Creating COVID-safe audience participation on stage

How does an production that’s reliant on intimacy and audience participation adapt to COVID-safe protocols?
A gender diverse group of cabaret artists.

On the eve of a UK tour, James Welsby, the founder and Artistic Director of cabaret-burleseque troupe YUMMY, is reflecting on some of the once-traditional aspects of their shows that will no longer be possible because of COVID-19.

‘We certainly won’t be moving through the audience and climbing over people like we used to, and unfortunately I can’t choose my audience fave and make out with them anymore either – but we’ll just relegate that to a golden era in history and look back fondly,’ he laughed.

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Richard Watts OAM is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, a Melbourne Fringe Festival Living Legend, and was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize in 2020. In 2021 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Green Room Awards Association. Most recently, Richard received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in June 2024. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts