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The Abbey Theatre and Covid-19: FAQs

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Curtain Up!Company of Ten
Five Kinds of SilenceCompany of Ten
G&S GemsSt Albans Chamber Opera
Private LivesCompany of Ten
The Femmes Festive ConcertThe Femmes
The BorrowersCompany of Ten


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What extra measures do you have in place?

Our theatre has been awarded See It Safely status in a national scheme administered by UK Theatre. You can find more details of the scheme’s current guidelines here: https://officiallondontheatre.com/see-it-safely.

We will continue with our enhanced cleaning regime. Touch points will be sanitised before, during and after each performance and all public areas will be thoroughly cleaned between each performance.

In the Main Theatre, in line with government Covid-19 guidelines, the auditorium ventilation system has been reconfigured so that, during performances, the majority of the air used to heat or cool the auditorium is drawn directly as fresh air from outside, rather than being partially recirculated.

In the Studio, during performances, the Studio ventilation system continuously removes stale air and replaces it with filtered fresh air drawn in from outside.

On arrival, we encourage you to wear a face covering unless you are exempt from doing so.

There are hand sanitiser dispensers in the front of house area and the NHS QR code is available to scan.

We strongly recommend advance booking and use of e-tickets to avoid queues at the Box Office. Audience members may show their e-tickets to stewards either on their phone or via a print-out if that’s easier.

No latecomers will be admitted to the performance.

We will be operating a cashless bar wherever possible. Ice creams may also be ordered and paid for by card, but at the moment, you will need cash at the coffee counter.

In the Main Theatre, every row is on sale, but there will be one seat blocked from sale between each group.  In the Studio, seats will be set out to allow 1m between each group.

For Company of Ten productions in September and October, there will be one socially-distanced performance available on the middle Thursday of the run. In the Main Theatre, alternate rows will be on sale and in the Studio, some seats will be blocked from sale. In both venues, customers will be required to wear face coverings as a condition of ticket sale for this performance.

The performers, stage crew and all Abbey Theatre front of house staff will follow social distancing and hygiene protocols. Our front of house staff will be wearing transparent face shields in the foyer to accommodate all our customers.

Will I be sitting in the seats that I’ve chosen on the plan?

Yes. If you have booked for the Main Theatre, you will be sitting in the seats you chose on the seating plan when you booked. If there are any issues or reasons for us to change your seat(s) we will get in touch to discuss this prior to your visit but please be assured that it’s unlikely we will have to do this.

If you have booked tickets for the Studio, seats will be laid out to allow for 1m distance between groups and must not be moved by customers on the night.  If you need assistance with seating arrangements, please speak to the House Manager on arrival.

What happens on the day?

It is still strongly recommended that all audience members wear face coverings when attending an indoor venue, except when actually eating or drinking. This is to protect you and others. Government advice around wearing face coverings may change, so please check our website before your visit. Current scientific advice remains that the greatest risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus and other respiratory infections is via aerosol particles, so face coverings are the easiest way to keep yourself and others safe.

Please arrive in good time. The doors will open half an hour before the start of the performance. At the theatre entrance, the steward will have a seating list available. The NHS QR code will be available to scan. Please follow the directions of the front of house staff. You may be asked to wait until we can seat you safely.

If there is an interval, you may now buy and consume drinks in the foyer as well as taking them back to your seat. Please observe appropriate social distancing for your own safety and that of others.

At the end of the show, please follow the directions of the stewards to exit the theatre. If the bar is able to open afterwards, you are more than welcome to enjoy a socially-distanced post-show drink.

Will the cast be socially distancing in rehearsals and performances?

Everyone takes stringent precautions to maintain hygiene and ensure safety. All our actors and technical crew members have been asked to take lateral flow tests twice a week, to sanitise their hands regularly and to maintain appropriate social distance as far as possible.

During performances, actors have their own dressing rooms, or share with one other person to allow for appropriate social distancing. Ventilation has been improved by the installation of extractor fans. Once allocated and sanitised, the dressing rooms and any costumes and personal props are the responsibility of each actor.

Please subscribe to our e-newsletter to get the latest information.

How will the backstage and technical crew be socially distancing?

The Backstage crew comprises Stage Manager, Deputy and/or Assistant Stage Manager/s, Props and Wardrobe. Crew members are encouraged to wear face coverings if possible.

During performances, personal props and costumes are the responsibility of each actor.

The Technical team comprises Sound and Lighting. There is a Perspex screen and an efficient ventilation system if more than one person is in the control room.  In the Studio there are two separate control rooms.

What happens if the show cannot go ahead?

We will be operating under government advice, so if the performance is not able to go ahead, we will issue full refunds to all bookers. If you are in a position to make a donation or take credit for future productions, this would be much appreciated.

If we find that we are unable to go ahead with the performance, we will contact you as soon as possible via email. Please make sure that we have your most up-to-date contact information, so you don’t miss anything.

What will happen if I book tickets but then have to self-isolate or have symptoms?

If you have to self-isolate or have symptoms immediately prior to the date of your booking, we will refund your tickets. You must not attend the theatre. Please email or call to let us know and we will issue a direct refund.

Can I sit with friends?

Each booking will be separated from the next by one seat, so if you want to sit with friends, please make one booking. The limit of 6 people per booking no longer applies. 

I am coming on my own. Can I buy a single ticket?

Of course! You can do this via the website as usual.

I am in a wheelchair. How will this affect my booking?

Our wheelchair space can be booked by phone on 01727 857861.  Your companion may sit next to you as usual.

Can I order a drink?

Yes. Our bar has been operating within current guidelines and it will be open before the performance and at the interval (if there is one) for you to purchase drinks and snacks. Please wait in the socially-distanced queue to place your order and pay by card. The bar staff will tell you how to collect your order at the interval.

Can I buy a programme?

We plan to start producing paper programmes from September.

Will your toilets be open?

Yes, our toilets will be open before, during and after your visit to us. Please use hand sanitiser before entering the toilet area, and observe social distancing measures – we will be operating a one in / one out system with a maximum of two people in the facilities.

To avoid congestion, toilets will remain open throughout the performance and audience members will be permitted to leave the theatre and re-enter at any point.

How should I travel to the theatre?

You may travel to us however you wish but, if possible, we would advise using private transport. The car parks near to the theatre are open, and there are no parking charges after 6.30pm. Please note that there is still a COVID test centre in the car park closest to the theatre, but if you require blue badge parking, please speak to the car park attendant on duty.

If you are coming by public transport please wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) and sanitise your hands on arrival at the theatre. There is a bicycle rack outside the leisure centre next door if you are cycling.

How often do you clean the foyer and toilets?

Throughout the lockdown we had a strict cleaning schedule in place for our theatre and this will continue for the foreseeable future. All high-traffic touch points are wiped down with anti-viral spray on a regular basis and will continue to be cleaned in this way.

Front of house surfaces are wiped down with anti-viral spray before opening, before and after the interval (if applicable) and after each performance.

Toilets are cleaned regularly and especially before and after every performance.

We have a full risk assessment which will be available in the venue.

I have a question that you haven’t answered. How can I ask it?

No problem! Just email us on boxoffice@abbeytheatre.org.uk and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.