This is the first of five parts on setting up proper-distanced events. While focusing on storytelling, the information applies to any performing arts or proper-distanced event. Our blog as well as our proper-distanced house concerts with rental of recordings are wonderful sources of information and entertainment.
- Part 1 – Distancing & Spacing – TODAY
- Part 2 – Sanitation & Other Safety Measures
- Part 3 – Test Runs & Early Set-Ups
- Part 4 – Relief to Potential Audience
- Part 5 – Audience Isolation Behaviors
You are ready for live performance again…with spacing and masks…and what else?
Nothing beats the intense energy when performing live. Naturally, you want to rush to it as fast as safely possible.
We paused our regular house concert series from March – July 2020 and then rephased into proper-distanced house concerts on August 14. That same week, we offered both live and virtual story camps.
And people thanked us.
So what works for spacing?
No longer did it feel like indoor house concerts could be considered. The most we packed into my home was 45 people. If proper-distancing, I feel like I can only have 10 people. True, that is better than nothing.
Think of bigger areas.
Outdoors combined with proper-distancing and masks is the triple net of safety.
Even if your area is fine with people not wearing masks outside, we decided to be ultra-sensitive to it as we–as an organization and as individuals–put the safety of our story artists and audience first.
Here are large outdoor spaces that can work for proper-distancing:
- Backyards – do you or an Executive Director, Board Member, Volunteer, Amazing Citizen have a large space that can hold at least 30+ people with spacing of 6 feet/2 meters front/back/sides (think spacing of 3+ classrooms)
- Parking Lots – largest ones tend to be of churches, schools, events centers – does anyone you know work or volunteer at one of these places to “strike a deal”? – can work with folding chairs and/or parked cars like drive-in theater/movies
- Parks – depending on your code/phase for your area, find out how many people you can gather in one place – 20? 50? 100? – receive permission/permit from park to allow the gathering
- School Grounds – not parking lot, but the grassy parts – again, do you know someone with that school to “strike a deal”?
- Any other Big & Open Areas – does not always have to be a field as hills can work as a natural amphitheater even if not originally set-up as an official venue
Here are large indoor spaces to consider for proper-distancing:
- Chapel area of Churches – probably could fit 20-40 with 6 feet/2 meters front/back/sides
- School Gymnasiums, Auditoriums or Cafeterias- probably a quarter of original capacity, if that
- Super Large Living Rooms – most people do not have super large living rooms but I saw one once that could easily hold 100+ people, which probably could hold 40 at most now with proper-distancing
- Event Centers – again, double-check on what actual capacity would be compared to original capacity
- On Top of Roofs – if gated/safe, number of possible audience members depends on spacing
- Any Other Large Buildings with Chapel/Ballroom/Large Gathering Areas – figure out number for proper-distancing by multiplying 1/4 by the original capacity number
During this time, avoid classroom-sized areas.
You will still get people offering an opportunity. Brainstorm with them on larger areas that both of you can easily access–and hopefully for free or minimal cost.
How far apart is the performer from the front row?
- Minimum 12 feet (or perhaps 13ish feet/4 meters)
- Some places are more 15 feet to 20 feet, especially if the performer admits to being a “spitter”
What about spacing between rows?
- 6 feet/2 meters is the minimum – though strangely some students are back in the classroom and lucky to be 3 feet apart! – but don’t let that be the standard for the performing artists
- Feel free to space out more if you wish
Need some studies or articles to support the importance of spacing/distancing?:
- Two metres or one: what is the evidence for physical distancing in covid-19?
- High SARS-CoV-2 Attack Rate Following Exposure at a Choir Practice — Skagit County, Washington, March 2020
- Safer Singing During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: What We Know and What We Don’t
- Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – focus on Performance Arts
We will delve into sanitation, good habits, equipment, and liability/indemnity to make things safer for everyone in Part 2.
You can make this live event happen. Think with logic and love. Enjoy the energy from a proper-distanced event.
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8 thoughts on “What We Learned from Proper-Distanced Events – Part 1 of 5”
Thank you for this information. As I get requests from organizations for shows it is very helpful to be able to reference a reputable organization like Story Crossroads when negotiating a contract and stating requirements that must be in place.
Glad to help! The other parts will be helpful, too. I get nervous of story artists going inside small classrooms. We have other options.
Thank you! Very useful, thoughtful insights.
The second part is more than the typical hand sanitizer answer…so glad you read the first part and look forward to when you get the next one.