A Safe Return

Our COVID-19 Safety Policies and Procedures

Latest as of: 3/17/21

After more than a year, we are thrilled to open our doors and welcome you back to the Commonweal! As we strive to make your theatre experience safe and comfortable, modifications must be made to our standard way of operating. This document outlines our temporary front of house and box office procedures, facilities practices, and plan for a physically distanced approach to seating in our auditorium.

All details are subject to change. Please check our website frequently for updates. Information will also be sent via News & Notes, our e-newsletter, and posted on our social media platforms. If you do not currently receive News & Notes, we highly recommend subscribing by contacting our box office, or sign up HERE. And follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—see the links at left (for desktop users) or below (for mobile users).

We appreciate your flexibility with these temporary changes. Though the details may seem complicated, we are confident that the limited attendance size will allow for a smooth “soft opening” as we gear up for larger houses later this season!

AT-A-GLANCE (For greater detail see below.)

  • Ticketing
    • Audience size is currently restricted to a maximum of 55.
    • Online ticketing has been temporarily suspended. All reservations must be made by contacting the Box Office.
    • Tickets will become available to the general public on a rolling timeline.
    • MDC and Season Pass holders will receive early access to tickets.
    • Walk-up ticketing can not be accommodated.
  • Seating
    • General admission is not permitted – seating will be assigned and entrance to the theatre will be staggered.
    • Priority and CORE MDC reserved seating has been temporarily suspended.
    • Mobility seating is very limited and must be reserved at the time reservations are made.
  • Safety
    • Masks must be worn correctly the entire time you are in the theatre, even if you are fully vaccinated.
    • 6-foot physical distance must be maintained between all parties.
  • Patron Experience
    • While the artistic quality and friendly faces you’ve come to expect at the Commonweal will not change, your return to the theatre will be different as we work to keep our staff, other patrons, and our performers safe and healthy.
    • All productions will be available as pre-recorded streamed content for those unable to attend in person.


Enforcement of the 6-foot physical distance between parties necessitates that our attendance remain capped at 25% capacity. Therefore no more than 55 patrons can be permitted in the Commonweal Theatre building at one time.

  • Tickets will become available to the general public on a rolling timeline:
    • I Love To Eat – Beginning Monday, April 5th 
    • Dancing Lessons – Beginning Saturday, May 1st
    • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] (Revised) – TBD
    • Come Back  – TBD
    • A Christmas Carol – TBD 
  • Given reduced capacity, MDC and Season Pass holders will receive early access to reserve their tickets in advance of the general public.
    • Early access reservations begin March 17.
  • Online ticketing has been temporarily suspended. All reservations must be made by contacting the box office.
  • Ticket reservations must be fully paid 24 hours in advance of the performance, including guests of MDC members and Season Pass Holders.
  • Walk-up ticket requests can not be accommodated at this time.
  • Seating in the theatre will be physically distanced. No households will be seated closer than 6 feet from each other. No audience members will be seated closer than 12 feet from the actors on stage
  • Priority Seating/General Admission
    • To avoid bottlenecks and “choke points,” general admission seating is not permitted – seating will be assigned by the box office.
      • As a result, priority seating, as well as CORE reserved seating, are suspended for the foreseeable future.
      • MDC Members and Season Pass holders will be given primary consideration as seating assignments are made.
  • Staggered Seating
    • Patrons will be assigned a seating time and will be admitted into the theatre in staggered groups, one section at a time. (Similar to boarding an airplane.)
  • Mobility Seating
    • Due to physical distancing requirements, mobility seating options are very limited. Patrons with mobility seating needs must alert the box office prior to purchasing their tickets. We regret that seating accommodations can not be made available the day of the performance.
  • Late Seating
    • There will be no late seating. If you arrive after the performance begins you have the option to reschedule your tickets or receive a voucher to access the performance digitally. 
  • Exiting the space
    • Once seated, patrons are strongly encouraged to remain in their seats until the show is over.
      • Please visit the restrooms prior to seating.
    • Following the performance, patrons will be dismissed in groups by the House Manager.
  • Masks
    • Masks MUST be properly worn the entire time you are in the building.
      • Masks must cover the nose and mouth completely and fit snugly around the face.
    • Patrons must remain masked for the duration of the performance. 
    • Compliance:
      • Staff will be in the auditorium throughout the course of each performance to ensure compliance. In the event a patron removes their mask during a performance, the performance will be paused until the situation is rectified.
      • If you are unable or unwilling to wear a mask we invite you to enjoy the performance in the comfort of your home through our Saturday Evening Digital Access option.
        • While we understand some may have health challenges that make masking difficult, for the safety of our staff, other patrons, and performers who will not be masked, no one will be permitted to be in the space without a mask. 
  • Screening Questions: Upon entering the space, our Front of House Greeter will ask the standard COVID screening questions:
    • To your knowledge have you been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past two weeks?
    • Have you had any of the following symptoms in the last 48 hours?
      • Fever or chills
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Headache
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • If you or anyone in your party answers “Yes” to the first question or exhibits two or more of the symptoms listed in the screening questions, we ask that you exchange your reservation for another performance or a voucher to access the show digitally.
  • Distancing
    • Open doors, floor markers and Commonweal staff will guide you along a consistent, physically distanced flow of movement from your first entrance in the building to mitigate as much risk as possible.
  • Hand Sanitizer and tissues are stationed throughout the events hall and lobby. 
  • Actors are routinely tested, and many have already received their vaccination(s), including Philip Muehe, featured in the one-man show I Love to Eat. 
  • The auditorium is equipped with HVAC filtration in compliance with Minnesota State guidelines for seated indoor entertainment.
Patron Experience 
  • In order to avoid congestion in a small space, the line to the box office will begin outside the building. 
  • Upon entering the ticket foyer, you will be welcomed by our Front of House Greeter who will ensure all members of your party are masked and who will ask the standard health screening survey questions. (See above.) 
  • Physical tickets will not be distributed. Instead, patrons will receive a modified mini-program with your seat assignment and seating time indicated.
    • The complete show program will be accessible on our website via a QR code. Consider downloading a QR code scanning app to your phone or tablet in advance of your arrival.
    • Enhancement materials will also be available digitally.
    • Upon exiting the theatre we ask that you take the mini-program out of the building with you.
  • There will be no intermission, nor will there be food or drink for purchase. Complimentary bottled water will be available upon request in place of the communal drinking fountain and must be consumed in designated areas while seated and distanced. Absolutely no food or drink (including water) are permitted in the theatre.
  • Social Events
    • Socializing with our patrons has always been a highlight for us. However for the foreseeable future we must cancel events, including opening night parties.
    • Actors are not able to greet patrons following a performance and no patrons will be permitted backstage.
    • Following the performance we ask that you not linger in the lobby and exit in a timely manner.
  • All shows will also be available virtually on Saturday evenings, as pre-recorded streamed content, during the run of each of our five mainstage productions. Reservations are required to gain access. Once a reservation is made, instructions will be emailed on how to access the virtual content.