(Doug George’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 8/17; Photo: Seats sit empty at Broadway in Chicago’s dormant James M. Nederlander Theatre in June 2020 in Chicago. The theater will reopen with “Paradise Square” in November. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
A large number of Chicago-area theaters, dance and performing arts companies, led by the League of Chicago Theatres, announced Tuesday morning they will require COVID-19 precautions including proof of vaccination or negative tests, and masks for audience members, at least through the end of 2021.
According to a statement from the League, a coalition of more than 65 theaters and arts producers will require proof of vaccination or in some instances a negative COVID-19 test for entry, as well as face coverings, though protocols will vary by theater. According to the statement, “the unified COVID-19 protection protocol” will go into effect Sept. 1 for all indoor productions, and will include Loop theaters run by Broadway in Chicago.
The coalition includes 16th Street Theater, A Red Orchid Theatre, About Face Theatre, Aguijón Theatre, Albany Park Theatre Project, American Blues Theater, Apollo Theater Chicago, Artemesia Theatre, Artistic Home, Aston Rep Theatre Company, Athenaeum Theatre, Auditorium Theatre, Babes with Blades, Black Button Eyes Productions, Bluebird Arts, Brightside Theatre, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble, Chicago Humanities Festival, the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), Chicago Magic Lounge, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, Chicago Youth Shakespeare, Court Theatre, First Floor Theatre, First Folio Theater, Goodman Theatre, Greenhouse Theatre Center, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Hell in a Handbag, Her Story Theatre, High Concept Labs, House Theatre of Chicago, International Voices Project, the Joffrey Ballet, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Marriott Theatre, Midsommer Flight, the Neo Futurists, the New Coordinates, Northlight Theatre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Oil Lamp Theater, Old Town School of Folk Music, Paramount Theatre, Piven Theatre Workshop, Pivot Arts, Playmakers Laboratory, Porchlight Music Theatre, Pridearts, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, Raven Theatre, Red Tape Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Saint Sebastian Players, Saltbox Theatre Collective, Second City, Shattered Globe Theatre, Skokie Theatre, Stage Left Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Theatre Wit, Three Brothers Theatre, Timeline Theatre Company, UrbanTheater Company, Victory Gardens Theater, WildClaw Theatre, Williams Street Repertory Theatre and Writers Theatre.
Where negative tests are accepted, audience members must provide proof of a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time. This includes accommodations for children under 12 and people with medical conditions or religious beliefs preventing them from being vaccinated.