After a year of virtual productions, Westminster College’s theatre department returns to live theatre with new COVID-19 protocols, according to Abbie Hagen, a senior theatre major with a production and design emphasis.
Audiences are expected to wear masks, and the crew and cast must get a temperature check before rehearsals and performances, according to Hagen.
When Broadway initially shut down in March 2020, many people were shocked by the closure, according to Hagen.
“I think [Broadway closing] was a big deal for a lot of people, because I didn’t really think Broadway could do that,” Hagen said.
Broadway’s closure was the longest theater closure in New York City’s history, according to a Q&A Article by NYU News.
“During the [1918 Influenza] pandemic, there were some theater closures, and since then, there have been musician strikes, blizzards, and 9/11 when Broadway took a pause — but they just pushed a pause button until the world sort of got back together,” said Laurence Maslon, a New York University professor.
Following Broadway’s closure came the closure of many other theaters and cancelations of productions, including Westminster productions.
“[The design team] had to have a […] meeting for the show that Westminster was getting ready to put on in the spring [of 2020] right after spring break […] and, ultimately, we decided that we were going to have to cancel the show,” Hagen said.
Now that Broadway opened for the first time in over a year, new protocols have been put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Audience members are required to be fully vaccinated and wear a mask unless eating or drinking in designated areas, according to the Broadway COVID-19 Updates page.
Hagen is now a stage manager for The Birthday Party, Westminster’s first live performance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hagen said her favorite part of the job is getting to do temperature checks for the cast and crew.
“The actors get into it and […] I’m like ‘man, no one else should be this extra about me shooting you with the temperature gun, thank you all for the fainting,’” Hagen said.