High School Theater During the Pandemic: Audience Edition

How Whitefish Bay and other schools keep their audience present and safe during the pandemic

High School Theater During the Pandemic: Audience Edition

Anavi Prakash, Reporter

Covid-19 put everything to a standstill in March of last year, including high school productions. As the new school year began, several schools created ways for their shows to go on. However, several schools saw the risk as too high, and have yet to restart productions. 

One of the best parts of a show, for cast, crew, and pit alike, is having an audience. However, given these uncertain times, having a full audience is incredibly risky. That’s why several schools have turned their shows over to a live-stream, not only allowing all theater fans to enjoy the show, but giving an opportunity to far away family members to watch as well, effectively widening their audience. 

The following information has been compiled from several different schools in the North Shore’s perspectives, and is meant to serve as a guide for those schools who are considering restarting their shows.  


Live Streams

Nicolet has decided to film their musical, Peter Pan, once, and then have that filming available for one weekend, allowing anyone who wants to watch it to see it. This allows large amounts of safety for everyone, as filming only once decreases the amount of time cast, crew, and pit members have to spend together, which decreases illness risks. This was also the approach used for their fall show.  

Whitefish Bay, although having a live stream, filmed it and streamed it in real time, allowing cast and crew members to do the show several times, as they would in a ‘normal’ year. 


Live Audience 

Along with the live stream, Whitefish Bay High School also incorporated a different approach for their fall productions. One of their fall shows, Hamlette, a one act, utilized fewer cast and crew members. Two family members per person were allowed in the auditorium. For the main fall production, Almost, Maine, which needed more people, each participant was allowed one family member each show. 

To maintain distance and ensure the safety of the audience, cast, and crew members, the majority of each row of seats was taped off, and seating between rows was staggered, ensuring six feet of distance or more between each audience member, and masks were required for everyone. 


Across the board, having an audience, whether in person or online, is possible. In times like these, live streams are useful not only as a way to showcase students’ talents, but also to expand audiences for the shows. No matter how an audience is created, however, Whitefish Bay and Nicolet have shown that it is possible, while being safe in the process.

A big thank you to Ms. Kind-Keppel from Whitefish Bay, and Ms. Anderle from Nicolet for sharing their audience procedures for their productions!