Easing the lockdown: Performers

This page provides guidance on performing during COVID-19 in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Be aware some areas of the UK will have localised restrictions. Make sure you check the details on your government and local council pages.

We will continue to update this page as developments arise. Each of the four nations of the UK has its own powers to tackle the pandemic, including the power to restrict activities or to release them in accordance with a timetable of its own devising.


Last updated: 05 January 2021

Following the government announcement of a new lockdown period from 5 January, you can find out what we know so far on our news story.

Northern Ireland

Updated 2 December

New restrictions apply in Northern Ireland from Friday 27 November until Friday 11 December.

Concert halls and theatres are not permitted to open to the public, but are permitted to open for rehearsals or live performances without an audience.


Updated 12 November

Scotland has moved to using local protection levels. You can find out your area's level on the Scottish Government website.

Key points from the Scottish tier system that will affect choirs and groups include the following guidance for venues:

  • Level 0 allows both seated and ambulatory performances, subject to safety measures which include the ability to ensure social distancing of 2m and a capacity limit capped at 250 or lower, depending on considerations such as venue size and ventilation.
  • Level 1 allows for performances which are seated or have set places for audience members only The maximum capacity is 100 but, again, this is subject to risk assessment and safety measures.
  • Levels 2 – 4 do not allow performance venues to open for performances.
  • Indoor grouped standing events which involve spectators standing still, such as around a stage, are not permitted at any level.
  • Any level allows for broadcasts, recordings and rehearsals to take place, and for a venue to otherwise prepare for re-opening, with 2 metre physical distancing and hygiene measures in place and if the venue can comply with the requirements that are outlined in the guidance.

    Please also see the 'Playing Music' section of the guidance for the performing arts and venues for further information on steps needed whether you are working indoors or outdoors. When working outdoors, you will also need to consider the advice for outdoor performances in the events guidance.
  • Wales

    Last updated 12 November 2020

    Theatres and concert halls remain closed at present. Rehearsals can take place in line with the current guidance, which permits organised groups of 15 people indoors, and 30 people outdoors to meet subject to appropriate risk assessments and other mitigating measures, including social distancing, described in the government guidance for rehearsing and performing. Please see Sections 3.19 and 3.20 in particular.

    Individual legal advice

    If you are an ISM member, you can seek advice from our legal team on your personal situation by contacting [email protected].

    Risk assessment

    We have put together some advice on writing and sharing a risk assessment, plus a sample risk assessment document for members, designed to help you in the process of writing your own risk assessment during COVID-19.