Live Reopening Guide
FOR IMMERSIVE ARTISTS & PRODUCERS
The pause of the pandemic has posed an opportunity for us all to consider the kinds of events we produce, the community work we support, and the audiences we place at the center of our efforts. And the return to live performance is going to look very different in different places, for different events, and for different people and audiences. If you’re planning live events for this summer and fall, here are some of the best resources we’ve found to help guide you in your specific planning.
This guide was created for Colorado-based performers and experiential creators by Immersive Denver in collaboration with Majestic Collaborations. It is meant as an informational resource and does not constitute legal or public health advice.
Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
NOVELIST ARUNDHATI ROY
1. Stay informed
Make sure you stay updated with local and regional public health advice and protocols.
We’ve included a few specific websites here but pay attention to information shared via social media of health and elected officials, news, and radio. Pay attention as well to when you are eligible for a vaccine! Currently all Colorado residents over age 16 are eligible.
Colorado uses a Covid-19 Dial framework to standardize certain precautionary measures and restrictions at the county level.
2. Keep people safe
Covid-19 mitigation and response is one of many kinds of safety and preparedness planning that you can do to help ensure the safety of your performers, volunteers, and audiences. The steps you’ll find here can be used for any such planning process, here annotated with a few specific guidelines to help you create a pandemic safety plan.
Especially early on, you may find yourself in the role of helping educate the public and advocating for safe and measured returns to normal activities as part of your efforts to protect yourself and your performers. The New York Times has an interactive personal covid-19 risk assessment intended to help people make personal decisions about engaging in various activities once fully vaccinated.
Do a risk assessment
The first step to developing any safety plan is to complete a risk assessment. What specific emergencies might impact your productions, and how will you mitigate risk and/or respond to them if they do occur? If it’s your first time doing a risk assessment, congratulations! Now is a perfect time to start.
Although covid-19 is a relatively universal risk, the ways in which it impacts your operations will vary from organization to organization. Completing a risk assessment helps you understand how your business risks have changed as a result of the pandemic and to make a plan to manage them. This is also good practice for future safety and preparedness planning to keep your organization healthy, sustainable, and resilient!
There are many resources available to help you craft risk assessments. Regarding covid-19 concerns specifically, we like this one from Eventbrite in collaboration with the Chertoff Group, which includes a downloadable worksheet.
Make a plan
Based on your risk assessment, develop standard procedures for any mitigation or response measures you are implementing. A few areas might include:
- Maintaining clean spaces
- Enforcing mask-wearing, social distances, or other measures
- Communicating unanticipated changes or updates to your audience
- Responding if an audience member reports a covid-19 infection
For each measure, answer the following four questions:
- What new concerns do I need to consider?
- What concrete actions need to happen to address them?
- When does each of those actions happen?
- What supplies do I need to undertake these actions safely?
If your residual risk, even after designing for safety measures, is high, it might be time to think about postponing your event or altering the site or format to keep people safe. If you’ve managed to keep transmission risks low, when it comes to deciding your implementation strategy, the existing protocols and guides below might help.
Existing safety protocols and practices
The Performing Arts Center Consortium’s Guide to Reopening Theatrical Venues provides a detailed list of common venue features and corresponding suggestions for management during the pandemic, with an informative bibliography of additional resources. While designed for traditional theatres, the guidance is largely applicable to other kinds of events and venues and is among the most detailed guides of this kind we have seen to date.
3. Access support resources
The pandemic has been and remains a challenging time for us all, and certainly for artists and performing arts organizations. We won’t seek to replicate the many efforts to compile resources about economic support, wellness and mental health, and many other needs, but a wealth of support is just a web search away. We will in this section add contact information for experts who are making themselves available to support artists and arts organization leaders in one way or another.
Nina Ozlu Tunceli from Americans for the Arts Action Fund leads weekly Zoom Office Hours most Fridays from 11am – 12pm ET to help the arts community to navigate the complex web of federal funding opportunities, regulations, and deadlines related to current and upcoming COVID-19 economic federal aid programs. View more information.
4. Plan for a sustainable future
The pause of the pandemic has posed an opportunity for us all to consider the kinds of events we produce, the community work we support, and the audiences we place at the center of our efforts. We’ll be curating more resources in the future specific to the work of immersive artists and producers when it comes to addressing some of the bigger-picture questions around how to sustainably, creatively, and equitably do this work, ensure the resilience of our own organizations, and support one another.
In the meantime, the Performing Arts Readiness project provides free webinars on a variety of topics designed to help performing arts organizations thrive. Upcoming sessions include:
- Intro to Emergency Preparedness for Performing Arts Organizations
- Performing Arts in a Post-Covid-19 World
- Business Continuity for Performing Arts Organizations
- Community Recovery through Arts and Culture
Have resources to add?
Get in touch and let us know!
Immersive Denver is a volunteer-driven community organization, working since 2018 to connect the Mile High experiential creative community, tell the story of regional immersive, and generate new audiences and opportunities for audience-centered experiential productions. Sign up for our newsletters of monthly regional immersive productions, our events, opportunities and resources for creators, or local playtesting calls.
For fans and creators alike, get the region's definitive listings of immersive performance and installation in the Denver/Boulder area and remote experiential work from Colorado creators. Sent on the first Wednesday of the month, with a second mid-month update as warranted.
For professionals, emerging artists and producers, and students interested in learning more about immersive. We publish resources, info about talks and networking events, open calls and opportunities, and more to help make the landscape of Colorado immersive a more equitable place.
Support our work!
We’re currently a completely volunteer organization. If you found this useful and are in a position to contribute, your support helps us cover organizational costs. We’re into the idea of radical transparency; as of 2021 you can see our budget here.