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Artists & Arts Workers returning to work
Minister Martin’s statement earlier in the week was a very welcome one.

Today also professional artists can return to work where necessary. Under new changes, actors and musicians can return to studios and actors to the stage to rehearse.

This is now  possible because of an important change in the legislation enacted on 9 May 2021 which allows non-essential workers to go to their workplace if they cannot reasonably do that work from home. So as of that date, artists, actors, and musicians can go to work in the country’s theatres, studios, rehearsal rooms and arts centres. Residencies, workshops, development, production, rehearsals as well as performance for recording, live streaming as well as broadcast in the future can all happen. It’s important to note that all arts and culture workplaces must adhere to the Government’s Work Safely Protocol and other public health guidance and should have robust infection prevention control arrangements in place. This return to workplaces relates only to professional artists and not to amateur artists or those engaged in art for social or recreational purposes.

So that’s a very welcome return to rehearsals and studios for work to developed, rehearsed and presented at festivals, outdoors and on the country’s stages over the summer and into the autumn.

Arts Centres – Working with COVID-19
A Framework for Performing Arts Venues guidelines. The Theatre Forum guidelines for the safe reopening of theatres and arts centres as workplaces are still the relevant ones. These will be updated as Government guidance and reopening plans evolve.

Safe Creation and Staging of Work during COVID-19 guidelines
For production companies and producers heading into rehearsals, the Theatre Forum guidelines for the creation and staging of workare also relevant.

Outdoor events
For outdoor events, note that the maximum attendance of 15 people/audience members still applies to an organised outdoor gathering or performance. There’s some more information and guidance about outdoor events in Appendix 1, page 46 of the Arts Centre guidelines.

Other relevant guidelines

Professional Dance Safety: Covid Guidance for Professional Dancers
This Dance Ireland guidance is intended to support professional projects or productions, employers, performers, and creative personnel working in dance or movement; Professional performers, for whom dance performance is their main occupation, and pre-professional dancers, who are undertaking advanced level training or are recent graduates in dance.

Young People, Children & Education – COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines
These Arts Council guidelines are for cultural providers of activities for young people and children operating in contexts that vary by location, funding provider, or age group including activities provided by the Department of Education and Skills in primary and post-primary settings, higher and further education, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in Early Learning and Care, School-Age Childcare and Youth Work, private and commercial ventures as well as indoors and outdoors activities.

Pilot events
Work is already underway to pilot a series of arts events in theatres and arts centres with small audiences. The pilot approach referenced by the Minister, initiated by the Arts Council and supported by the Department, is a careful and phased approach to test conditions in a variety of theatres with different productions and audience capacities. We will update you about plans for various pilot events for arts, culture, sport and live entertainment (indoor and outdoor) in the coming weeks.

Photo Credit ©Ste Murray