New Jersey’s Theatres Take the Pledge and Put Safety Center Stage as They
Invite Audiences Back to Long-Awaited In-Person Performances
30 Theatres Announce Proof-of-Vaccination Policy
New Jersey Theatre Alliance (“The Alliance”), one of the state’s largest arts service organizations, announces its re-opening campaign, “Opening Night, Opening Right” as New Jersey theaters have opened back up after being closed to in-person performances for more than a year.
Throughout the pandemic, The Alliance and their theatre members have come together to outline guidelines to protect the health and safety of all who come through their doors, onto their stages, or work within their organizations.
All 40 members of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance as well as several of the state’s presenting venues have taken the Opening Night, Opening Right pledge to follow the most current medical advice, meeting or exceeding all local and national safety guidelines, such as:
✔ Deep cleaning and disinfecting before all performances
✔ Clearly communicated mask policy
✔ Contactless transactions available
✔ Health screening before entry
✔ Flexible ticket policies for anyone feeling ill or at risk due to COVID-19 variants
✔ Sanitation stations for all patrons and staff
The following 25 New Jersey Theatre Alliance member theatre companies have also collectively announced that they will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test and indoor masking at their venue:
Art House Productions (Jersey City), Axelrod Performing Arts Center (Deal); Bucks County Playhouse (New Hope/Lambertville); Crossroads Festival Theatre (New Brunswick); Eagle Theatre (Hammonton); East Lynne Theatre Company (West Cape May); Epic Actor's Workshop (Old Bridge); George Street Playhouse (New Brunswick); Hudson Theatre Works (Weehawken); Jersey City Theater Center (Jersey City); Luna Stage (West Orange); McCarter Theatre Center (Princeton); Mile Square Theatre (Hoboken); The New Jersey Play Lab (Randolph); New Jersey Repertory Company (Long Branch); Paper Mill Playhouse (Milburn); Passage Theatre Company (Trenton); Pushcart Players (Verona); The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (Madison); Speranza Theatre Company (Jersey City); Surflight Theatre (Beach Haven), Women's Theatre Company (Lake Hiawatha); Vanguard Theater Company (Montclair); and Vivid Stages (formerly Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, Summit). American Theater Group, which is affiliated with Fellowship Village Senior Living Center of Basking Ridge, will require proof of vaccination with no exceptions.
The following 5 presenting venues, which have partnered with New Jersey Theatre Alliance on their re-opening efforts have announced that they will adopt the announced policy as well:
Count Basie Center for the Arts (Red Bank), Mayo Performing Arts Center (Morristown); New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (New Brunswick); South Orange Performing Arts Center (South Orange); and State Theatre New Jersey (New Brunswick).
Audience members over the age of 12 will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when entering these venues. Exceptions will be made for children under 12 and people with a medical or religious exemption to vaccination. These guests must show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 36 hours of the performance time or a negative antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance time. All guests, regardless of age or vaccination status, will be required to wear masks while inside the theatre building.
These guidelines will go into effect immediately and will be updated as state and federal guidance develops. Before your visit, please check your theatre’s website for their specific policies and guidelines, as they may vary between venues.
"The professional theatre community in New Jersey has always been a collaborative one, and we have seen unprecedented engagement and cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic," said John McEwen, Executive Director of New Jersey Theatre Alliance. "The unified statement of the safety Pledge and the decision by many theatres to require proof of vaccination for audience members were made with great care, thought, and guidance from medical experts. I am pleased to see the member theatres of New Jersey Theatre Alliance working together to make their return to live performance a safe and joyful experience for all.” According to a WolfBrown Survey conducted in July 2021, 95% of NJ theatergoers are now partially or fully vaccinated and continue to rise. Similarly, 95% of audience members pledge to cooperate with public safety standards overall.
Along with the study, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance has enlisted the guidance and help from known expert in the field, Dr. Stuart Weiss. He has been working closely with The Alliance since early 2020, to ensure every measure taken by the member organizations is grounded in medical authority.
"Working with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance to bring performances back to New Jersey has been extremely rewarding both personally and professionally. Being a theater lover myself, I know how crucial the arts are to the happiness and wellbeing of multitudes of people. Working with one of only a few statewide alliances in the country that has a well-organized coordinated effort across multiple venues has allowed the art community to come together to create safe performance spaces across the state. Throughout the year, theatre managers from member theatres and presenting venue partners have stayed focused on their work and together with my guidance, brought performances back to New Jersey quickly and safely”, says Dr. Weiss.
Dr. Weiss, MD, FACEP, FAAP, CBCP, an internationally known expert in the fields of disaster and pandemic planning for large gatherings , is the founder of Intelligent Crowd Solutions, a consulting company specializing in business continuity planning, exercise development, and crisis management for special event and event production clients.
If you want to be vaccinated and haven’t yet been able to access that resource, please visit https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine or call 855-568-0545 to learn about available appointments, senior support, a list of pop-up vaccination events in the state, appointments for homebound individuals, and information on how to get a free ride to your vaccination appointment. Additionally, many pharmacies in New Jersey offer walk-in vaccinations.
All theatres in the New Jersey Theatre Alliance are committed to safety, but specific policies vary per venue.
Visit openingright.com for more information on the campaign and to take your own Opening Night, Opening Right Theatre Lover’s Pledge.
The Opening Night, Opening Right Campaign is supported by Dr. Joan H. Rechnitz, Amazon, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Grunin Foundation, New Jersey Department of State Division of Travel and Tourism, and the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund.