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Preparing for a safe return to Quarterhouse

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We are re-opening Quarterhouse on Tuesday 1 June and look forward to welcoming you back!

Creative Folkestone is following National Guidelines on Covid-19 to ensure that we are re-opening safely, so this date is subject to the government’s easing of lockdown restrictions on 17 May.

Our first event will be Creative Folkestone Book Festival 2021 from Friday 4 to Sunday 13 June. The festival will be an exciting hybrid of digital, live, and outdoor events. We are thrilled to be able to hold live, socially distanced events as part of the programme and we are working hard to create a safe environment for audiences, artists, and staff at Quarterhouse and off-site venues.

To keep you safe while you are at the Festival we have:

  • Limited overall capacity
  • Implemented socially distanced seating plans
  • Face coverings are compulsory for audience and staff inside venues
  • Staggered arrival and departure times
  • Reduced capacity within toilets
  • One-way systems
  • Enhanced cleaning
  • Enhanced ventilation
  • Contactless ticketing and payments
  • Hand sanitising stations
  • Test and Trace using a QR code on arrival
  • Temperature checking on entry to indoor venues
  • Signage and staff to remind everyone what is required – Give space, wash your hands and wear your face coverings


When not to visit:

Please do not visit us if you or a member of your family have tested positive for Covid-19, have symptoms or have been asked to isolate following a Test and Trace call. 

We are offering refunds or ticket exchange to anyone who reports to us 3 hours prior to the performance that they cannot attend for the reasons given above.

The Main symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • A new continuous cough
  • A high temperature
  • A loss or change in your normal sense of taste or smell


Creative Folkestone 2021 COVID-19 Public Safety FAQs 

This information applies to all venues and locations being used for Folkestone Book Festival 2021 events. 

Some information will be subject to change as the government Roadmap evolves and will be regularly updated on the website.

How is Folkestone Book Festival able to go ahead safely in June?

From 17 May, provided government guidelines allow, live indoor and outdoor performances can go ahead with limited capacity and social distancing in place.

Creative Folkestone will continue to receive guidance and advice from the Government Roadmap and Folkestone-Hythe District Council and will adhere to any change in public safety guidelines.

Events will take place live or screened in Quarterhouse with limited capacity, outdoors, in site-specific locations or online as live-streams.

Will people be allowed to attend events in groups?

Bookings can only be made in a maximum group of 4 people.

To maintain social distancing requirements, bookings may only be made by household groups and you will need to confirm this when you book with us. A household is people you currently live with. Single adult households are able to form a bubble with one other household which then counts as one household. The maximum number of people from a household who can book to attend together is currently 4 people. 

You can book in household groups of 1, 2, 3 or 4. All ticket holders in the group must be part of one household.

Are venues running at a reduced capacity so social distancing is possible?

Visitor safety is our priority so Quarterhouse and off-site venues will be operating at 25% to 50% capacity (depending on government guidelines) in order to give everyone plenty of space when arriving, moving around and sitting in the auditorium. Seating has been arranged to create free space or empty seats in front of, behind and between different households. 

What will visitors/audiences need to do to comply with safety measures?

To avoid queues at events, you will be sent your tickets electronically and you can either print these at home or show them on your mobile device when you turn up for your event. Tickets are required for admission and will be scanned at the entrance when you arrive.

Bring a mask and wear it when required indoors and sometimes outdoors.

Ticket bookers will be sent full instructions by email and/or text message prior to arriving at their event.

You will be asked to use the QR code which links to the NHS Test and Trace mobile phone app on arrival at the venue. If you do not have a smart phone, you can sign in manually. You will not be granted access to the event without signing into Test and Trace.

Will I have to queue when I arrive at the building/location?

We will be operating a timed entry system to keep queues to a minimum. You will be emailed prior to the event to be told when we would like you to arrive at the venue. These timings are to help us manage queuing inside and to remove pressure from the public areas before you take your seat.

Doors will open earlier than usual to give our audience time to enter the event space safely.

Anyone who has access requirements and would prefer to arrive before queues build up can contact our Visitor Experience team to arrange this by emailing

Can I buy tickets at the venue?

All tickets must currently be bought online in advance via the website. There may be a limited amount of tickets available to buy on the door. We will update this information on 1 June.

Can I bring my bag to the venue?

We are asking audiences to kindly minimise bags and belongings to maintain social distancing between seats. There will not be cloakrooms operating at the venues.

How does Test and Trace work at the venues?

We encourage you to use the QR code which links to the NHS Test and Trace mobile phone app. The code will be visible as you arrive at the venue. If you do not have a smart phone, we require you to sign in manually. Test and Trace details are required by law so if you cannot provide these details you won’t be able to join us for the event. Your details will be treated in confidence and only passed to Test and Trace when requested. Creative Folkestone’s privacy policy is published on the website here

What health screening will happen before we are permitted to attend the event?

Your temperature will be taken by a member of our Visitor Experience team on entry to the venue. If you have a temperature your household will not be able to attend the event and you will be given a ticket refund. 

Will I be required to wear a face covering at all events?

It is the law for everyone, unless they are legally exempt, to wear a face covering when indoors in a theatre or venue. You will therefore need to wear your face covering throughout your visit including whilst seated for the performance.

We are also encouraging our visitors to wear a face covering at outdoor events as a further reassurance to others, particularly when there are queues.

The law requires that face coverings are worn indoors at visitor attractions and events and this will be enforced. By being outdoors the chances of aerosol transmission of Covid-19 are greatly reduced and we will not enforce the wearing of face coverings at outdoor events.

What face-coverings are acceptable in the venue?

A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. They can be reusable or single-use face coverings. They must securely fit round the side of the face. For this reason, plastic visors do not replace face coverings. We would only accept a plastic visor in place of a face covering if the wearer is exempt from wearing a face covering.

I am exempt from wearing a face covering, what will my experience of the event be?

We understand that some people cannot wear face coverings for reasons of health or disability and are therefore legally exempt. If you are not wearing a mask on arrival our staff may ask you if you are exempt. If you are exempt our staff can provide you with a badge or card to signify your exemption so you don’t keep getting asked and others around you feel comfortable. If you would like to wear a badge, or have any questions about mask wearing please contact our Visitor Experience staff prior to attending the venue by emailing 

Will the staff I meet be wearing a face covering?

Face coverings must by law be worn indoors by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in areas that are open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public. Our staff will therefore be wearing face coverings. If any of our staff are exempt, they will be wearing a badge. Where staff are working behind Perspex screens, face coverings are not compulsory.

If the show is cancelled by the venue due to Covid-19 reasons, will I get a refund?

If we are required by any change to national or local regulations to close, or if there is a reason the building cannot safely open because of Covid-19, ticket holders will be refunded.

Can I make a group or school booking?

We are not currently taking group bookings. To keep to social distancing requirements bookings may only be made by household groups and you will need to confirm this when you book with us. A household is people you currently live with. Single adult households are able to form a bubble with one other household which then counts as one household. The maximum number of people from a household who can book to attend together is currently 4 people. 

You can book in household groups of 1,2,3 or 4. All ticket holders in the group must be part of one household.

Why can’t I book tickets with my friends this year?

Creative Folkestone is required to ensure that a minimum of 1m + social distance is maintained between people who are not members of the same household or bubble. We cannot socially distance parties in this way at our seated events and so only households and bubbles may book together. If friends book separately you can attend the same event but you will need to remain socially distanced.

Can I meet my friends at the venue who also have tickets to the show?

The priority for the Book Festival this year is to ensure that we host events in the safest possible way. We therefore request that you do not make arrangements to meet another household at Book Festival events. Our staff will direct you swiftly to your seats to keep the foyer and public spaces clear.

What social distancing is expected of the audience?

Please follow our signage and co-operate with Visitor Experience staff by maintaining 2 metres distance wherever possible and a minimum of 1 metre distance otherwise. Queue markers will be laid out to encourage 1m minimum distance.

Please follow one-way systems and listen to the directions of the Visitor Experience staff when moving around at outdoor events.

How will you be helping the audience to keep socially distanced from other households?

Limited overall venue capacity.

Socially distanced seating layouts. At all events, these seats are reserved and pre-booked. Swapping of seats is not permitted and rows or seats out of use will be marked.

Reduced capacity and adjustments within toilets.

One-way systems will be operated where possible.

Social distancing markers.

Signage and staff to remind everyone what is required.

Staggered arrivals to encourage those seated in the middle of rows to take their seats first.

Staff to invite people at the back to leave before those at the front.

The bar at Quarterhouse will be open to buy drinks before an event. You will not be able to return to the bar during or after an event.

If I need to use the bathroom or go out of the auditorium during the show, how can I do this safely?

We will be limiting audience passing one another by inviting audience members to arrive and leave in order, so that people seated in the centre of a row do not have to pass those at the end of the row wherever possible. If you need to leave during the performance, please face away from those you are passing, and ensure you are wearing your face covering. You may be seated in a different seat on your return.

Are staff going to be helping to maintain social distancing measures and face covering policies?

Our staff will receive Covid-19 training and will be on hand to help people to remember and abide by the rules that exist to keep us all safe whilst enjoying the event. If you have a concern about a member of the audience, please ask to speak to the Duty Manager so that we can investigate and address your concern.

Can I dance or sing along?

It’s important that we stick to the requirements set by the government during this time. This includes not shouting, dancing, or singing along, because it increases aerosols in the air. We ask you to remain in your seat and show your appreciation by clapping at the end of the show.

Are there opportunities to sanitise my hands?

You will find hand sanitiser on entrance to the events, in key locations and in the toilets. Please ensure you sanitise your hands as you enter the venue.

Everyone is also reminded to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with liquid soap and water and to dry their hands when using the toilets.

What are the cleaning arrangements at the venue(s)?

All seats, surfaces and toilets are cleaned between shows.

How often are the toilets cleaned?

The toilets are cleaned between shows.

What is the ventilation like inside the venue(s)?

We will keep windows open at Quarterhouse to make sure there is plenty of natural ventilation in the foyer and The Clearing. The auditorium benefits from a mechanical ventilation system which draws in fresh air and extracts stale air throughout the performance. 

The auditorium will be well ventilated by keeping doors open before and in between shows.

How is the exit managed?

Visitor Experience staff will help the audience to exit the auditorium in a given order to aid social distancing. Please make your way from the venue straight away to avoid any crowding in the foyer and outside the venue.

Is the bar open?

The bar at Quarterhouse will be open to buy drinks before an event. You will not be able to return to the bar during or after an event. You are permitted to raise your face covering in the auditorium to sip your drink and take a bite. In person bar sales will not be available during the show. You must be seated when drinking alcohol.

Will there be an interval?

There will not be an interval for any indoor events. We encourage you please to remain in your seat during the event.

Can I use cash at the venue?

We are unable to accept cash payments and will be offering contactless payment at the bars and box office.

Can latecomers be admitted?

We will accept latecomers but we may need to seat you at the back of the auditorium or wait for an appropriate moment so that we can get you safely seated. At promenade events we may be able to add you to the next entry time but this is not guaranteed. 

Will I be able to use the lift at Quarterhouse?

The lift is operating for one person at a time (except for instances where a carer is required). We will be cleaning the lift and buttons between shows but please use hand sanitiser before entering the lift. 


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