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Today, we can produce outdoor theatre in unique locations that meet health standards. Take a lesson from the Bard. Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre was an open-air auditorium with sectioned gallery seating. It was the perfect set-up for social distancing.
Maybe the theatre is still too close for comfort indoors. But the great outdoors is an exciting and classic option. And it will continue to be popular long after we get to go back inside for a live show. Here’s your inspiration for five great places to produce outdoor theatre.
Why not use open-air stadiums as the Greeks did for entertainment, sports, and theatre? A sports stadium provides an excellent layout and is reminiscent of Globe-style gallery seating. Additionally, incorporating a portable stage with professional sound and lighting offers flexibility.
The amphitheater setting harkens back to the earliest days in theatre. And the seating arrangements make social distancing easy. The difference is, today’s stadiums have big screens.
We can bring the action close up and personal for the audience if the performers are far away. Technology also makes it easy to record the action for your online audience.
Producers might want to arrange seats on the field for a more intimate performance. The audience will likely be happy with the option of bringing a blanket and picnic lunch as well. Then they can lounge on the grass while they take in the show.
Finally, stadiums have amenities such as food and beverage vendors that make the outdoor theatre more enjoyable. Not to mention, there are bathroom facilities and likely staffing options to help with the cleanup.
Cine Manto hosts film nights in their 180 seat arbor, set in their lovely botanical gardens. The open-air space with a koi pond full of waterlilies is a magical place for outdoor theatre, too. A beautiful garden setting will also make an excellent backdrop for a live-stream event.
Alice in Wonderland or an adaptation of The Jungle Book would be excellent picks to perform in a gorgeous public garden venue. Whether performing a matinee or an evening under the stars, public gardens offer ample space and an atmosphere suited to the theatre.
Location can enhance your production. Think of it as part of the set and you have a whole new outlook on the possibilities. Imagine an evening of live theatre beginning as the audience watches the setting sun from a rooftop downtown.
You can set up lounge-style seating and offer cozy blankets to curl up in. It’s an intimate location such as this that calls for a small cast and minimal set.
Of course, there are always details to take care of to ensure everyone’s health, safety, and entertainment. Keep in mind when you produce theatre outdoors, you are responsible for cleanup, sanitation, facilities, and more. However, with some planning, the performance can be a unique and memorable event.
Now, imagine outdoor theatre in a historical setting. For example, who wouldn’t get excited about a performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in Sleepy Hollow. While your company might not be in New York, there are likely historical locations that offer the perfect venue to bring the excitement of outdoor theatre to your audience.
Any supernatural or political play would work well in a historical location. It’s a bonus if the performance and site have a connection in history. Consider the former army base Fort Mason. It has a panoramic view across the bay. Alcatraz is to its right and the Golden Gate Bridge on the other side.
In fact, there are historical forts all along the western coast ripe and ready for drama.
Setting up a performance in a forest is a natural for outdoor theatre. Whether you use a portable stage or find a state park with an outdoor stage, a show in the woods is sure to delight audiences. There are additional considerations like mosquitos and adequate facilities.
It’s nothing that some careful planning can’t take care of, and with a plethora of plays to choose from, it is well worth the effort. Look at Sasquatched! the Musical or Camp Rolling Hills for inspiration.
The venue and audience are as involved as any performer in an outdoor production. Things can change suddenly, so it’s essential to be flexible and develop a strategy for success. If you plan and rehearse outside, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to do to make it all run smoothly.
On The Stage is here with everything you need to promote your show, sell tickets, and engage your audience. Read our blog for more tips and tricks on outdoor theatre. We also offer our site builder, standard hosting, a merchandise shop, and other core promotional features at no cost to your theatre. Get a free demo today to see how OTS makes the business of theatre easier.