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Vertical Theatre: Tourable socially distanced venue launches

The Vertical Theatre Group, a new company backed by leading production and theatre professionals, has unveiled the Vertical Theatre, a tourable, freestanding 2,400-capacity entertainment venue with built-in social distancing.

The modular Vertical Theatre is designed to be future-proof, say its creators, with the capability to separate audiences into Covid-secure household bubbles while restrictions are in place, but no requirement for social distancing when Covid-19 is a thing of the past.

The UK-based company’s founders are production director (and inaugural IQ Gaffer) Jake Berry; theatre producer Katy Lipson; Stufish Entertainment Architects’ Ric Lipson and Paul Preston; events and documentary producer Holly Gilliam; and Digital Theatre founder Robert Delamere. The six say in a joint statement that they are “very excited to be able to bring this innovative new venue offering to the live entertainment world at this pivotal moment for the future of the arts”.

Vertical Theatre Group’s ambition is to have multiple venues around the world, saying the Vertical Theatre is suitable for tours, festivals, comedy, theatre and circus, as well as televised events, with its inbuilt streaming functionality.

“We were excited to see what a new type of cross-arts collaboration could produce”

Inside the Vertical Theatre, eventgoers are seated on balconies which accomodate groups of 4–12 people (ie social bubbles), all with a good view of the stage. Optional open sides, meanwhile, allow for natural airflow, while a roof protects the audience.

Capacity is between 1,200 and 2,400 people, depending on social-distancing rules.

Vertical Theatre Group, which is is already in conversation with potential partners, says it is “optimistic” the project will be ready to launch in 2021.

Stufish partner Ric Lipson comments: “Creativity defines all the artists and partners we work with. At Stufish, we were excited to see what a new type of cross-arts collaboration could produce, as we build a new vision for the future of live entertainment: the Vertical Theatre.”


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