Performance Rehearsal Safety Protocol

Introduction

NTPA’s safety protocol builds upon the requirements recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Texas Governor’s Strike Force, and expands beyond them to provide a comprehensive and careful standard of care.

In order to maximize the safety of NTPA students, parents, patrons and staff, the North Texas Performing Arts created its Reopening Task force of over thirty professionals including four doctors, legal counsel, board members and others. The Task Force defined the procedures and protocols outlined in this document to ensure that NTPA Productions are opened in a safe and deliberate manner that best protects the health of its students and patrons.

This team and others that will follow have been working with us to come up with best plan to allow our get our students, families, patrons, actors and staff come back to our theatres with these objectives:

  • To create and execute a plan that provides for the best possible safety of our Students, Patrons and Staff.
  • To effectively and safely open the theatres on the dates approved by the Governing Board of Directors.
  • To ensure the cleanliness and readiness of the facilities to support all necessary operations.
  • To provide a safe, efficient and thoughtful admittance, performance/rehearsal, and exit process for students, patrons and staff.

In addition to the safety protocols outlined below, NTPA Staff have been trained upon and will enforce a detailed “Staff Safety Protocol” and “NTPA Facilities Protocol” also approved by the NTPA Task Force outlining their obligations and responsibilities. This Staff Safety Protocol includes the continuous wearing of masks, the maintenance of a “safe social distance” of six feet at all times, the vigilance for signs of potentially unhealthy students or staff members and appropriate response, the availability of hand sanitizers at all times, the on-going cleaning and sanitizing of all facilities, the wiping down of commonly-touched facilities on a regular schedule and other protocols consistent with the Governor’s Strike Force recommendations for personnel and facilities for these purposes.

A copy of the full detailed staff guidance may be made available to Parents or Guardians upon request.

In compliance with the Governor’s Strike Force Guidelines, NTPA’s Production activity was entitled to open on or after June 3rd and are enhanced by NTPA Reopening Task Force Recommendation and Governing Board authorization and effective June 16, 2020 providing greater safety measures outlined below that may be relaxed or tightened based on its own experience and state and local guidance.

Mask Safety Video Series

NTPA Reopening Task Force Member, Dr. Jenny Duewall, explains why wearing a mask is important, how to talk to children about wearing a mask, and proper methods for putting on and taking off a mask.

Our thanks to the Members of the NTPA Re-Opening Task Force

Task Force Members

  • Mark Frankenfeld, Board President
  • Elly Marsh, Board President-Elect
  • Steve Flad, Past Board President
  • Michelle Hoffman Board Vice President
  • Trysh Pope, Board Secretary
  • Tamara Jones, Board Treasurer
  • Michael Massiatte, Board Counsel
  • Dr. Candice Addison
  • Dr. Seth Kaplan
  • Dr. Jenny Duewall
  • Dr. Jeri Tidwell
  • Connor Bourland

Management Board Chairpersons

  • Laura Coppedge, Plano
  • Holly Tripp, Fairview
  • Sara Johnson, Dallas
  • Erika Bazan, Frisco
  • Lisa Rodenbaugh, Repertory
  • Fred Lamb, Starcatchers
  • Holly Dalton, Academy
  • Jennifer Harrison, Principal
  • Steve McMurray, Board Set-Build Oversight
  • Tammy Thies, NTPA Ticketing, RN

NTPA Staff Members

  • Darrell Rodenbaugh, Chief Executive Officer
  • Lindsey Lederer, VP of Youth Theatres
  • Lauren Boykin, Senior Marketing Director
  • Mike Mazur, Academy Head of School & Plano Managing Director
  • Cibby Bowden, Fairview Managing Director
  • Christian Black, Dallas Program Director
  • Hannah Makepeace, Frisco Program Director
  • Danny Miranda, Rep Theatre Artistic Director
  • Greg McKnight, NTPA Technical Director
  • Riley Gray, Starcatchers Theatre
  • Jackie Miller, Business Manager

Notice of Risk Acceptance to All Guests

By entering our theatres, you agree that in bringing yourself, your children, other family members or friends to these premises that there could be a reasonable, foreseeable risk of exposure to a communicable and contagious diseases, such as COVID-19, and/or contract or be around others that are ill, whether they are symptomatic or not, or carry this disease home to others and you are voluntarily and upon your own responsibility and determination accepting this risk.  You agree to follow all NTPA protocols, respect the directives and abide by the posted requirements.  You agree that neither you nor family members have medical, physical or mental condition that could result in injury or illness for others.

You agree to indemnify, release and hold harmless North Texas Performing Arts. (“NTPA”), its employees, directors, officers, volunteers, and all others from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions or causes of action, of any kind or nature, arising out of or related to any COVID-19 or related illness or injury, regardless of severity, resulting from the participating, attending and/or engaging in an NTPA activity or entering an NTPA premise.

Release of Liability and Participation Release Form 

IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN AN NTPA ACTIVITY OR ENTER AN NTPA FACILITY, ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST AGREE TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE COVID 19 PARTICIPANT RELEASE FORM.

Student (Under Age 18) and Family Release Form

For all students  participating in an NTPA production and their family members.

Complete the Release Form Online
Print and Sign the Release Form Online

Adult Participants and Volunteers Release Form

For all adult participants or volunteers that did not complete the student/family release form.

Complete the Release Form Online
Print and Sign the Release Form Online

Phase III+ NTPA Performance Safety Protocol

We are pleased to introduce the NTPA PHASE III+ PERFORMANCE SAFETY PROTOCOL that will guide the safety procedures and processes for all shows and productions until updated by future announcement and be in effect for all productions until further notice.

In Phase III+ productions, performing in outdoor venues or pre-recording vocals will still be preferred methods to advance our risk-mitigation strategies.

In Phase III+, NTPA’s “standard” production method will be to mimic some professional theatre environments by employing “sweet-tracks” that allow ensembles to pre-record group vocal elements such that during live-performances they may project at less than 100% of volume.  This enables the performer to focus on choreography and other activities, compensates for volume loss due to masks, and provides a better online audio experience.  Studies have shown this approach also reduces “transmission risk” by up to 95% versus regular full-volume onstage singing.

Directors are required to evaluate these options first, taking into account preferences of cast members and parents. Directors must review their show risk-mitigation plan with the Managing Director and must receive his/her approval to sing indoors after they have reasonably exhausted alternatives. In all cases, actors must wear proper masks at all times, including while delivering lines and singing onstage, backstage and in dressing rooms.

Admissions, Ticketing and Exits

  • All personnel on-site including Actors, Audience Members, Volunteers and Staff and others must have their temperature checked by the assigned Volunteer or staff member (who will be required to wear a mask and gloves) with a touchless thermometer and affirmed not to have a fever exceeding 100.00  in order to perform or be on site, and asked a series of health quick questions.  Tickets will then be reviewed and admission continued.
  • Performances taking place in multi-theatre complexes will have staggered show start times.  Entrances to theatres may differ and audiences are requested to watch for signage to direct them to their theatre.
  • NTPA will require only electronic tickets by advanced purchase.  No walk-up sales will be allowed.
  • All Participants and Patrons must wear an acceptably protective mask.  Consistent with CDC recommendations, multi-layer cloth or surgical-type masks that fit snugly to the face are the accepted standard.  Face shields (worn without a mask), respirator masks (with a breathable valve), Neck “gaiters” (a form of mask usually made out of a stretchy and moisture-wicking fabric that can be pulled down over your head and worn over the nose and mouth) and simple bandanas are not considered adequate protection. Except for those with other specific doctor’s orders, a Patron appearing with one of these will be provided a temporary surgical mask and encouraged to enjoy this level of protection while in an NTPA facility.
  • NTPA will also make masks available to the public for purchase with reusable masks available for $10 and temporary masks for $2.
  • Each performance will have an usher to ensure compliance with all seating requirements and will be available to answer questions.
  • Where possible, shows will be performed without intermissions to minimize lines.
  • NTPA will follow the Performance Hall Seating Protocol dictated by the State of Texas Strike Force and at this time, seating will be limited to 50% of capacity.  This may be subject to change based on state or local edict.
  • Patrons must purchase their tickets via the NTPA ticketing system at NTPA.org and that system will automatically provide the necessary distance “buffer” between groups.
  • Seating will not be permitted within 12 feet of the general performance area (except in those venues where this spacing is not possible), and Actors may not sing or loudly project within 12 feet of the nearest audience member.  At no time may an Actor be within 6 feet of an audience member.
  • Groups of family members may sit together though may not be seated within 2 vacant seats or rows from another party.
  • Number of in-person tickets per family per performance will be limited to accommodate the seating capacity of each space. This number will be based on size of space and cast. There will be a limited number of in-person tickets pre-released to each family based on size of cast. Complimentary tickets may not be used for in-theatre seating except where specifically allowed by the Managing Director.
  • Patrons must sit in assigned seating. Late seating (more than 2 minutes past curtain time) will not be allowed.
  • Patrons must exit BY ROW starting with those rows nearest the exit, maintaining a 6-foot barrier between groups.After the performance, Patrons should proceed directly to their automobiles and regroup with their actors there. Patrons will not be allowed to congregate in hallways, lobby, or facilities entrance.  Actors will be directed to proceed to their automobiles after the show.
  • Seats, armrests, countertops and other high-touch surfaces will be treated with disinfectant after each performance.
  • Patrons are asked to limit occupancy of restrooms to ensure social distancing.
  • There will be no Concessions, Promotions or Wine by Donation available until otherwise announced.  Theatres may offer “counterless” pre-bagged snack and drink options for sale only online.

Protocol for Actors

  • Shows will be blocked to minimize the number of on-stage Actors at any one time, and generally recommended to be no more than twenty actors with reasonable exceptions for larger mainstage productions.
  • Phase III+ allows for musical and non-musical performances and singing may be allowed during this phase, though ALL ACTORS MUST WEAR PROPER MASKS AT ALL TIMES, INCLUDING WHILE DELIVERING LINES OR SINGING, BACKSTAGE AND IN DRESSING ROOMS.
  • The students must provide their own acceptably protective face mask. Consistent with CDC recommendations, only cloth or surgical-type masks that fit snugly to the face will be allowed to be worn. Cloth Facemasks that have a clear shield making the mouth area visible are also permissible, provided there is a cloth border surrounding the shield that fits snugly to the face.  Face shields (worn without a mask), respirator masks (with a breathable valve), Neck “gaiters” (a form of mask usually made out of a stretchy and moisture-wicking fabric that can be pulled down over your head and worn over the nose and mouth) and simple bandanas are not considered adequate protection and will not be permitted for Actor use.
  • Notice of Protocol Enhancement Regarding Clear Face Masks: Availability of Clear Mask Options:
    By determination of the NTPA Task Force, Actors MAY EMPLOY clear face masks of various types provided they are approved in writing by the CEO.  NTPA’s acceptance of a Face Mask does not assume any liability or obligation on the part of NTPA for the suitability of purpose or safety.  The following CLEAR FACE MASK OPTION IS APPROVED and NTPA will make available for sale (quantities allowing) at the Willow Bend Center of the Arts for $8 each for individual purchases or $6 each for casts in quantities of 24 or more (allow two weeks for shipping for cast quantities).  These masks can also be purchased at buy.theclearmask.com/.
Clear Mask
  • While the use of Face Shields is employed elsewhere, NTPA has adopted specific requirements for the safety of its students, patrons and staff. The CDC and other studies have proven that Covid-19 can be spread as an “aerosol” agent.  During the act of singing and loud speaking, studies have proven that the “aersolisation” of expellents from the mouth can take place, and consistent with CDC guidance, Face Shields (even “doubled” shields” given they do not fully cover possible air flow) will not be permitted onstage.
  • Actors may not sing or loudly project within 12 feet of the nearest audience member. At no time may an Actor be within 6 feet of an audience member.
  • Calls should be limited to performing “On” casts. Ensembles should be limited if their attendance is not necessary. Number of actors called will be determined by the size of the performance venue and its capacity for safe social distancing. Outdoor venues are encouraged.
  • ACTORS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY THEIR DIRECTOR IF THEY ARE IN NEED OF A MICROPHONE.  Students requiring microphones are expected to PURCHASE THEIR OWN (microphones cannot be shared). NTPA will provide a “Microphone Kit” that includes a microphone, gloves, a protective cloth bag, and microphone tape for a fee of $29 and will provide directions for those that would prefer to assemble their own kits.  Microphones may be purchased at: https://ntpa.thundertix.com/events/173173.
  • For those Students unable or unwilling to purchase a microphone, NTPA will provide a reusable microphone that must be returned damage-free and students/parents should make requests to the Directors.  NTPA will be sanitizing and reusing shared microphones.  Damaged microphones must be paid for by the student/parent.
  • Students should come to the theatre already in costume, makeup, hair, and for those wearing microphones, with THEIR MICROPHONE ALREADY AFFIXED and properly in place.
  • All Productions must evaluate risk mitigation options including outside venues, online productions, pre-recording vocalists, pre-recording ensembles and special blocking to minimize risk.
  • If an actor is observed without his/her face mask in place within the facility, directors may apply the NTPA Three Strike Policy outlined in the Code of Conduct to enforce this requirement.
  • If actors need to remove their masks for any reason, they may go outside the facility individually to do so.
  • There should be spikes on the floor backstage indicating where actors must wait before making entrances.
  • There can be no student-to-student contact or touching.  Hugging, kissing or close dance will not be permitted.
  • Shows must be blocked to manage to a safe social distance (maintaining six feet between actors) whenever possible onstage. In those instances where a Director cannot manage to six-feet between actors onstage, they must review and gain approval from the managing director after exhausting all other reasonable options.
  • Students may not be within six-feet of other participants, directors or adults in excess of 15 minutes to avoid any and all “close contacts” as defined by the CDC.
  • There can be no movement of actors through the audience or aisles.
  • ONLY required personnel (directors, artistic staff, compensated volunteers, backstage coordinator, and volunteer coordinator), may be admitted backstage, into Tech Booths or dressing rooms.
  • Directors are encouraged to minimize costume changes, use of props and set and movement of sets.  Students should not pass or share props.
  • At the end of the performance, all participants must exit upon and proceed directly to their individual vehicles according to that space’s corresponding exit procedure. Actors will be escorted to the parking garage by the assigned backstage volunteer. Participants are asked not to group in hallways, entry ways, or parking lot.
  • House will be thoroughly sanitized by Volunteers between performances.
  • Performance times will be staggered to allow for sufficient turnover in between shows.

Backstage Operations

  • All participants and backstage crew must wear masks at all times backstage.  Mask specifications for Actors also apply to backstage crew and other volunteers.
  • Those volunteers moving sets must clean hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Hand sanitizers will be located off either side of the stage, as well as at backstage entrance.
  • Show activity should minimize set and prop use and movement.
  • No actor should touch another actor’s prop.
  • Props should be cleaned and disinfected after each performance by assigned Backstage Volunteer and checked by Costume Coordinator.
  • Sets should be cleaned and disinfected after each performance by the Facilities crew.
  • Floors will be marked with glo-tape to mark safe social distancing and assigned seating.
  • “Overflow” backstage students for will be assigned an appropriate backstage space that may differ for each theatre.

Videographer

  • NTPA will supply the tripod for Videographer, and Videographer will supply their own device for filming use (recommended iPhone 10 or higher).
  • The Videographer must arrive at the show and allow for adequate time to set-up and start the live broadcast no less than 30 minutes prior to production’s start-time.
  • The Videographer will be placed in the first two rows of the theatre (which will otherwise be empty).
  • The Videographer may videotape and livestream/upload the production through ZOOM Conference as defined by NTPA and may not make, keep or distribute in any other manner any video from the show.
  • Multiple Videographers for a given production are encouraged to provide the online audience different viewing perspectives.

Light and Sound Operations

  • Only three people are allowed in the tech booths at a time (including Director). Door must remain open to provide proper ventilation.
  • Tech Booth operators should wipe down all equipment with disinfectant (provided by NTPA) upon entry to the booth before every show.
  • Directors are advised to maintain simplified lighting and sound formats with generally simple, broad lighting to better enable video quality.
  • Tech booth volunteers will be required to wear face masks at all times, and pass health checks given to actors.
  • Only the operators of the tech equipment will be allowed in the booth, the door is advised to stay open to encourage ventilation.
  • Consoles, computers, and desktops will be wiped between operators and after every performance by tech volunteers.
  • Actors with microphones should come to the show with their microphone on and properly in place. The technical booth volunteer will insert the microphone receiver into the “sock/bag” and turn it on and test.
  • Student technicians will be assigned via application only.

Set Build Operations

  • All set-build volunteers must wear masks at all times during their set-build activities. Before commencing a set-build activity, all participants will be subject to the same health tests as general admission to the show.
  • Sets should be minimized to eliminate unnecessary “touching” and to minimize expense.
  • Only authorized personnel (Set Coordinator, NTPA Staff, and any volunteers who signed up in advance of set build date) may have access to Set-build Areas. This number will be determined by the capacity for each set build area.

Concessions, Promotions and Wine Donations

  • Will remain closed until otherwise announced.