How to ensure your Theatre is set for success

Theatres in England could reopen as early as 17th May if everything goes to plan with the Government’s four-step roadmap to ease the COVID-19 restrictions. However, they are expected to only be able to welcome up to 1,000 people or operate at a 50% capacity – whichever is lower. Meanwhile, outdoor venues may be able to re-open from 12th April.

We understand that many Theatres across the nation have had their doors shut since March 2020. As an independent broker who secures cover for many Theatres, we wanted to share our top tips on how to ensure your insurance protection is robust, both while your premises are closed and when you re-open.

Cover everything behind the scenes

If your Theatre is shut because of the current lockdown, you might have considered reducing your policy coverage. We appreciate that times are hard for many businesses and charities and you may want to reduce your costs. However, it is important that you don’t water down your insurance package, as this could leave you exposed to several risks.

Unoccupied buildings are more likely to be a target for vandals and thieves, as they could be seen as easy pickings. On top of this, issues such as burst pipes, as well as major disasters like fires or floods, may not be spotted immediately, as buildings are checked and inspected less frequently.

In the event of a claim, if you have reduced your cover, or not complied with your insurer’s requirements, you may end up spending more money to remedy any damages sustained while your Theatre or Playhouse remains closed. At Edwards Insurance Brokers, we can work with you to tailor your insurance programme to suit your Theatre’s specific needs.

Dress the stage with staff and volunteers

As lockdown hopefully eases and you look to the future, it is important to stay in touch with your people, whether you have a group of employees, volunteers, or a mix of the two. As the Government’s roadmap progresses, we’d advise discussing your plan for reopening with your team, clearly laying out all the steps you are taking, your COVID guidelines for when you open your doors again, how the strategy will affect them and anything you need them to do.

Another thing to take into account for your Theatre, is declaring the number of employees and volunteers you will have working for you when your productions resume, as this may affect your policy. When doing this, it is wise to consider the insurance you have in place for staff and volunteers who are producing sets, operating tools, lights, or machinery, or are working at height. This is because they are likely to be at a higher risk due to the nature of their role and therefore you may need additional cover. As a broker, we can help you work this out.

Support those in the limelight

Are your Trustees or Directors adequately insured? We currently live in a litigious culture, which could put your key management at risk. There are two types of polices that can protect them, depending on your structure. 

For companies, Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance provides cover for your senior leaders to protect them against claims which could arise because of decisions and actions they make within the remit of their role. D&O polices can cover your leaders against health and safety, breach of duty or trust, and negligence claims, as well as any associated legal costs.

If you are a charity and have Trustees, we’d advise looking after their best interests with Trustee Indemnity Insurance, also known as Trustee Liability Insurance. Even for the most diligent and cautious of trustees, if a decision they make results in a claim, they could be individually accountable, or the liability may land on your business. Trustee Indemnity Insurance can cover legal costs, errors and omissions, maladministration of funds, breach of trust, duty, regulation or law, and wrongful trading.

Don’t let underinsurance trigger your swan song

Underinsurance remains a real threat to organisations, and it is estimated that around 40% of UK businesses are not insured adequately, especially when it comes to the value of what it costs to rebuild buildings.

By taking out insufficient insurance, when it comes to making a claim you will likely not be covered in full. The pay out of any claim you make will be based on the amount of protection you decided upon. For example, if the cost to rebuild or repair your Theatre is £1,000,000 but you are only insured for £500,000, you would be underinsured by 50%, or £500,000. This would mean you need to foot the remaining costs yourself, which could leave you out of pocket.

At Edwards Insurance Brokers, our friendly team can help point you in the right direction to get help with rebuild valuations, and thereby ensure the figures you declare to us are correct.

Survey the scene with third parties

When you reopen your doors, it’s worth thinking about third party groups or organisation that may use your Theatre for events or performances. If you allow such groups and bookings, it is always worth double-checking what insurance cover they have in place, so you’re not left liable if something were to happen while they’re using your premises.

At Edwards Insurance Brokers, we understand every Theatre is unique and will therefore require different levels of insurance cover. Our aim is to protect your organisation, employees, volunteers, and performers and we take great pride in going above and beyond for clients. To discover how our friendly team can support you, get in touch today by calling 01564 730900 or emailing