As theatres across the UK prepare for a summer of open-air productions following the Covid lockdown, we explain what insurance performers might need when performing outside.

theatre freelancers outdoor insurance

While outdoor theatre is nothing new, this year is expected to see a big rise in open-air productions. With theatres still closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many are making plans to put on shows in the great outdoors this summer as lockdown restrictions ease.

Last week it was reported that east London’s Arcola Theatre have begun building an outdoor stage to seat around 80 people close to their main indoor location. With both of the Arcola’s two indoor stages closed for the foreseeable future, executive director Ben Todd and his team have hit upon the idea of staging outdoor performances to pull in the crowds in a Covid-friendly way.

Todd said: “That need to move outside was a way of saying, ‘Let’s do something proactive towards taking some control of our destiny’, rather than sitting there praying for Covid to improve, [or] the government to allow us, and to hope that we can then suddenly move back indoors.”

The Arcola have released the full plans for their outdoor stage, bar and artistic hub, which you can see here: https://www.arcolatheatre.com/outside/

As well as the Arcola, theatre-makers across the UK are gearing up for a summer of outdoor shows, which are likely to be granted permission to go ahead before indoor performances are allowed. With theatre fans starved of seeing shows for the past year, this summer could well see an explosion of open-air productions.

All of this is great news for the thousands of UK freelancers who work in the theatre industry – from actors and performers to sound designers, lighting engineers, costume designers, makeup artists and more – all of whom have struggled for work during the pandemic.

With a summer of outdoor theatre in prospect, many creative freelancers in the theatre sector may need to review their insurance needs to make sure they have adequate cover in place. Below we have listed some of the most common forms of insurance required by outdoor performers and theatre workers.

If you have any questions or require more specific advice about your insurance needs, you can get in touch with us directly here.

Public liability insurance

In a nutshell, public liability insurance can cover the cost of compensation and/or defence costs if you were to cause injury to a member of the public or damage to their property.

Putting on an outdoor production will bring with it a host of risks, such as equipment falling over and injuring a member of the audience, so it is important that you have cover in place in case an accident happens.

It is not a legal requirement to have public liability, although theatre workers and performers/entertainers will often be asked to show they have cover in place before taking on a job.

To find out more about public liability insurance, read our guide: What is Public Liability Insurance?

We offer public liability insurance on a short-term basis – so you only need to pay for the cover you need for specific jobs. You can buy public liability for as little as one day here: Short-term public liability insurance

Equipment insurance

If you work using your own equipment, then outdoor performances can pose extra risks such as accidental damage, weather damage, theft or loss. You could be a makeup artist needing cover for your specialist kit, or a photographer or videographer using your own expensive recording equipment.

If you are using hired equipment during the performance you may also need to take out cover while you are responsible for it.

To find out more about equipment insurance, read our guide: Equipment insurance for freelancers

With Create you can choose the right level of cover for your equipment, from £5k all the way up to £50k.

Freelance insurance tailored to you

Create Insurance offers specialist insurance cover for freelancers in the creative industries – get instant cover on public liability, professional indemnity, equipment insurance and more.

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