Is This Socially Distanced Theater the Future of Venue Seating?

Isabel Garcia
Photo credit: Berliner Ensemble - Twitter
Photo credit: Berliner Ensemble - Twitter

From House Beautiful

As businesses and public spaces around the world begin to reopen amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they've revealed added safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. From gyms to amusement parks, the new protocols mainly focus on enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures. In Germany, a historic theater group revealed that it removed nearly 70 percent of its theater's seating. Could this socially distanced theater be the future of venues during the pandemic?

To follow social distancing measures in Germany, the Berliner Ensemble theater group, which operates at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm building in Germany, removed around 500 of its 700 seats, Deezen reports. Every second row is cleared, and the seats in the remaining rows are arranged individually or in pairs. "The auditorium now looks like an installation, it is not just empty rows," the artistic director of Berliner Ensemble, Oliver Reese, told Dezeen. "By removing the seats, the remaining ones are easier to access. This allows us to follow the rules of social, or the way we like to put it, the rules of physical distancing." Reese also said that they'll use the removal to renovate the seats.

In addition to significantly fewer seats, the Berliner Ensemble will implement other safety measures that comply with the official regulations of a minimum of 1.5 meters between people. Additionally, Reese tells Dezeen that there will be contactless ticketing, theater goers will have to wear a mask until they get to their seats, and they'll be guided to their seats in groups of six.

The theater is set to reopen in September. Though the the new seating arrangement is a creative approach to adhering to coronavirus regulations, Reese tells Dezeen that the removed seating is temporary.

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