How has and will StoryBook keep artists and volunteers safe while creating theatre during the pandemic?
The most asked question about our 2020 season is how we plan to keep our artists safe during this incredible time. The following is an overview of how we were able to keep our casts safe while filming this season. Throughout the year we worked within the AHS guidelines and restrictions under direct supervision by Calgary Health. On February 18, after successfully producing 3 full productions with more than 150 artists and volunteers AHS granted exemptions in a formal letter allowing SBT to continue to produce filmed work.
First and foremost - the safety of our artists and volunteers is paramount to the creation of our work. Although we have exemptions in place we still maintain clear practices of safety and sanitization and limit as much necessary exposure as we can.
STEP ONE: Online
The first part of all our rehearsal processes will take place ONLINE. All our rehearsals will be conducted via the ZOOM app, a free open software that StoryBook can use to its advantage to engage with our production teams safely and effectively.
Parts of the process that will take place ONLINE:
Meet & Greet
Vocal Part Assignments
Script Table Work
Choreographer teaching and learning
It is our plan to do anything that can be done via Zoom in this way.
As each process will have uniquely different timelines we will adapt this portion of the schedule based on each show's needs.
STEP TWO: In-Person
The move to in-person rehearsals will come when it is most appropriate for production to move forward. This part of the process is within exemptions provided. In addition to the exemption, the following items are maintained.
Masks required at all times
Maintain social distance when possible
No physical contact
Sanitization of all surfaces each person encounters, before & after
Maximum limits to each room
We do require all artists to limit exposure beyond the theatre when within a process leading up to filming. This means mask-wearing and/or social distancing at all times when not in a family unit.
All participants and guardians of any minors will be required to sign an Assumption of Risk, Waiver of Liability, Release, and Indemnification which can be found. Without this waiver, no artist or volunteer MAY NOT participate in person or as part of the cohort.
In Rehearsal Plans
Upon arrival, artists shall enter through the Green Room Entrance found on the East Side of the building. There they will be admitted entrance into the green room where they will wait to be temperature checked and must reply to the COVID Checklist honestly.
PLEASE NOTE: The Beddington Theatre Arts Centre is closed and therefore entrances will be locked. Please arrive as scheduled to avoid disruption of the rehearsal process to accommodate your tardiness. Should you arrive late or be locked outside there is a doorbell located at the GREEN ROOM door to the left
As everyone arrives their temperature will be checked and must be between 35.5 degrees to 37.5 degrees. Anyone with a temperature below or above the safe parameters will be asked to go outside and return in 15 minutes to be checked again. If at that time they are still not within the safe parameters, they will be asked to return home.
All members will be required to review and answer the Daily Checklist truthfully prior to arrival. It is assumed that if an artist arrives to the space have answered in the negative to al the questions and are in fact in good health and able to be on site.
Once an artist arrives and has been approved to enter, they will go directly to their assigned dressing room. Here they will drop off their items and get ready for rehearsal. They will then collect their personal hand sanitizer bottle and disinfectant cleaner bottle with cloth for the duration of the night.
Upon entry, everyone will be required to wash their hands for the proposed 20 seconds and then proceed directly to the rehearsal hall where you start rehearsal. Please factor this time into your arrival.
When on-site please use the assigned restrooms for your production.
Each restroom will have a disinfectant cleaner. Everyone is asked to disinfect prior to and after using the space to ensure it is safe for their use.
Each room will have its own setup. It is important to review any notes on Trello as they relate to that specific rehearsal. Depending on what is happening in any specific room the requirements of that room change. Please read the following for the general overview of each task and its specific protocols.
- actors will be provided with one face-shield which is theirs to keep throughout the process
- a mask or shield must be worn at all times unless otherwise noted
- all persons must sanitize their works space, chairs, music stands, etc before and after use
- anything that is touched by one person and passed to another must be sanitized before and after the exchange. No two persons should touch the same piece in the same place without sanitation in-between.
- Choreo will always take place in one of the larger spaces.
- Must maintain 3m distance when rehearsing
- Must take a break every 30 minutes to allow airflow
- No physical contact
- Staging can take place in any room provided the occupancy does not go over the specific room allotment
- When wearing masks actors may be closer than 2m, however when at all possible social distancing will be requested
- There will be no touching in the part of the rehearsal process, instead direction can be given for what the moment will become time to film.
- Singing will always take place in one of the larger spaces.
- A seating arrangement will always be provided before the rehearsal on where everyone is required to sit - please do not sit anywhere else.
- Face masks are required for singing - face shields may also be worn WITH masks, but may not be worn in place of masks.
- there may be NO MOVEMENT in the rehearsal space when singing is taking place. Everyone may only move about the theatre space when no one is singing.
AT THE END OF REHEARSAL
SANITIZE STATION – everyone will be provided with a sanitizer with approved DIN# by AHS to wipe down their stations with a rag provided on each stand at the start of rehearsal.
SANITIZE FACE SHIELDS – take this opportunity to sanitize face shields
DRESSING ROOM - move to the dressing room storing your items, purell, sanitizer spray, and anything else you are leaving
DIRTY RAG - drop off your dirty rag in the green room laundry basket.
EXIT - at the end of the evening everyone will exit out the same entrance you came in through the green room
POST REHEARSAL - Everyone is strongly encouraged not to fraternize post-rehearsal or if they do they must maintain social distancing measures and protections.
TRAVEL, BREAKS & MEALS
BREAKS - While in the facility everyone will be reminded to maintain social distance and to respect the boundaries set by their peers and AHS. Socializing on breaks will be acceptable provided boundaries are met.
MEALS – On our longer days everyone is invited to bring a bagged lunch. Everyone will be required to sanitize pre and post meal times.
TRAVEL - We appreciate that some may choose to carpool. Anything outside of the facility is at the discretion of the individuals involved. If a minor is in consideration we would suggest written consent from both parties on their willingness to travel together and strongly suggest masks and extra sanitization while carpooling.
RESTROOMS - all surfaces touched by a single person while using the facilities will require immediate sanitation when complete. This includes the toilet seat, handle, sink and any other pieces a single person comes in contact with. Sanitizer will be provided for use in these areas.
STEP THREE: Audio Recording
So long as there are restrictions with singing the only way that we can then perform a musical is to pre-record the entire production, Therefore until such time allows for live singing we will produce a full-cast recording of the production for use in the performance of our production, be it live or on film.
There are multiple options in consideration for how we make this happen. We have the great fortune to be able to record the cast album at OCL Studios in Chestermere.
We will work with them to ensure safety for all our artists and abide by their protocols. Each booth/recording area will be fully sanitized prior to the next group's arrival.
STEP FOUR: Filming
At this time live presentation does not present itself as an option for our presentations in a viable way, therefore each production would become a film production as laid out in the AHS Guidance for the Screen-Based Production Industry.
An exact film schedule will be set for each production specifically.
Therefore the expectation is that the production becomes a cohort for the filming process as per the AHS guidelines relating to the film process. Although a cohort is not a specific guideline we are encouraging our team to minimize outside contact and consider our health as your own health. Therefore leading up to the filming days we are encouraging the team to limit any and all necessary outside contact.
A buffer for filming will be built into the predetermined schedule should the cast and crew be exposed.
This is a closed set and only those with permission, follow all health and safety practices will be permitted on site.
Belong to only one core cohort
Limit interactions with people outside the core cohort
When interacting with people outside the core cohort, do it safely, in ways that keep risks low. Maintain a distance of 2 metres or wear a mask when closer than 2 metres with others.
Please read through this document to understand the term and the impact on not only the student but the family cohort as well.
SAFETY PRACTICE IN PLACE FOR FILMING
As we move into the cohort we have determined the following safety protocols will be in practice:
TEMPERATURE CHECK – as the cohort arrives their temperature will be checked and must be between 35.5 degrees to 37.5 degrees. Anyone with a temperature below or above the safe parameters will be asked to go outside and return in 15 minutes to be checked again. If at that time they are still not within the safe parameters, they will be asked to return home.
COMPLETE THE DAILY CHECKLIST – It is assumed that arrival on site means that the artists are in good health and answer all the AHS Daily Checklist items in the negative
Anyone unable to answer in the negative to any of the Daily Checklist answers will be required to not attend filming and get tested for COVID-19 within 12 hours. They must then confirm the date and time of their testing with the Stage Manager as well as follow guidelines as set for by AHS. Test results must be communicated to the production team lead (producer or stage manager) immediately.
No person(s) having tested positive, awaiting test results (voluntary or otherwise), or showing symptoms may be present in any work environment.
NEGATIVE TEST RESULTS - the artist will be permitted to resume filming once their mandated isolation is complete.
POSITIVE TEST RESULTS - production will shut down immediately. The entire cohort MUST follow the AHS guidance at the time for isolation and quarantine. Based on the results, and the possibility of variants this could be for as little as 10 days and to as many as 24 days.
IT IS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE PRODUCER SHOULD THEY CHOOSE TO CONTINUE FILM PRODUCTION WITHOUT ANY TEAM MEMBER, PROVIDED PRODUCTION HAS NOT BEEN CLOSED BY AHS.
- WASH HANDS, SCRIPT & PHONES – upon arrival all cohort members MUST wash their hands and sanitize personal devices
HAND SANITIZER & CLEANING PRODUCTS - hand sanitizer and approved cleaning products will be distributed around the facility for use by everyone regularly.
SANITIZATION - all cohort members are expected to sanitize anywhere they touch or use regularly. This includes counters, tables, chairs, dressing rooms, and even restrooms.
PROP & SET PIECES - all cohort members must be sure to sanitize all props and set pieces before and after use
TOUCHING - while touching is still strongly discouraged it may be required in the filming process. A production assistant will be on-site for all planned touching and provide sanitizer to anyone who is touching or being touched.
MASKS - masks are required at all times when preparing to film and by all set crew regardless of our cohort status. The only time in which masks will not be worn is by the actors while filming.
BREAKS & MEALS - cohort members are encouraged to sit in their own designated areas to take breaks and meals and respect physical distancing measures. The large studios in the space will be provided to cast and crew if required, to allow for proper distancing measures and good ventilation. If the weather is cooperating meals are encouraged to be outdoors where social distancing measures can be practiced. All stations must be sanitized before and after meals.
TEAM STATIONS - all team members are designated areas for work. These stations may not be used by other members of the cohort for any reason. This includes chairs, tables, and devices. These areas will be sanitized by the designated team member daily.
DRESSING ROOMS - all cast will be designated a dressing room space which they must keep sanitized. Hand sanitizer and cleaning sanitizer will be provided in all dressing rooms within proximity to each actor. NO OTHER CAST MEMBER who is not designated on the door may enter the room under any circumstances and team members will be limited entrance. Arrivals and prep time will be staggered to limit the number of people in one dressing room at a time.
COSTUMES - costumes will be cleaned/sanitized daily with a wardrobe person on site for all costuming needs. The cast may NOT share costume pieces under any circumstances and any pieces that may not be laundered through the machine will be sanitized at a higher concentration of alcohol disinfectant.
HAIR & MAKEUP - Generally most people will be asked to come with their hair and makeup done. In the instances that a team is required, only the necessary physical interaction will take place and all team members will adhere to proper sanitization protocols.
As our processes continue to be shaped and molded as we carry on. We will update these safety measures as needed.
At no time has or will StoryBook operate without the direct approval, exemptions, or support of Alberta Health Services.
All Support Materials from AHS can be found HERE