own research and complete their own risk assessment. The final decisions on what safety measures are in place on stage during your show are down to each performing group. Hoopla is providing guidance and links to further information, but each group will need to do their own risk assessment and make their own decisions regards on-stage safety measures.

This guide is based on the following:

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

The overall aim is to make sure Hoopla’s shows are safe while still being fun, friendly and playful!

Please don’t come if you have symptoms (still in place after 19th July 2021)

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 don’t come! There will be other shows!

If you start to feel ill during the show it’s also ok to just leave mid-show.

To help this we will also be doing at-a-distance temperature checks and asking you about symptoms on on arrival.

If you hear of anyone at the venue having covid:

Please immediately phone Steve Roe at Hoopla.

Things to do on arrival

  • Use hand sanitiser on the front door. (still in place after 19th July 2021)
  • Go upstairs to the venue and say hello to the Front of House manager. (still in place after 19th July 2021)
  • Front of House will do a symptom check and at-a-distance temperature check with you. (removed after 19th July 2021)
  • Front of House will guide your team through the physical spacing in place and other safety measures. (removed after 19th July 2021)
  • Rehearse your on and off stage positions, and also route to enter stage before audience arrive. (still in place after 19th July 2021)
  • Please don’t enter the upstairs venue and start rehearsing without talking to the front of house manager first. (still in place after 19th July 2021)
  • Please stop rehearsals when asked to do so by Front of House manager so they can allow audience in safely. (still in place after 19th July 2021)

Distancing on stage (gradually phased out after 19th July 2021)

Government advice was previously 1 metre +. This means 2 metre distancing where possible but if not possible 1 metre distancing with extra (+) precautions and for a shorter time. From 19th July 2021 this restriction has been removed and distancing on stage is down to each performing group.

Reduced numbers of people in show (gradually phased out after 19th July 2021)

We recommend keeping your group size below six for now.

Comedy clubs and theatres are actually exempt from the rule of 6 as long as audience aren’t booked or seated in groups of six or more, and the limit on gatherings also does not apply to professionals taking place in performing arts activity. However we personally advise that there are only 6 people or fewer per group to be on the safe side.

If your group is more than 6 people we recommend instead splitting the group in two and performing as two separate teams (known as working groups in DCMS guidelines) over your time slot without interaction between each group. The exception to this in our particular venue could be a group of 6 plus an additional off-stage musician, as the musician tends to be seated off stage in a different area.

Improvisers shouldn’t perform in more than one group per night, so no guest playing from one group on another.

Reduced numbers of people on stage (gradually phased out after 19th July 2021)

For our venue 4 is probably the maximum number people that should be on the actual stage for a scene or game, with others off stage, but feel free to practice when you arrive and see what works with distancing for your show.

We advise most games and scenes to be 1-3 people to be on the safe side and make distancing easier, instead of whole group games and scenes.

Face coverings (removed after 19th July 2021)

Performers are exempt from wearing face coverings in rehearsals and shows. People are also exempt from wearing them when eating or drinking.

Face coverings should however be worn at all other points whilst in a venue.

Off stage positioning during show (unchanged)

We’ve done a massive tidy in the venue, and there are a lot less audience seats too, so there is more off stage space for you to stands in-between scenes so you can keep a safe physical distance.

Please be aware of audience as well as other cast members when off-stage.

Audience interaction and distancing (restrictions gradually phased out after 19th July 2021)

It’s totally OK to chat to the audience and get suggestions like before, but we can’t get audience volunteers on stage at the moment. We should also minimise chanting, shouting and singing along as per DCMS guidelines.

Please also keep distance from audience when performing, off-stage and waiting to go on.

Performance on stage only (restrictions gradually phased out after 19th July 2021)

The audience seating is arranged to keep physical distancing in place between audience and between audience and performers, so at the moment we can only perform on stage and shouldn’t take scenes off stage and into or behind the audience.

The only exception to this are musicians who we may place off-stage.

Stage entry and exit (still in place after 19th July 2021)

We’ve left much larger space than before around the stage and a clear route around the audience, please check and practice on arrival. Please ask our Front of House manager if you are not sure.

Waiting to go on (still in place after 19th July 2021)

We have factored in cast members into our physical spacing with the audience, so on most nights it will be possible to sit in the audience area if your group on later in the evening.

Please don’t crowd the back of the venue and please respect the audience distancing.

Warm up and pre-show rehearsal

Before the audience arrive it will be possible to warm up on the stage. Once the doors are opening please stop warm up and please don’t ask for extra time, as our Front of House managers already have a lot to do with people arriving.

It is now possible to warm up in the back cupboard room, but it is small so please check in with your cast about risk. Many groups instead warm up in the park next door.

Singing and vocal volume (restrictions removed after 19th July 2021)

This is allowed again but there is a higher aerosol risk as compared to normal conversation.

Current DCMS guidelines are that singing should be a normal volume, not overly belted out, as louder volumes increase the aerosol risk. Also when singing extra care should be taken to keep at 2m distancing, and ideally we shouldn’t sing face to face.

It is also advised to avoid overly shouting dialogue.

Edits and tags (restrictions removed after 19th July 2021)

Sweep edits should still work but tags could be replaced by an audible tag instead, for instance “we cut to the bar tender on holiday in Ibiza”.

Handwashing (still in place after 19th July 2021)

There are hand sanitisers and washing facilities throughout the pub, please use on arrival and before and after shows. If anything is faulty please let one of the bar staff know and it will be immediately replaced.

Box office area (still in place after 19th July 2021)

Please don’t wait around the box office area as audience are arriving. We need to keep the space clear so people can come in and out smoothly.

Tech requests (still in place after 19th July 2021)

We are running at vastly reduced capacity and running shows at a financial loss. Our front of house managers will already be working hard with cleaning and managing audience spacing. We don’t have the resources at the moment to accept complicated tech requests. So lighting will be provided but please no technical cues unless you are bringing your own experienced tech to help out.

Props, costumes, bags (still in place after 19th July 2021)

We need to keep everything super tidy and clean. So there will be no overnight storage for things anymore and everything for your show should be taken away at the end of the night. Anything left in the venue will be recycled at the end of the night with no exceptions.

Please clean any props or anything else you bring for your show.

After show socialising (all restrictions removed after 19th July 2021)

After the show and in the pub the rule of six still legally applies to performers and audience and we can’t make exceptions to performers.

So it will be seated in groups of up to 6 after the show.

Please remember this is a legal thing at the moment, not just a guideline.

Yes it will feel odd to not have a drink with everyone you were sharing a show with, but these times won’t last forever!


Additional Info

>> Safety in classes

>> Safety in shows

>> Booking flexibility

>> Improv at 1m+ is still fun!

>> Guidelines for our teachers

>> Guidelines for our performers

>> Guidelines for our front of house

>> Hoopla’s full risk assessment

>> Government guidelines for performing arts



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