The staff at the Berkshire Theatre Group desperately wanted the show to go on.
In March, theaters across the globe began canceling their productions, but Alex James, the company manager of the rural Massachusetts theater group, says she and her co-workers were determined to find a safe way to stage a show in the summer.
One of her colleagues came across a story about how Tyler Perry Studios planned on shooting four of its shows by creating a “Covid bubble.” During production, each show’s cast and crew would quarantine at the company’s Atlanta studio complex, creating a protective pod that would hopefully ensure people wouldn’t catch Covid-19 and spread it.
This bubble idea appealed to the Berkshire Theatre team.
“We thought that for a cast of a show that would be our best bet,” James says.
Since March, various types of Covid bubbles have popped up across the globe. They have ranged from large — enclosing vast sections of countries — to small, two or three families teaming up and assuming each others’ risk. In Connecticut, an assisted living facility owner paid his staff to live at the facility from late March until the end of May in order to protect his older residents. The NHL and NBA both resumed their seasons late in the summer by having players enter bubbles. The latter two bubbles have received significant praise for their apparent success. NHL players and staff isolated within bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto, Canada, where cases of the virus are relatively low, while the NBA’s bubble was established at Disney in Orlando, Florida — a state where the spread of the virus was rampant and thousands of people were being infected each day of the summer. Even so, both sports bubbles have succeeded and the hockey and basketball leagues have avoided the positive coronavirus cases that have hampered athletes in the MLB and the NFL.
Many public health experts applaud bubbles as a way to resume some aspects of society even as cases surge.