Royal Shakespeare Company brings back mandatory face coverings for audiences

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Bankside, south London.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Bankside, south London. Credit: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Bankside, south London.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has re-introduced mandatory face coverings which must be worn in the theatre and during performances.

The RSC announced that face coverings will be mandatory from Tuesday, following new Government advice announced over the weekend.

Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director said: “We have taken this decision in light of feedback from audiences, staff and our acting company, and in response to new Government guidelines introduced.

“Our priority is creating the safest and most comfortable environment for people to work in and visit, and we want to do all we can to ensure that we do not have to cancel performances and disappoint our audiences.

“Our ventilation systems, especially within the Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium are extremely effective, so audiences should feel confident in coming to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

“We have thousands of people due to come to see The Magician’s Elephant over the coming weeks, or visiting our shop, restaurant and cafe, and we are looking forward to welcoming them.”

Exemptions to the policy, that mandates face coverings when visiting the Royal Shakespeare Theatre building and during performances, are for those under 12 years old and when eating or drinking.

Ticket bookers unable to comply with the new requirements will be offered a refund and the arrangements will be reviewed in line with Government timings, currently three weeks from Monday.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, situated on the bank of the River Thames in London, also states on its website that those over the age of 11 are “strongly encouraged” to wear a face covering for the duration of the visit.

The theatre’s artistic director, Michelle Terry, added: “We are asking all our audiences to wear masks for the duration of our productions as we move into our indoor candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for the winter.

“We are also requesting proof of full Covid-19 vaccination status or a negative lateral flow test (taken within 48hrs of arrival).

“This is for the safety of all our audiences, staff, and artists, and a necessary adaptation to keep our doors open and plays running throughout the season ahead.

“We hope our audiences feel welcome and safe to enjoy the escape, inspiration and joy that live theatre can bring.”