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FAQs: Keeping You Safe Image: three masks

FAQs: Keeping You Safe

9th December 2021

We are thrilled to welcome you back to The Courtyard. While it is very exciting to be able to finally bring back live shows and films at full capacity, customer and staff safety is still of utmost importance to us.

On this page you can find out more about what we’re doing to keep you safe. Along with what to expect from us, and what we ask of you as it stands with Government guidance.

Our staff will be continuing with other precautions, such as deep cleaning touch points, wearing face coverings and regular testing.

We strongly urge all our customers to take extra care in other areas such as:

  • Signing up for lateral flow testing, and ensuring a negative test at least 48hours before arriving at The Courtyard
  • Using hand sanitiser at regular intervals
  • Checking in via the NHS Test and Trace App
  • Wearing a face covering throughout your visit
  • Choosing e-tickets where possible to limit contact
  • Using contactless payment wherever possible

We will try to keep this page as up to date as possible, so you can check back for the latest guidance closer to your visit.

FAQs: Keeping You Safe

The Courtyard has put measures in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19, complying with Government guidelines.

For the comfort and reassurance of all our guests, staff and volunteers, we kindly request that, where possible, all audience members take a COVID lateral flow test before their visit to the theatre.

Do I have to wear a face covering?

Yes, unless exempt. The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. From Friday 10 December 2021 the public, and staff in public facing areas, are required to wear face coverings in theatres and cinemas. We appreciate your co-operation in keeping everybody safe.

Are you implementing social distancing?

While we recognise the continued need for caution it is not financially viable for The Courtyard, or the organisations programmed, to remain open at a restricted capacity. From September 2021, the majority of our programme will be sold without restrictions.

Socially distanced seating will be available for selected events where possible. These will be clearly marked in our guides and on our website, or ask our Box Office team.

View the list of upcoming Social Distanced events here.

When booking for such events the seating plan will distance you from others by at least 1metre+. There are two types of seating arrangements:

Bubble Seating: Where you can choose your seats based on your group size. This can be more restrictive for us as we must try to put in a range of group sizes to cater for customers.

Auto-distancing: Where you select your group size of 1-6 tickets and you will be allocated the best available tickets. Our system ‘auto-distances’ you from others who have already booked.  Auto-distancing events helps us to maximise how many people we can fit in to the auditorium with the correct distances in place.

We want to remain accessible, and realise there may be people who wish to return to The Courtyard who are unable to be vaccinated, or are particularly vulnerable. If you fall in to either category, do call our Box Office on 01432 340555 and we will try to accommodate your visit by giving you necessary space around you where possible. (This cannot be guaranteed and is ultimately decided by the individual show).

Why isn’t all of your programme sold with socially distanced seating?

After what has been an extremely difficult 18months for The Courtyard, the lifting of restrictions mean that we are now able to begin on the road to recovery. It is essential for us to increase our capacities to ensure The Courtyard’s financial future.

We understand that not all of our audiences will feel comfortable with this straight away, and where possible, we will include social distanced options.

The majority of our live programme consists of one night events, which need to be financially viable for both The Courtyard and the visiting company. This means we are unable to continue restricted capacities in to Autumn. The Courtyard’s take from each show is around 15-20%.

We have fully risk assessed this decision, and with the successful roll out of the vaccination, believe this to be the only viable option for us going forward.

Everyone has a very different take on the ongoing pandemic and we are trying to find the right balance for our visitors and staff safety and business continuity.

We want to remain accessible, and realise there may be people who wish to return to The Courtyard who are unable to be vaccinated, or are particularly vulnerable. If you fall in to either category, do call our Box Office on 01432 340555 and we will try to accommodate your visit by giving you necessary space around you where possible. (This cannot be guaranteed and is ultimately decided by the individual show).

You may also wish to book Box seats in the side galleries, as these have more space around them.

We urge all of our visitors to follow the guidance outlined at the top of this page to minimise the risk of exposure. 

Do I need to collect my tickets?

We are encouraging all customers to use E-tickets or Print-at-Home tickets to minimise contact between customers and staff. You will receive your ticket via email as soon as your booking is confirmed.

How can I pay for my tickets or food?

All payment forms are accepted as usual but we encourage contactless card payments where possible.

What time should we arrive?

Doors for live shows will open 30 minutes prior to advertised start times. For films, they will open 20 minutes prior to the advertised start time.

If you have a booking in one of our restaurants before a show or film, please arrive as close to the booked time as possible to ensure enough time to serve you prior to the event start.

What if I am feeling unwell or showing symptoms of Coronavirus?

If you have any coronavirus symptoms, you must not attend the venue in line with government guidelines.

If you show symptoms prior to attending an event for which you have tickets. Or you/a member of your household tests positive for Coronavirus, please do not attend and contact Box Office on 01432 340555. Let us know as early as possible before the event. Where possible we will move your booking or credit the value of your tickets to your account so that you can use it on future ticket purchases.

Refunds cannot be given in this circumstance, unless you have purchased TicketPlan Protection at the time of booking.

What happens if I test positive before arriving or have been told to self-isolate?

We encourage all our customers to sign up for regular lateral flow tests. If unable to attend due to a positive test or having to self-isolate we will happily move your ticket to another date where possible. Otherwise, the booker will be credited the value of your ticket. Refunds cannot be given in this circumstance unless you have purchased TicketPlan Protection at the time of booking.

Do I have to give you my details?

We encourage all our customers to leave their information to support the government’s Test and Trace efforts. The fastest way to do this is for everyone in your party to download the NHS Test and Trace app now. Then simply check in when you arrive at The Courtyard.

Alternatively, paper forms are available. These should be completed and returned to a member of staff at the start of your visit.

In accordance with government guidelines, this data will be stored for 21 days under GDPR.

Are your staff being tested?

We are taking part in government “workplace collect” testing and have asked all staff to undergo Coronavirus testing a minimum of twice per week.

Where can I sanitise my hands?

There are sanitisation stations located throughout the building. Please sanitise your hands on arrival and regularly throughout your visit.

Is the building ventilated?

Both of our performance spaces are ventilated via a Termodeck system using a fresh air feed directly sourced from outside the building. Air from outside is drawn in through a filtration system, then pumped into both the Main House and Studio Theatre through grates underneath the raked seating. The air is heated in winter months.

Used air is then extracted via ducts situated in various strategic points, where the level of CO2 present is checked and regulated automatically.

During times where a space is in use but is not open to the public these areas are fully ventilated using doors which open directly outside.

Our teaching spaces (Garrick Room and Nell Gwynne Studio) benefit from purpose built air conditioning, extraction and filtration systems. Air in these spaces is recycled every 10 minutes and the spaces are designated ‘Covid safe”.

All of our other spaces have windows and/or external doors.

How often is the building cleaned?

The building is kept to a high standard of cleanliness, all touch points are cleaned regularly. Tables are cleaned between bookings and auditoria between performances.