The Australian production of Frozen will now play to 85 percent capacity at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre when it opens in December after getting the OK from New South Wales’ Health Minister Brad Hazzard. As previously announced, the production was originally set to open in July but pushed back due to the pandemic.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the move to expand capacity is an attempt to inject some financial viability to an arts and culture industry ravaged by shutdowns or audience caps, but so far is the exception to a rule rather than a new standard.
Venues are currently limited to 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 1,000 people for any seated or ticketed event, or one person per four square meters. As has become the norm worldwide, masks are required for most patrons (children under the age of 12 are exempted) and audience traffic flow protocols will help enforce social distancing.
While the Capitol, owned by Foundation Theatres, can move forward with opening next month, other productions and performance groups were left waiting for approval. Pippin at the Lyric Theatre (also owned by Foundation) and a string holiday concerts at City Recital Hall with Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra are still waiting to hear back from NSW’s ministry in regards to reopening.
After Broadway shutdown in March due to the coronavirus, Disney Theatrical Group announced it would not reopen Frozen on the Main Stem but focus instead on a national tour and international productions of the property, which also include a West End bow.