LONDON, 27 SEPTEMBER, 2020 – Over 35 performances of Sleepless: A Musical Romance, based on the original screenplay Sleepless in Seattle have now been performed to socially distanced audiences of 14,000 people thanks to a partnership with Katalyst Laboratories, an authorised distributor of the FRANKD SARS-CoV-2 test.
The London production was able to deploy rapid test to help the theatre test the cast and production team to open safely. The first production back since lock down, Sleepless has given hope to the industry in light of the pandemic.
Since theatres officially closed on 16th March following the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) announcement, there has been widespread fear that theatres might never reopen. Through the partnership with Katalyst Laboratories, the Rose production was able to rapidly test up to 100 crew and cast members prior to rehearsals or performances. This was the only way to safely restart performances. The FRANKD test provides a template for productions globally.
The production put a secure process in place to ensure safety was at top of mind throughout. Crew and cast would be tested and receive their results within 30 minutes of the test via the Yoti app. During the production, the theatre retained all but one member of the crew, who was in the high-risk category. Once the results were received and showed negative, the entire production wore coloured wrist bands to identify they were authorised in the COVID-19 secure auditorium that day. Unlike other viral testing solutions, FRANKD is suitable for cost-efficient mass testing, up to 94 people can be tested every 30 minutes with a single 96 well device – and this has proven to be a game changer in the cross-industry trials completed to date.
Michael Rose, Producer of Sleepless, quickly realised that the only way to open was through an efficient and safe testing programme. “Theatre is an important part in local community and ecosystem and all have been devastated because the buildings are closed. Theatre is much more than entertainment. It’s part of our DNA. Our industry is made up of people first and foremost.
It’s not just the people that are part of the production it’s the families impacted. Actors were reticence of coming back to work and Katalyst Laboratories gave our large team the confidence to come back into the work they so love. Katalyst Laboratories has provided much needed hope for theatre land.”
“Our patented technology is helping businesses recover from the pandemic. For the arts, and theatres our testing process is a life line. We can deliver faster, simpler and more cost-effective alternative to standard laboratory-based RT-PCR tests,” said Andrew Wheeler, Katalyst Laboratories CEO.
Developed by biotech firm GeneMe, FRANKD is a reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) test, which tests for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a sample taken from a nasal or throat swab, examining viral material in the same way as standard RT-PCR testing. FRANKD comes pre-integrated with the Yoti digital identity app, which enables test results to be handled according to data privacy laws and sent securely to people’s phones. FRANKD is highly accurate, achieving 100 per cent accuracy when detecting negative results and 97 per cent accuracy when detecting positive results. It has undergone rigorous and robust testing by its producers, GeneMe and has also undergone independent testing by Gdansk University of Technology and DiMedical Clinical Diagnostics Laboratory in Lodz.