Creating COVID-safe audience participation on stage

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

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 is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts