Closed doors at Amsterdam theaters: ‘performing for thirty people is not an option’

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At the end of the afternoon on Tuesday there was nothing for the theaters in Amsterdam to do but cancel all performances of that evening. Spectators were emailed or informed via social media that the doors remained closed that evening due to the new corona rules. Anyone who did show up was stopped at the door.

Due to the new rules that took effect on Tuesday at 6 p.m., a maximum of thirty visitors may come per room. Buildings of great cultural importance may be excluded after consultation with the Safety Regions. This exception was a good reason for the cultural and creative sector task force to write a letter to Hubert Bruls, the chairman of the Safety Regions. It asked to make an exception for “the 335 stages and 196 cinemas and film theaters in our country, whose protocols have been approved before”.

“We understand that the Safety Regions currently have bigger issues on their plate, which is why we proposed to resolve this nationally,” says Siebe Weide, deputy director of the Association of Theater and Concert Hall Directors and spokesperson for the task force. To no avail: an answer was not forthcoming and per municipality it was examined what was and was not possible. On Tuesday afternoon it appeared that no exception was made for the Amsterdam region because this was “unjustified”.

Waited as long as possible

They immediately set to work at the DeLaMar Theater. “We had waited as long as possible,” says Sophie Braam. When it became known that the exemption was not coming, both performances were canceled. Performing for thirty people was not an option, says Braam. “In that case, the exploitation cannot be completed.” DeLaMar had a sold-out hall – that was for 250 people, which could accommodate 950 people for corona. “There is also a practical problem. How do you choose thirty men out of 250 with a ticket? ” If there is no exemption at all, the DeLaMar Theater will close in the near future.

Other cities were spared the cancellation of performances. In The Hague and Utrecht, for example, the municipalities announced that they would not adhere strictly to the requirement of thirty people per room until the Safety Regions had made a final decision.

Also read: All new measures against the corona virus in a row

Jeroen Bartelse, director of TivoliVredenburg, is relieved that the large-scale literary festival ILFU can continue as usual, where the American author Lionel Shriver will perform on Tuesday. “The request for a collective exemption, the Security Regions had clearly never had to deal with it,” he says. “We wait. Not much was programmed nationwide on Tuesday evenings, certainly not during corona time. ” According to Bartelse, the fact that the municipalities outside Amsterdam are lenient is “because there have not been many infections in theaters. We are actually the holiest bean in the classroom. ”





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