FTC Reporter Alex Agudelo reveals how the April 2nd announcement from Governor Cuomo will affect the FTC Theatre program.
By Alex Agudelo
The FTC theater program will soon be reopening. They will have three upcoming productions, which include Men on Boats (April 30th-May 1st), Glengarry Glen Ross (May 7th-8th in the Studio Theatre), and Drowsy Chaperone (May 21st-23rd). Dr. David Krasner, Professor and Chair of Theatre at Five Towns College, said the reopening of the venue is a “Great start, and very helpful for us (Five Town Theater Program) because we could do 33%. We don't depend on paying our actors. Reopening is what we want. It is the very thing we need to do. I think they (students) will be very pleased. We will be opening up, doing shows, and we will have audiences.” He is unsure when there will be an audience but hopes “to make a decision by April 15th.”
On April 2nd, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference to announce that as infection rates have been dropping, New York is reopening entertainment venues to 33% capacity. Governor Cuomo said, “Attendees will need to follow strict guidance to keep themselves and others safe, but they'll now be able to watch world-class performances and take part in our state's thriving arts and culture scene once again. I encourage New Yorkers to get tested before attending events and to use Excelsior Pass to show venues that they've been vaccinated or tested before entering performance spaces.”
Venues can have up to 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors without the need to provide proof of negative test results or COVID-19 vaccinations. At venues where all guests can provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test before entry, the capacity limits increase to 150 people indoors or 500 people outdoors.
Dr. Krasner’s shared his thoughts on what the reopening would mean for the New York City theatre scene. “For Broadway, the 33% is not feasible because you can't pay the actors, the stage managers, and the technicians, with a 33% audience. So, Broadway is not going to open with 33%. Small venues can function, possibly. You have to remember, the theaters, the cafes, the night clubs, and jazz clubs depend on 80 to 90% of capacity paying in order to pay all of the performers. So, it may not be feasible.”
In order to reopen at increased capacities, health protocols such as wearing masks, social distancing, and health screenings will be required for all guests. These guidelines, which were given by the department of health, must continue to be enforced. In addition to guests attending these venues, the guidelines must be followed by the owners, front-of-house employees, back-of-house employees, performers, contractors, vendors, and patrons. "New York's beloved arts and entertainment venues have been hard hit by the public health guidance we've implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, and after a long and difficult period, I am glad to see them reopen their doors to New Yorkers,” said Cuomo.
This announcement affects performing arts and entertainment locations allowing for music, dance, opera, drama, comedy, theater, and audio-visual arts to be once again performed in front of a live audience. These events may include plays, musicals, concerts, lectures, and speeches.
Small and medium scale performing arts and entertainment venues must notify their local public health authority if they will be having events above the state’s new social gathering limit of 33%. The business must include details about the event such as the responsible party’s contact information, event name, address, date and time, length of the show event expected number of guests and staff.