Covid-19 update

Mar 13 2020 | By More

First cancellation and latest info

Edinburgh’s first theatrical cancellation due to Covid-19 has happened with American drag artiste Sasha Velour pulling out of her European tour, including her Usher Hall date on Saturday 14 March 2020.

On Thursday 12 March, the Scottish Health Secretary told the Scottish Parliament that mass gatherings of over 500 are to be restricted to free up emergency services. Full guidance as to full implications for this will be issued on Monday 16 March.

As of the morning of Friday 13 March 2020, most Edinburgh theatres had not postponed or cancelled their performances in the foreseeable future, saying they are waiting for updates on advice.

As of 12.30pm on Friday 13, only Anatominis at Summerhall on Sunday 15 has cancelled. According to a statement on their website here, all tickets will be refunded and the artists paid in full.

The EIF has, however, moved its launch events online and they will now take place on March 18 at 12 noon on Facebook here. It has also put in place a refund policy guaranteeing refunds to anyone wanting to cancel for any reason relating to Covid-19.

Sasha Velour, who has cancelled her Usher Hall date on Saturday 14 March 2020

The over 500 people ruling would have implications for the Playhouse (3,000 seats), Festival Theatre (1,900 seats), King’s Theatre (1,300 seats) and Lyceum (658 seats).

In other countries, restrictions on public gatherings have been for 500 outside and 100 inside.

If this was to be the case it would apply to nearly all Edinburgh theatres. Traverse 1 seats 214-270, depending on its configuration, and Traverse 2 seats 123; the Brunton’s Venue 1 has 496 seats and the main theatre 296 seats; and the Assembly Roxy’s Central theatre holds 250 with Upstairs having 160 seats.

The major theatres have issued guidance on their websites and through their social media channels. The consensus attitude is that they have implemented the prevailing (and updated) health and safety policy for staff and customers and are waiting on further guidance from the government.

The most complete guidance comes from Capital Theatres which runs the Festival, King’s and Studio.

Capital Theatres has been closely monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 and have already issued advice to staff and have implemented precautionary measures.

Today (12/3/2020) Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced in the Scottish Parliament that mass gatherings of over 500 are to be restricted to free up emergency services, including police and ambulance crews, to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. She subsequently announced that final guidance as to how this will be implemented and what specifically constitutes a mass gathering will be issued on Monday (16/3/2020).

Capital Theatres continues to operate as usual until this official guidance has been published and at which point, we will act appropriately on the government’s advice.

Ticket refunds

All Edinburgh Theatre has contacted all the main venues regarding their Covid-19 policy and particularly their attitude to any refunds for those who have to cancel their seats due to self-isolation.

With the situation ongoing, companies are meeting through the day to sort out their individual responses.

According to the Assembly Roxy, they are currently “taking refund queries on a case by case basis at the moment, but we may refund if people are self isolating.”

Our advice to anyone who is self-isolation and who therefore will not be able to attend a performance is to contact the relevant box office and explain the situation.

Regarding Sasha Velour, the Usher Hall website says: “For guests who have purchased tickets to our remaining tour dates, we will have replacement dates to you as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience as we reschedule. Further information will be released as soon as it is available.”


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Comments (2)

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  1. Moira Moyes says:

    It’s not just audience capacity. Add in cast members , crew and FOH staff. It quickly adds up.

  2. Suzanne Senior says:

    Have you seen EPT’s arrangements for Men Should Weep at the Churchill? A lot of pre and post-play handwashing and sanitising of surfaces is promised.