As live music returns to the UK post lockdown, two UK orchestras have found a novel way to remain COVID safe as they filter back into concert halls, by partnering with the testing and screening services business Circular1 Health.

The partnership will see the Carlisle-based firm donate 1700 free COVID screening tests to the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Halle Orchestra throughout June and July. The tests will ensure that live performances remain COVID secure, including six concerts at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

The initiative was spearheaded by Circular 1 Health laboratory technician Matthew Perry, himself a professional musical theatre Trombonist, who began working with the company during lockdown when the National tour of Hairspray the Musical was cancelled.

Matthew said the opportunity for him to combine his passion with his new career was one he couldn’t pass up: “I’ve been playing in concert halls and theatres for years and watching the shutters go up through lockdown was heart-breaking. Now thanks to the support of my employer I’m able to give something back and ensure music gets back on its feet whilst ensuring everyone is kept safe.”

Stuart Maclennan, the Founder of Circular 1 Health added: “Our mission throughout lockdown has been focussed on helping the country regain some sense of normalcy. Thanks to team members like Matt, we can use our resources to help groups who would otherwise struggle to return to normality with ease.”  

The tests will be distributed to the orchestras on a weekly basis, with 100 being delivered in each batch, ensuring enough tests to regularly screen both ensembles ahead of each performance.

With a busy schedule, the Philharmonia will be receiving 900 tests over the two-month period as it plays six concerts at Royal Festival Hall and four concerts at Worcester Cathedral. The Halle orchestra will receive 800 tests to screen its musicians throughout its six concerts from Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

The Philharmonia orchestra commented on the reassurance and confidence the partnership will give their musicians “Whilst the entire orchestra is ecstatic to be returning to live venues there’s still a level of nervousness around safety. Thanks to the partnership, our musicians now feel confident and ready to play and if worst comes to worst, we have a positive test, we can isolate it quickly and continue playing without having to cancel shows.”

The Philharmonia’s first concert will open on the 4th of June at Royal Festival Hall with The Halle Orchestra performing at Bridgewater Hall from the 1st of June through until the 24th of July.

For further press information contact:

Sean Feast – Gravity Global

sfeast@gravityglobal.com