Since June when we announced the cancellation of the 2020 Sydney Fringe Festival we have been working tirelessly to find ways to support our community of independent artists and venues during this crisis. Now more than ever Sydney needs Sydney Fringe, and we have been working with our colleagues, community and local and State Governments to work through the myriad of issues facing our sector, to ensure that we can get back to work, and all get through to the other side.
In May we convened a working group of small-medium sized theatres to create best practice re-opening policies. This work took into account Government and industry advice and ensured that the varying business models of small venues was considered. Each venue then utilised the work to create their own unique Covid Safe Reopening Plans.
The Old 505 Theatre, where we are hosting Global Fringe this year, is a member of this working group and we have continued to work alongside them since they reopened in July refining their plan, monitoring audience feedback and adhering to Government advice.
At present The Old 505 Theatre is open with reduced capacity, working under the strict guidelines stipulated in their Covid Safe Plan. Pending any Government mandated changes these measures will be utilised for the planned in-person performances as part of Global Fringe in September.
Safety measures being taken include, but are not limited to:
- Adhering to maximum capacity quotas as per 4m2 rule
- Maintaining 1.5m social distancing in all areas of the venue
- Regular cleaning of all high touch surfaces, cleaning the full venue before and after performances, and deep cleaning the venue once a week.
- Hand sanitizer is available throughout the venue.
- Staff are utilising PPE, and are temperature checked prior to work.
- Distanced areas are marked out between seating to ensure everyone maintains social distancing when in the theatre.
- Additional POS systems so staff are not sharing equipment.
- Automated drink purchases with tickets to reduce contact time with staff and audiences.
- No door sales, pre-sales only.
- Staggered theatre entry one group at a time. To ensure groups log their contact details, sanitise their hands, have their temperature taken, are inducted into venue Covid safe protocol, and seated.
- Daily check in with audiences ahead of the performance to make sure they are well.
- Daily check in with audiences after the performance to provide resources and information on what they should do should they fall ill.
- Close monitoring of the advice of State and Federal Health Authorities to stay up to date on all changes in real time.
And of course for those not feeling comfortable attending a reduced capacity in-person event, Global Fringe will stream the best independent work from across the globe and Sydney right into your home. Giving you the opportunity to watch global and stay local. And of course should for any reason the local in-person performances not be possible come September, those works will also be beamed into your home and across the globe for all to enjoy.
We are doing everything we can to find practical solutions for our sector to work safely now and into the future. Ensuring that our venues are supported, our audiences are safe and our artists have every opportunity to return to the studio, stage or rehearsal room. Embarking into a new world takes bravery, ingenuity and expansive thinking, fortunately these are cornerstones of the independent arts world and we couldn’t be prouder of our sector and our partners as we forge new territory together.
CEO & Festival Director
The Sydney Fringe