A group of 14 theaters in Greater Boston will now require audiences to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to be admitted for in-person productions, and masks must also be worn.
American Repertory Theater, The Huntington and Central Square Theater are among the organizations that will now operate under these guidelines. The joint decision was reached based on key findings from an audience outlook survey that found almost 80% of people would be more likely to attend an indoor event with proof of vaccination.
Conducted by ArtsBoston and independent consultant WolfBrown, the survey went out approximately every two months to 2,000 audience members starting last spring. ArtsBoston executive director Catherine Peterson says that “as arts organizations are reopening for indoor performances, they have been thinking about and working really hard about what is going to make audiences feel comfortable and welcome coming back in their doors.”
This policy will be implemented immediately and will last until at least Oct. 31. However, policies surrounding COVID-19 have been ever-changing as the delta variant spreads. “We are all prepared to be responding to the needs of the community in the best way possible,” Peterson says. “The Boston arts community has been very, very thoughtful and collegial, thinking about the best ways to make the arts available to people who really need that nourishment and that excitement and the joy that a live arts experience brings. So I think people are going to be nimble in looking at what’s the best way to proceed for the rest of the fall and the rest of the coming season.”
Peterson adds that messaging is key. “I think that having clear communication and knowing that an audience member will [know] what the experience will be when they go back to their favorite theaters and concert venues is going to make a big difference.”
Here is the full list of participating theater organizations: Actors’ Shakespeare Project, American Repertory Theater, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Central Square Theater, The Front Porch Arts Collective, The Gamm Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Greater Boston Stage Company, The Huntington, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Moonbox Productions, SpeakEasy Stage Company and Wellesley Repertory Theatre.