Coburg state theater in corona times: first hygiene, then art

coburg state theater in corona times: first hygiene, then art

Signs and prohibition signs everywhere await the visitors. "No entrance there is a double lane directly in front of the box office of the landestheater. Upstairs in the first tier, the no-entry signs focus on the opposite direction. "No exit" a note on a door in the auditorium as well as on the door that actually leads to the small staircase explains the story.

Signs and prohibition signs have made the landestheater coburg a real obstacle course for visitors since the re-start after the complete corona shutdown. This is not, of course, the result of harassment, but rather of the need to strictly implement the hygiene concept. Signs, boards and various barriers are used to guide the streams of visitors along cleverly devised routes and at the prescribed distance to the still strictly limited seating areas.

Strict conditions

After the reopening in mid-june, the show has been running smoothly since the start of the season at the beginning of september – albeit always under strict hygiene regulations and corresponding requirements in front of and behind the scenes. The exceptional situation has long since become a kind of new normality. But an evening at the theater is far from being normal again, and not just for the audience. Behind the scenes, too, normality in the state of exception is a permanent tour de force – a tour de force still under the auspices of short-time work for many employees, especially in the artistic field. Soloists in the theater and musical theater, chorus and orchestra are still partly in short-time work, explains fritz fromming as commercial director.

Normal adversities

For example, the number of instrumentalists allowed in the orchestra pit or on stage at concerts is still limited – the philharmonic orchestra is still not allowed to perform with a full 54-piece lineup. The choir, too, has not yet been able to demonstrate its full capabilities in a large house this season.

While theater fans line up at the box office to get their hands on some of the coveted tickets, fritz fromming and the staff behind the scenes struggle day after day with the difficulties caused by the strict hygiene regulations as well as with the quite normal adversities of everyday theater life.

Difficulties in detail

Many people have the impression that the hygiene rules were only created for the spectators, says fromming: "but that's not true. These rules affect all departments. Even the construction crew on the stage has to wear masks and keep their distance."

Because the workshops in cortendorf are relatively coarse, it is relatively easy to establish distances there, says fromming. The difficulty of dealing with the state regulations, which in bavaria are known as the "infection control acceptance ordinance" fromming's point of view, the reason for the many seats being baptized lies in the specific details.

According to fromming, precise instructions are lacking for the actual implementation. For this reason, individual decisions had to be made time and again. Particularly striking are the changes in backstage operations in the makeup department. As in the cosmetics industry, makeup artists at the landestheater are currently only allowed to work with masks on.

Each actor has also received his own make-up brush, some make-up work is now done by the actors themselves. Because distances must also be observed in make-up, the make-up times have changed, explains fromming.

Extra work at the box office

The corona crisis also means more work for the employees at the theater box office. The popular regular subscription had to be frozen for an indefinite period of time. "The meier family can no longer sit next to the muller family", says fromming. Fromming still registers a rough need for information among many theater visitors.

Outdated technology

There are also setbacks, for example in the case of cancelled performances, such as the recent postponement of the premiere of "globe songs are connected with additional expenses. In addition, the online sale of tickets is not yet possible again. At least: "we are working on it and hope that we will soon be able to do it again", says fromming.

Adherence to the distance rules and regular airing are also central aspects of the hygiene concept at the landestheater. The airing of the audience areas in particular is very important, says fromming – with inevitable effects on the pieces. How long can a play be?? There is a break? These are the questions that matter most. The air throughput is very good in purely quantitative terms, says fromming. When asked about the possibility of filtering the air appropriately, however, the fact that the building and its technology are very old came to the fore.

Influence on general reorganization

The corona crisis and the threat of airborne viruses will inevitably have an impact on plans for the interim venue called globe, as well as the general renovation of the landestheater later on. However, it is not yet possible to say exactly how this will affect the planning of the ventilation systems.

Financial impact?

More concrete at the moment is the question of the financial impact of the corona crisis on the budget of the regional theater. The extent to which revenue shortfalls will be felt will be explained by fromming in his second half-year report, probably at the next city council meeting next week. Then it will also be discussed which relief for the state theater budget is to be accounted for by the short-time work funds of the federal employment agency.

Landestheater coburg in times of the corona crisis: from spacing rules, hygiene concept and TV covid

Lockdown start of the lockdown on 11. March with the ban on all performances in the main auditorium of the landestheater, followed a few days later by the cancellation of all events, including those on the studio stage in the riding hall.

TV-covid soon after the lockdown of cultural institutions, negotiations began on a special collective bargaining agreement called TV-covid for employees in all departments of theaters – on and off stage. The TV covid is limited in time until the end of the year, but negotiations are already underway to extend the duration of this exceptional collective agreement.

Hygiene concept shortly after the lockdown, work began at the landestheater on a customized hygiene concept for the landestheater. This concept is intended to create the conditions for a re-start despite the corona crisis. Susanne schulze as head of the artistic operations office (KBB) and daniel kaiser as technical director are responsible for the development of this hygiene concept. This hygiene concept was finally approved on 15 june. June approved by the city of coburg's public order department. Already on 18. In june the first performance in the big house took place again – a performance of the sinatra evening "fly me to the moon", which had successfully premiered in the riding hall a month before the lockdown.

Distance rules also apply in the spectator area. Since the 17. July a maximum of 200 seats were allowed to be filled in the landestheater. However, this maximum number was only possible if a large number of tickets were sold to groups (maximum ten people per group). If, on the other hand, a lot of spaces are sold to individual visitors, the number of spaces actually available at any given time drops. Currently, the gross house of the landestheater is officially "sold out" with an average of 160 visitors.

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