The Arcola Theatre in East London will work with Imperial College London to understand how viral transmission may occur in theatres across the UK.
The project will help to build long-term guidance for the sector and will investigate how far airflow can mitigate transmission among visitors.
Ben Todd, executive director of the Arcola Theatre, explained “since the pandemic began, we have been trying to understand how the cultural sector can respond innovatively to the difficulties we have faced in bringing people together to enjoy culture in a safe way.
“We are delighted to be working with independent scientists from Imperial College London, through Imperial Consultants, to understand how airflow affects viral transmission in theatres, which will turn the challenges of the past year into learning and ideas for both Arcola and the wider theatre sector.”
The project will coincide with the introduction of Arcola’s open-air stage, Arcola Outside. The plans for this new stage were unveiled in October. They include a stage and a bar, with seating for 80 people. The plans for this new addition are due to be submitted to Hackney Council this week.
Arcola Outside was meant to open as early as December, but has been postponed due to the second wave of COVID-19.
The Arcola now hope that the new stage will be open by June, with their airflow study due to start soon.
Words by Emily Withers.
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Image: Miriam Mahony // Arcola Theatre