Rachael Beale

15 September 2022

In the Queue

I joined the queue at the Globe theatre, just after a cold and clouded sunrise. ITV breakfast news were interviewing a couple from Tyneside who had taken the day off work and spent the previous night on their son’s floor in East London to make an early start. As we progressed along the south bank of the Thames they were a magnet for other TV crews, polishing their anecdotes for Italian and German broadcasters.

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25 June 2020

Singing Together, Apart

After a performance of Bach’s St John Passion in the Concertgebouw on 8 March, 102 of the 130-strong Amsterdam Gemengd Koor fell ill. Forty-five members of the Skagit Valley Chorale in Mount Vernon, Washington, were diagnosed with Covid-19 within three weeks of their last rehearsal, also in mid-March. Singing is thought to be an especially effective method of coronavirus dispersion. Infective droplets are spread by people talking; droplets spread further when people talk louder; singing is like a very loud form of talking. It’s debatable – and far from proven – that singing may also produce lingering aerosols, and therefore a higher risk of mass spreading. Theatres and concert halls can reopen in England from 4 July, but live performances won’t be allowed.

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