Theatres and operas: an end to physical distancing, false good news?


On Wednesday 26 August, the announcements by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture made the Wearing a mask is mandatory in the rooms and put end to physical distance except in the red zone. These are positive announcements, but they raise questions and concerns.

Sales that remain constrained

Rooms located in orange or green zones fearing that their department will go into a red zone will be not able to sell all available seats. Indeed, in this scenario, the rooms would be forced to perform a cancellation set that would put them in an awkward situation with their audience.

Matthieu Rietzler, Director of the Rennes Opera, who works with Arenametrix on their communication campaigns, declares and tempers the situation : “It has been too difficult a time for us not to welcome the good news, even if it still poses difficulties in the management of the room. We are going to arbitrate, adjust, handle the gauges with caution: by exceeding the half gauge while keeping a valve to adapt if necessary.”

The concerns are all the greater because municipalities may also choose to strengthen the protocol. 

Despite constrained ticket sales, government announcements are going into the common sense.

Masked artists?

The protocol for artists not yet clarifiedIn this context, it is legitimate to ask whether they should wear masks on stage. Impossible for some, such as wind instrumentalists, Matthieu Rietzler asks for guidelines similar to those applied for sports teams so that the artists can offer shows in good conditions.

Versailles has chosen to take the temperature of the artists and the public, as their concerts and recitals can take place several times a day, a 48-hour delay to obtain the results of a test is not possible.

An audience to meet

Another concern is thespectator attitude. Will they be discouraged by these measures? The Prime Minister explains that "to live with the virus is also to grow with the virus", which we can interpret here as a invitation to return to the theatre and the opera.

The balance sheet for the summer is source of encouragement. Indeed, for a large number of theatres, the figures are good. This is the case of the Orchestre de Paris, which has sold 1200 concert tickets in 24 hours...proof of the commitment of its audience.

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