White Theatre at Jewish Community Center institutes COVID-19 vaccine policy ahead of new season

White Theatre

The White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park will require audience members to prove they are either fully vaccinated or show a proof of negative COVID test in order to attend the theatre. Other performance venues in Johnson County have enacted similar policies in recent months. Above, volunteer performers rehearse for the White Theatre's first show of the 2021-22 season, "Something Rotten." Image via White Theatre's Facebook page.

While many businesses in the Johnson County area are opening up once more since the start of the pandemic, it is not without precautions. And that is particularly true for performing arts.

The latest venue to announce rules around COVID-19 vaccinations is The White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park.

Officials there announced this week ahead of the start of a new season of live, in-person performances that audience members, regardless of age, must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to attend.

Theater officials say “fully vaccinated” means that a guest has received their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days before a performance date.

In order to prove their vaccination status, guests will be asked to present either a vaccine card or the picture of their card at the door.

Officials say proof of a negative test can be a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed by a medical provider with 72 hours of the performance start time. Also, a negative rapid antigen test can be taken within 6 hours of the performance start time in order to receive admittance.

Any negative test used to attend a show must must clearly show the date and time of the test on the results, theater officials say.

Additionally, guests will continue to be required to wear masks while in attendance unless actively eating or drinking.

“This policy aligns with what other theatres are doing nationwide, and ensures that we are doing everything possible to protect the health of our audiences, staff, and our volunteer performers” said Keith Wiedenkeller, Direct or Arts and Culture for The J, and Managing Artistic Director of The White Theatre.

The policy will apply to all regular season, public ticketed events at the White Theatre, and will be in effect throughout the 2021-22 season for the theatre.

The season begins Wednesday, Nov. 6, with a performance of “Something Rotten,” a Shakespeare-inspired musical comedy.

Other theaters’ policies

The White Theatre is not alone in its decision to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Other small theaters and performance venues in Johnson County have instituted similar policies.

Both the Aztec Shawnee Theater and the Olathe Civic Theatre announced within the last few months similar COVID vaccination protocols to attend their showings this year.

“It’s the decision to reopen combined with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and its variants,” the Olathe Civic Theatre said in a release. “The board is working to maintain the goal of ensuring the safety of our actors, crews, volunteers, and patrons.”

Several other local venues, including the Threatre at the Arts and Heritage Center and New Theatre and Restaurant in Overland Park, are also continuing to take precautions by strongly recommending patrons wear masks.

The theater located at Johnson County Community College is mandating those who attend must be fully masked at all times, in compliance with a campus-wide policy.