Rio Scarcelli | staff writer
This summer began Pittsburgh’s cultural reawakening as performing arts centers hosted outdoor shows and events following CDC guidelines. Pittsburgh Cultural Trusts’ new plan is to take the entertainment back onto the stage for the 2021-22 season.
“I felt like not having that same cultural experience when coming to Pittsburgh was a detriment,” said sophomore music education major Abby Hill. “Part of looking at schools was the excitement of the area around me to be able to see shows and other performances, so I felt like I missed out during that time.”
Many people, including Hill, found alternatives to seeing a typical show such as concerts in the park or limited-performer acts.
Venues within the Pittsburgh Cultural District are taking the charge to protect their cast, crew and audience through their new vaccination policy. According to their website, occurring Sept. 17 through at least Nov. 30, the Benedum will be requiring proof of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson full vaccine coverage for show-goers above the age of 12.
Exceptions to this rule are limited to those under 12-years-old, those with medical conditions or religious/philosophical beliefs contradictory to receiving vaccination. Instead, these members must show either a negative Covid-19 antigen test 24 hours before a performance or a Covid-19 PCR test 72 hours before.
For quality assurance, guests above the age of 18 must provide a valid photo ID with individuals below 18 using school or government issued photo IDs. All of this documentation is required to have access to the Benedum alone.
Masks are entirely dependent on Allegheny County’s transmission rate. If the area is considered to be in a “substantial” or “high” transmission rate masks are to be worn by all audience members.
“With the catch 72-hour testing for non-vaccinated audiences, that plus masks makes me feel I have enough of a safety net to be comfortable going,” Hill said.
While the corporation and consumers do their part in keeping Pittsburgh safe, the Benedum has been modified in its own way to provide a healthy environment. It has implemented contactless ticketing, new HVAC air systems and is even the first performing arts center in Pennsylvania to receive Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) Star Facility Accreditation for intensive cleaning.
All of these measures have been put in place to bring back a normalcy to the culture of performance.
Up next for the Benedum is the tour of Broadway’s The Band’s Visit starting Oct. 28.
“I am so happy to hear that this vaccination policy has rolled out so soon, especially given that some theatres are not having indoor seasons or even a season at all,” Hill stated. “All of these precautions make me feel safe and excited to experience the culture Pittsburgh has to offer.”