Social distancing guidelines for singers updated after new COVID transmission study results

Posted on 26 August 2020

It will now be possible for singers to perform even closer than originally outlined. The announcement comes after London's first fully staged, socially distanced musical of all time, Sleepless: A Musical Romance, opened for previews last night (25 August 2020) at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Read all the details about the newly updated guidance below.

Guidance specific to singing and live performance adjusted following last week's published coronavirus transmission results 

After results from special studies regarding the transmission of COVID-19 whilst singing were released, official Government guidance has now been adjusted, as already promised by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. Results from the new testing and studies conducted by two DCMS-backed universities found that talking and singing have the same impact on the aerosol spread of SARS-CoV-2. In simpler terms, this means that singing is no riskier than talking when it comes to infecting other people. However, shouting and belting were found to be 30 times more prone to spread the virus.

The 3-metre rule now no longer applies for stage performers

Previous Government advice stipulated that sage performers were to follow extended social distancing measures, meaning they would need to remain three metres apart from each other when facing each other. The face-to-face contact rule has now been reduced to a "one-metre-plus" rule, which means actors and performers can stand as close as one-metre apart but are encouraged to stand further apart from each other if possible.

Additionally, shows will be expected to avoid singers belting out lyrics and instead use additional amplification if needed. The rules have also been altered for brass instrument players, meaning brass sections no longer have to be further apart from other members in the orchestra.

Sleepless: A Musical Romance sets the blueprint for London's West End in the coming months

The news has been applauded by many major arts institutions, including the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), who stressed the importance of greater flexibility for staging theatrical productions. The "Sleepless In Seattle musical" — which is the first, completely staged indoor musical since the UK and West End theatre lockdown — began performances last night in Wembley. The show will play a strictly limited, one-month run and is now booking until 27 September 2020. Hurry and reserve your tickets for Sleepless now to secure the best seats at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in London whilst availability lasts!

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Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels

Ephram is a jack of all trades and enjoys attending theatre, classical music concerts and the opera.