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Northrop Auditorium prepares for a socially distanced season

After the coronavirus pandemic put live shows on hold, the Northrop Auditorium's staff found ways to make this new season safe for everyone.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — COVID-19 or not, the show must go on at the Northrop.

The University of Minnesota's auditorium transformed the way you'll experience the season when guests are welcomed back into the building at the end of September.

"The Stay Safe Minnesota guidelines limit us to 250 people and so right now, we've got more than six feet between groups of folks," explained Kari Schloner, the director of Northrop.

Groups will consist of up to six people from a single household, and patrons will be asked to wear masks and use mobile ticketing.

"They'll be able to walk up to the usher who will be behind a plexiglass barrier, scan that ticket through the barrier and be directed to their seat," said Schloner.

You'll also see changes in performances, too.

"One of the things that will be different on stage is that we've asked artists to put together performances without intermissions," explained Kristen Brogden, the director of programming for the Northrop.

The auditorium made that decision to ease the flow of people in and out so there aren't as many opportunities for people to be close to one another.

Credit: KARE 11

If you're not comfortable going to see a show, you can still watch it live from home.

The streaming option was in development a year ago, but placed on the fast track because of the pandemic.

"We were thinking about how to get our student matinee programming out to the greater Minnesota schools, but when COVID-19 hit, we were really able to lean into that research and adapt it for the expanded need that we see for everyone to experience the arts during this time when we can't gather," said Schloner.

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The team at the Northrop also curated and expanded performance previews, master classes, special Q&A sessions, and even a film series with a live stream option.

If you show signs of COVID-19, you won't miss out on a show or money.

There's a flexible return and exchange policy this year, so you can exchange your tickets for another event later in the season, get a refund or donate the value of the ticket to the Northrop.

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