The Central Square Business Improvement District (BID) has responded to the void of cultural activities in the city with Starlight Square, a temporary, outdoor installation that is home to the Central Square Cultural District Partners: Central Square Theater, The Dance Complex, and ImprovBoston. Additionally, the Community Arts Center, Margaret Fuller House, the local A.M.E. churches and other arts and educational groups are participating in programming at Starlight Square. Starlight Square is the only greater Boston outdoor performance space that has been specially designed for the MA guidelines for physical distancing and to minimize the risk of COVID-19.
This unique outdoor space will run from August 11 to October 31, 2020. All performances run between 60 and 90 minutes with no intermission. All Cultural District Partner events are free.
Our Priority: We Must Keep Each Other Safe
1. The Social Contract
Collaboration with our creative teams will help instill a culture of trust and safety. Starlight’s Cultural Partners are explicit in their contracts and riders with their creative teams about our expectations for how they will help participate in the health and safety of other rehearsal/performance participants, and what we will do to keep them safe. Our Patrons are also part of the Social Contract. Read the Social Contract. The Social Contract will be posted on each Cultural Partner and Starlight’s website and will be linked off every event page as well as included in the ticket confirmation email. A patron who purchases a ticket is committing to abide by the rules set forth.
Our protocols will be rigorously adhered to AND allowed to evolve as we learn more through experience, changing health guidelines and ongoing collaboration with our artist family.
All creative team members will engage in a pre-rehearsal/performance walkthrough of the performance space so that they can familiarize themselves with the space and notify the Cultural Partners of any potential risks they foresee that may not have been previously considered. That said, Starlight and the Cultural Partners will work diligently with our staff to mitigate any potential risks before anyone involved with the production steps foot into the rehearsal/performance space. It is our utmost concern that our artists feel safe in any space they rehearse or perform in and we will orchestrate regular check-ins with all members of the production to make sure that all concerns are addressed and handled promptly.
We will constantly monitor the progress of the virus to prepare for any potential changes that may create additional risk to our artists or cause us to have to halt production. Staff will be monitoring daily information produced by state and federal government agencies, healthcare providers, and the union. Additionally, Central Square Theater medical consultant, Dr. Peter Hoenig will be on call for questions or concerns as they arise or to help modify the protocols as things change.
2. Masks and Physical Distancing for Performers:
All participants in a rehearsal/performance are required to wear a mask during any parts of their commute to the theater that require them to stand near or walk past other people. Rehearsal participants will be encouraged to walk or drive their vehicle to rehearsals/performances, if possible. All performers and creative team members will be required to wear masks when entering Starlight Square. Performers will be able to remove their mask for the performance while they are on stage and physically distanced by at least 6 feet. Once arriving at rehearsal a mask can only be removed after it is proven that they do not have a fever. All other rehearsal participants will wear a mask for the duration of the rehearsal/performance unless eating or drinking. If someone is eating or drinking, they are required to bring their own food and drink and asked not to share it with anyone. They also must be sure to be more than six feet away from all other rehearsal participants whenever eating or drinking.
3. Temperature check.
The Cultural Partners will require anyone participating in in-person rehearsal or performance to take their temperature before entering the space. This will be done at a designated temperature station in the Starlight Lobby, where the participant will use an EXTECH IR200 Non-Contact Forehead InfraRed Thermometer and then use provided sanitation supplies to sanitize the station. The Cultural Partners will provide training for all rehearsal and performance participants on how to use this thermometer, sanitize, and properly record their temperature each day. Anyone taking their temperature should wear a mask while doing so and may not remove their mask until after they take their temperature, sanitize the station, and move to a location where they can practice at least six feet of social distancing.
Anyone found to have a temperature of over 100°F will be sent home immediately and asked not to return to Starlight until they receive a negative test result. Any members of the cast, creative, or production team who may have come into contact with this person before they took their temperature will also be sent home and asked to follow the same procedure.
To readily identify individuals who may be infectious, the Cultural Partners will recommend all creative team members (performers, stage management, directors, and production staff) test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of any rehearsal/tech or performance week days.
Central Square Theater, as a union company, will require all Actor’s Equity Association members to be tested. Unless it is needed for contact tracing, testing information will not be shared beyond essential staff. This testing will be built into the rehearsal schedule and considered part of the performer’s weekly pay. A dated copy of a participant’s negative test results must be received before they are allowed to participate in any in-person rehearsals or performances.
In the case of a positive result, the person tested is usually notified within 24 hours. Cultural Partner’s will provide creative team members with information regarding where to find testing, testing procedures, and how to relay test results to the appropriate parties. The Broad Institute is the primary testing facility (https://covid-19-test-info.broadinstitute.org/) used in Cambridge and the surrounding environs.
If anyone begins to display symptoms (chills, coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, new loss of taste, sore throat, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, vomiting, or diarrhea) while in a rehearsal/performance the rehearsal/performance will end and anyone involved will be sent home immediately. A person with these symptoms may either self-identify or be identified by another person participating in the rehearsal/performance.
6. Sanitation and Cleaning of Starlight Spaces.
The Starlight performance space is a locked space, and will be secure from 11 PM to 8 AM each evening. The space will have thorough daily cleanings at 7:30 AM and 3:00 PM each day. Cultural Partners creative teams will only work in the space after the theater has been sanitized. FOH staff will break down and sanitize all lobby spaces each day, prior to performance. All set pieces, musical instruments, props or other items will be sanitized at the beginning and end of each rehearsal/performance. All items will be stored in a locked storage pod overnight. The Stage Manager’s booth will be sanitized daily, prior to and after each rehearsal/performance.
Performers and Stage Managers will have private access to a dressing room tent and backstage area. This area includes a private, portable restroom, which is to be used exclusively by the performers and stage management, and is cleaned/sanitized daily by the Starlight Square staff. Not all events will need to use the dressing room space.
Should someone test positive for Covid-19, the space will then be held empty for 12 hours before a sanitizing team is brought in to clean the space, and shared surfaces in particular. Once the space is deemed properly cleaned and sanitized by custodial staff, rehearsals and/or performances in which the creative team member was involved will be allowed to resume only once they have received a negative COVID-19 test result. Events that are cancelled due to COVID may not be able to be rescheduled due to the full calendar schedule.
7. Performance Area Specifics.
Performances will take place on the 40’x32’x38.5” stage in an outdoor performance temporary space designed to seat up to 136 people with appropriate social distancing called Starlight Square. Current MA guidelines prohibit more than 50 people in an outdoor gathering. The performance space consists of a trapezoidal area surrounded by 20’ tall lockable scaffolding, which contains a stage, seating risers, and chairs, and a lighting/sound grid. The risers are designed to seat people in pods with six feet of space between one pod and the next on all sides. This is achieved by two rows of raised seating with chairs and an area of floor seating with tables and chairs. Seating will be sold as general admission so that location of a patron’s seats can be determined by the size of a pod to seat patrons. There are four main access points into and out of the space, which will be regulated by the Front of House staff during performances.
8. Physical Distancing of Performers to Audience Members:
Performers have their own stage door, used exclusively by them and Stage Management. At no time will performers be less than 8 feet from patrons when entering and exiting the stage. Performers will be socially distanced from each other by at least 6-feet at all times. Additionally, Performers will be at least 10-feet from audience members during performance. If the performance includes singing, the performer will be at least 10-feet away from each other and at least 25 feet away from the nearest audience members.
9. Front-of-House Staff.
All Front of House (FOH) staff will be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.
FOH are required to wear masks when in any public space and during their commutes, in addition to weekly testing. If a staff member has suspected they have been exposed to COVID-19, they may not come in for upcoming shifts and must quarantine themselves until they can get a test and a negative result. FOH will also be required to have their temperature checked, via an EXTECH IR200 Non-Contact Forehead InfraRed Thermometer prior to starting their shift at the Temperature station at Starlight. Any FOH staff member exhibiting symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of taste, etc.) and or a temperature above 100°F, or will not be allowed in the space.