Health Tips: Best Practices for Audiences, Artists, and Companies
Whether it's the flu, coronavirus, or the common cold, it's always a good idea to implement these best practices for the health of you and those around you. Click below for your customized tips.
You love going to live performances, but also want to stay healthy. Practice these health tips for an enjoyable experience (and peace of mind) when you attend that next performance!
1. Wash Your Hands.
It's the most basic and effective practice out there. Wash them before you leave the house, after you use the bathroom, and before you eat anything. You'll prevent the spread of germs and keep surfaces clean for your fellow audience members.
2. Bring Travel Tissues.
There's nothing worse than having a big snotty sneeze or mucus-y cough with nothing to catch all that flying debris. Whether they're in a cute little package, or a wad you pulled from the box, travel tissues are one of those items where it's better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
3. Choose Carefully at Concessions.
Maybe don't go for the unwrapped goodies, or the drinks poured into the open cups. Bottles and wrappers keep your food items germ free and fresh. Still feeling uneasy about it? Skip concessions altogether.
4. Wear Opera Gloves.
Don't deny health professionals their plastic/rubber gloves just because you don't want to touch surfaces. Grab you a pair of opera gloves instead! Julia Roberts made them oh-so-fashionable in Pretty Woman. It's time to bring those lengthy hand covers back into vogue! (Just be sure to pop them in the wash between uses).
5. Feeling Sick? Stay Home.
It's not worth it for you to put strain on your body by going out in public, and, to be honest, nobody wants your germs. The audience, the cast, and the crew will all thank you for selflessly considering their health and choosing to stay home if you're not feeling well.
You have the tremendous task of performing shows multiple nights a week for several weeks at a time, and then usually jumping right into your next contract as soon as that show closes. You don't have time to be sick as it could not only cost you work and pay, but cost the company you are working for time and money. Follow these basic health tips to stay performance-ready.
1. Wash Your Hands.
Pretty simple. Sing happy birthday twice and scrub the bejeezus out of your hands, wrists, and lower forearms to remove unwanted germs. Do this before you eat, after you use the bathroom, and whenever your hands feel grimey. Got cracked skin? Invest in some gentle, cheap lotion from your local Walgreens or CVS.
2. Drink Your Water, People.
As a performer, you're already guzzling 3-4 times as much water as the average person. Keep up this awesome habit. You're body and immune system will thank you for it. Traveling a lot for gigs? Be sure to stay on top of your hydration and maybe even consume more if you're spending extensive time in planes where the recycled air can dry you out.
3. Get Your Vitamin C.
Eat oranges, drink Emergen-C, or chew a Vitamin C gummy. While Vitamin C may not be able to do much once you have a cold, it will definitely help ward off the sickies if taken regularly.
"Take Vitamin C AND Zinc!" - Mariah Chase
4. SLEEP. SLEEP. SLEEP.
A performer's life is a candle burnt at both ends. But you've got to make the effort to get a good 8 hours (or whatever your body needs) every night. Keep the length and the time of day you sleep at as consistent as possible. A sleep-deprived body is susceptible to any viruses or germs floating around.
5. Skip the After Parties.
Tying in with number 4, consider skipping the after parties. We know, we know, that's where the socializing and networking happen, and, YES, you absolutely deserve to cut loose after a grueling performance, but it could cost you your health if you're not getting enough sleep, weakening your immune system with alcoholic drinks, and you're in close proximity/touching strangers who may not have as pristine hygiene as you.
6. Don't Shake Hands in Receiving Lines.
If you're working for a company that has the traiditional recieving line at the end of a performance for the audience members to meet the artists, graciously abstain from shaking hands. You can keep your hands folded neatly in front of you (or behind you), and accept the patrons' compliments and gratitude with a smile and simple head bow. Unable to avoid the handshake? Refer to tip number 1 and wash your hands after the receiving line BUT BEFORE you start taking off your makeup and touching your face.
7. Don't Share Makeup.
Speaking of makeup - don't share it. Stage makeup can be very expensive, but it's not nearly as costly as those health care copays, prescriptions, and trips to the doctor (just considering costs if you HAVE health insurance...).
The show must go on, but your company can be a safehaven of healthy practices by utilizing some of the tips below.
1. Wipe Everything Down.
Yes, it's time consuming and labor intensive, but by wiping down all of your door handles, chairs, music stands, and countertops, you are not only preventing the spread of germs, you are telling your audience members and artists that you value their health.
"We are bleach wiping all touched surfaces before performances and all employees and ushers wearing gloves to pass out tickets, programs, concessions. Giant hand sanitizer at the box office and kleenex everywhere." - Annie Freres, Germantown Community Theatre
2. Have Tissues Easily Accesible.
Have them backstage, in the lobby, and maybe even every couple of seats in the house. Your audience will thank you for it. Just make sure you have trash receptacles that are accessible and easy to find so that used tissues aren't left all over the place, creating another germy problem.
3. Space Chairs Further Apart.
Now, this tip isn't possible for all venues, but if you have seating that can be moved, consider spacing the chairs a few inches apart (6 - 12 inches). Audience members will feel better if they aren't right on top of the well-meaning man who is desperately trying not to hack up a lung in the middle of the first act.
4. Avoid Buffet Style Food Receptions.
Instead, have volunteers or catering staff serve the food to your patrons as they walk down the line, or do a plated sit-down dinner. If the spread of germs is a major concern, consider skipping food receptions all together.
5. Don't Recycle Programs.
We all want to save the planet (and a few dollars) with our productions, but recycling programs will increase the risk of spreading germs from one audience group to the next. Not to mention, it exposes your ushers, staff members, or volunteers to unnecessary germs when they are handling the used programs.
6. Use Online Programs.
Save money, save some trees, and prevent the spread of germs by making your programs available online in a PDF format for people to download onto their phone or iPad.
7. Live Stream Your Events.
Extremely worried about the health of your audience and artist, or has your venue been forced to close due to illness? Consider live streaming your event on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or your website! Technology is amazing and allows us to continue to share our performances even if we can't have a "live" audience.
Do you have other health tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have them featured in this blog and on our social media platforms!