Stage Singers, Dancers, Directors & Choreographers Get COVID “Playbook” For Return – Deadline

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The American Guild of Musical Artists and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society on Wednesday issued a detailed “playbook” for the safe return to work for opera and choral singers, ballet and modern dancers, choreographers, stage directors and theater staff.

In a joint statement, the unions said their playbook (read it here) “presents a step-by-step approach to reopening built on five levels linked to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community and allows for increasing activities based on clear criteria. The key is ensuring proper space and ventilation for the activity involved, augmented by a foundation of consistent and thorough hygiene practices and regular testing.”

The unions developed the playbook in collaboration with medical experts Dr. Mark Cunningham-Hill, Dr. Steven J. Anderson, and Dr. Laura S. Welch. COVID-19, Dr. Cunningham-Hill said, “poses particular risks for the performing arts and a science and data driven approach is required to bring performances back that are safe for all involved. Collaborating with AGMA and SDC has allowed us to provide a common message so everyone understands the part they play in achieving that goal.”

“From the onset of this life-changing pandemic, the economic security, health, and safety of our members have been top of mind,” said AGMA national executive director Len Egert, who noted that the playbook is designed to “address the unique risks of singing, dancing, stage managing, choreographing, and directing. Our Playbook was initially intended as an internal tool for AGMA and SDC, but we are happy to make it widely available to the industry at large, because we are all in this together.”

Said Laura Penn, executive director of the SDC: “Ensuring a safe return to work is now at the forefront of our work even as we continue to navigate the devastating impact of the pandemic on our members and the industry at large. The forced closure of performance spaces across the country led us to this collaborative effort with AGMA and our medical experts and the result is this Playbook. It has already proved invaluable in working with employers and in educating our members about what getting back to work safely will look like. We will continue to support the memberships of SDC and AGMA with refinements to the Playbook as new information comes to light.”

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