America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Walnut Street Theatre Announces Covid Protocols ahead of September 28 Reopening

September 8, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest theatre, announced today that guests will need to be fully vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine in order to attend a performance and must show proof of vaccination at their time of entry into the theatre with their valid ticket.

In addition, and in accordance with the City of Philadelphia’s mask mandate, everyone in the theatre must wear acceptable face coverings at all times, including during performances, except while eating or drinking when seated in the theatre’s Barrymore’s Café. All face coverings must cover the nose and mouth and comply with the CDC guidelines for acceptable face coverings.

Further, all guests 18 years or older must also present a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Guests under 18 may also use a school ID, and guests under 12 must be accompanied by an adult who meets the above requirements.

Vaccination Policy Details

“Fully vaccinated” means that the performance date one is attending must be at least 14 days after an individual’s second dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or at least 14 days after an individual’s single dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized single dose COVID-19 vaccine.

The only exception to this policy will be guests under the age of 12, or those who need reasonable accommodations due to a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief. Guests requesting an exemption must provide proof of at least one of the following: a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance; or a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken within six hours of the performance. Guests requiring an exemption will also be required to properly wear a mask inside the building. For performances starting November 1, 2021, policies will be announced at a later date.

“As we eagerly look forward to reopening our doors later this month, and hosting our first performance since March 2020, we will do so with the safety of our patrons, staff and artists as our priority,” said Mark D. Sylvester, managing director of the Walnut Street Theatre. “We will continue to closely monitor both CDC and City of Philadelphia vaccine policies and will modify our own policies as needed as we progress through the fall season.”

Increased Cleaning, Sanitation and Air Filtration Procedures

In addition to the vaccine, mask and photo ID requirements, the Walnut has made changes internally, including an increase in air filtration as well as an increase in the amount of outdoor intake. We are also ensuring that the ventilation systems are operating to full design capabilities to maximize the number of air exchanges per hour. The Walnut is and will continue to conduct thorough and more frequent disinfection with CDC-recommended products, providing special attention to high-touch areas. The lobbies are equipped with numerous hand sanitizer dispensers.

THE 2021-22 SEASON

The Walnut will open its 213th season with BEEHIVE - THE '60s MUSICAL, a celebration of that era's powerful female voices whose music stands the test of time – including Diana Ross, Janis Joplin, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, and Tina Turner. Running from September 28 through October 31, the show is a song-filled journey told from the perspective of six women coming of age during the ‘60’s, beginning with their first Beehive Dance through a decade of change.


Walnut Street Theatre is America’s Oldest Theatre and the most popular theatre company in Philadelphia. As a producer of live theatre, many of the artists on the stage, in the orchestra and behind the scenes are from the Philadelphia area. As a non-profit institution, the Walnut is recognized nationally for bringing affordable theatre and diverse stories to more subscribers than any other theatre company in the world. In addition to its five Mainstage productions, popular Walnut Street Theatre for Kids Series and Independence Studio on 3 Series, the Walnut’s education and outreach programs bring live theatre to over 100,000 students, teachers, parents, and kids every year.

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