A new concept for a socially-distanced theater has been unveiled, and it has been created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Vertical Theatre has been designed with the aim of giving a much-needed boost to the struggling live entertainment industry.

The theater is a new kind of performance space that its creators say could be used for all types of live events, including theater, festivals, global artist tours, comedy, circus and televised events. It's a free-standing tourable structure with a roof to protect the audience and stage from the elements, and it has optional open sides to allow for optimum airflow and natural ventilation. It is the brainchild of the Vertical Theatre Group, which was founded by entertainment architects Stufish along with several theater directors and producers.

The theater has the capacity to hold between 1200 and 2400 people, depending on social distancing rules. The audience sits in balconies that can accommodate groups of between four and 12 people or designated ‘social bubbles,’ separated by clear panels. Each audience member has an up-close view of the performance space, and the space is fully adaptable for when COVID-19 restrictions are a thing of the past. It also has the capability to include a built-in global streaming capacity.

A rendering of the interior of the Vertical Theatre
The balconies can accommodate groups of between four and 12 people © Stufish

“We are devoted to the vital importance of arts and culture," says Ric Lipson, partner at Stufish, which has created live entertainment touring designs for artists such as Beyoncé, U2, Madonna, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Monty Python and Queen + Adam Lambert. "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.”

A rendering of the interior of the Vertical Theatre
The theatre has the capacity to hold between 1200 and 2400 people © Stufish

Further information can be found on The Vertical Theatre's website here.

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