In Britain, theater companies are learning to cope with the coronavirus by staging plays inside circus tents. The spacious tents allow audiences to space out, and by raising the tent flaps, fresh air circulates healthily.
Meanwhile, Seattle theater and music groups are hunkered down and relying on some video versions. And the warm weather is upon us. Wouldn’t it make sense to go find some circus tents and put them up at, say, Seattle Center or Volunteer Park’s majestic grounds? Perhaps a revolving series of local theater companies, many with already-rehearsed plays, could mount a season.
Theater-under-canvas has various other advantages. Circuses appeal to broad audiences. Putting the big tops in parks means many could walk there. Handicapped seating is easy to accommodate. They have a summertime, family-fun vibe. No need to worry about sunstroke or sudden showers.
As this article about Britain’s trend puts it: “Theatres need to stop worrying about how they can reopen in a reduced form, and look out for other models of production in different spaces and to different audiences. Classical circus holds the clues. Perhaps if Cirque du Soleil had kept to its tented roots, and hadn’t over-expanded into the Royal Albert Hall and other brick-built venues, it would still be hula hooping today.”