Stage Door News

New York: American Actors’ Equity Association issues new guidelines for producing theatre

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

As the COVID-19 public health crisis continues, Actors’ Equity Association has released new guidelines for producing theatre in the future. The four core principals were created in collaboration with Dr. David Michaels, former head of Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The guidelines are:

  • • The epidemic must be under control, with effective testing, few new cases in the area, and contact tracing. 
  • Individuals who may be infectious can be readily identified and isolated, with frequent, regular, and accurate testing with speedy results. 
  • • Audition, rehearsals, performance spaces, and venues may need to undergo changes in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
  • Efforts to control COVID-19 exposure must be collaborative, involving Equity members, employers, the union, and all others involved in the production of theatre. 
  • There must be collective buy-in and ongoing evaluation and improvement of health and safety practices.

“These four principles are the foundation for our continued work with Dr. Michaels,” said Mary McColl, executive director of AEA. “We intend to build out protocols that can be used by our employers and all of our colleagues to ensure that everyone who works in the theatre has the safest workplace possible.”

Last month, AEA released a statement concerning reports of theatres looking to begin production as early as May 6. The union, which represents over 50,000 actors and stage managers, made it clear that theatres should not resume production while it was unsafe to do so. Read the full statement here.