UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre have launched a scheme they hope will give audiences confidence that venues are closely following Covid-19 guidelines.
Theatres will be able to display a See It Safely mark once they have signed up to a code of conduct and proved they are following the latest guidance.
Approved venues will receive a toolkit including the mark, which can be displayed on venues and promotional material, an animated safety video, signage and further training.
They can also sign up to an additional set of ticketing principles, guaranteeing audiences an exchange, credit voucher or refund if they are forced to cancel.
Theatres remain largely closed across the UK, with only a small number operating with vastly reduced audience numbers due to social distancing.
Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said he hoped the scheme would give audiences “peace of mind” to return to theatres.
He said: “Going to the theatre is a very organised and civilised affair mainly due to its ticketed nature (it is simple for venues to track and trace exactly who is in the building and when) and well-trained front of house staff are on hand throughout the experience to ensure that everyone is considerate and complies with the safety measures in place.
“One-way systems and strict entrance and exit areas make our venues easily adaptable to the implementation of new safety measures, such as temperature checks, contactless payments, face masks and hand sanitiser stations. There is also minimal face to face and social contact as most audiences face forward.
“We have a number of challenges to meet before the majority of our theatres can open but we are confident that, from a safety perspective, audiences and our workforce can be reassured that every measure is being addressed and we look forward to rolling out the scheme and welcoming our audiences back.
“It is very encouraging that there have been no reported cases of Covid in any of our venues that have opened so far.
“We hope that the See It Safely mark gives audiences the peace of mind to return to the live theatre that they love.”
Regent’s Park Open Air and Troubadour theatres are among those venues which have opened.
The toolkit has been accessed by 140 theatres so far.
It has been shared with other groups in the live events sector including the Association of British Orchestras, British Association of Concert Halls, Concert Promoters Association, Music Venue Trust, National Arenas Association and One Dance UK.
The Federation of Scottish Theatre will administer the campaign for its members in Scotland who do not hold a UK Theatre membership, in line with guidance from the Scottish Government.