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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus: Appleton theater assessing concerns in survey


Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is taking the pulse of its patrons because of the coronavirus COVID-19, but not literally.

In an email to patrons, the center is asking, “Would you take this survey?”

According to the message, the questionnaire is part of an industry-wide initiative.

“The entire theater industry is actively working on the best way to move forward with live shows and events, keeping the safety of our patrons, staff, artists, crews and community at the forefront of all decisions,” the message says.

“We want to make sure we are directly addressing your priorities and concerns once we are ready to raise the curtain again. In order to better understand those concerns, we invite you to take a short survey.”

The message says the center and its partners contracted ERm Research, an independent market research agency, to conduct the survey.

The crux of the questions to patrons is, “Under what conditions would you feel comfortable returning to live performances at the center?”

The survey covers an array of questions, from country, state, age and sex, race and income – the last three including the option of “prefer not to say.”

Here is a look at some of the other areas:

+ How many times did you attend the following in 2019? (Zero to more than 10): Professional sports, movie, museum, play or musical, popular music concert, symphony, opera. One answer is slipped in to prove you are not a robot.

+ Describe the shows/performances you sought out at Fox Cities PAC. Except for “other,” 11 choices included expanding cultural horizons, entertaining, unique experience, featuring diverse performers and creating memories. The next questions asks to weight those areas as “very important” or “somewhat important.”

+ A set of questions inquires about the impact of COVID-19 on the patron’s income and future entertainment spending.

+ Another set inquires about the types of content the patron has watched/consumed, mostly from websites. The next question asks which types of the content, if any, is of most interest to the patron.

Key parts of the survey are about safety measures. In one set, responses are asked for “much more likely to attend” or “somewhat more likely to attend” for these elements:

– A third-party certification that the theater is meeting all safety requirements.

– Requiring all audience members to wear masks.

– Upgraded air filtration systems.

– Requiring six feet of distance in all lines (as for ticket, bathroom).

– Placing Plexiglass dividers between staff members and customers.

– Mandating empty seats between ticket purchasers.

– Limiting lobby access/not selling concessions.

– Fully sanitizing the auditorium between each show.

– Requiring all staff to wear masks.

– Placing plexiglass dividers between seats to divide groups.

– Increased cleaning of all common areas (bathrooms, lobby areas, etc.)

– Providing hand sanitizer.

– Limiting ticket sales to people who are deemed low-risk for spreading the virus.

– Mandatory temperature checks before entry.

– Staggering when patrons enter the theater (timed entry).

The center is presenting content virtually at this time and is closed until 2021.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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