News Story

A wide shot of OP's auditorium. There are seats in red, orange, purple and yellow.

Oxford Playhouse has today announced how it will operate its theatre buildings and spaces following the lifting of national Covid restrictions by the government from today 19 July 2021. The Playhouse will lift social distancing and increase seating capacity for shows where possible, whilst still retaining Covid safe measures to ensure the safety of audiences, artists and staff.

Oxford Playhouse is working closely with UK Theatre and SOLT (Society of London Theatre) and following their recommendations.

Louise Chantal and Vanessa Lefrancois, Joint CEO/Directors Oxford Playhouse commented:

“We are pleased to finally be in a position to open our theatres to full capacity. It has been so wonderful to see audiences returning to The Playhouse since the end of May 2021. However, the safety of our audiences, artists and staff remains our greatest priority as we move forward. The majority of OP’s Covid safety measures remain in place for the time being, including a strong recommendation for audiences to continue wearing face coverings, as advised by the Government and UK Theatre.”

The following measures will remain in place after 19 July 2021:

  • Regular fogging of auditorium
  • Enhanced cleaning through buildings; including high intensity touch points
  • Multiple hand sanitiser stations
  • Wearing of face coverings for audiences strongly encouraged, especially when moving around the venue
  • Modified routes and one-way systems around the building to avoid overcrowding and manage audience flow
  • Recommendation to audiences to bring minimal possessions with them
  • Contactless ticketing
  • Staggered arrival times for some shows
  • Book with confidence, exchange with ease pledge, allowing exchanges up to 24 hours ahead of a performance if ticket holder cannot attend due to Covid.

The measures being lifted at Oxford Playhouse include:

  • Most socially distanced auditorium seating (although some productions over the summer may retain certain areas of the auditorium, or certain performance times which are socially distanced)
  • Restrictions on party booking size, and limitations to household or bubbles
  • Check in via the NHS app before entering the venue will become optional for audiences

Oxford Playhouse is working as part of the Oxford Cultural Partnership to keep cultural and arts venues in the city safe.

In a collective statement, the Oxford Cultural Partnership said: “We encourage our visitors to continue wearing masks and to practice social distancing where possible so that we can all feel safe and protected. With a sizeable number of staff, performers, and audiences, not yet fully vaccinated, we this is as an important step to protecting everyone involved in creating culture in Oxford.”

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure at Oxford City Council, said: “All of Oxford’s cultural partners made this decision together, out of concern for their staff and audiences. The message from the government is clear that we all still need to be cautious, and masks are recommended in crowded places. Please enjoy Oxford’s events, performances and exhibition safely by waring a mask to protect each other.”

Oxford Playhouse will continue to regularly review its Covid secure measures and follow government & industry advice over the coming weeks and months. Oxford Playhouse will continue to use the UK Theatre See It Safely protocols.