Why outdoor theatre must continue post-pandemic

Exterior spaces re-shape storytelling itself, argues UK playwright and academic Steve Waters.

Indoor theatre is back. Despite audiences being inscrutable in masks, I’ve seen two packed shows and begun to believe that theatres are finally recovering after a dreadful year. But the outdoor experiments that have kept theatre’s flame alight during the pandemic shouldn’t be cast aside in the process.

The appeal of Zoom productions, livestreams and audio shows may have peaked, but outdoor theatre has been a life saver for some companies, with venues as diverse as London’s Arcola Theatre and the world famous Royal Shakespeare Company venturing outside. I’ve experienced its pleasures first-hand as a playwright collaborating with outdoor specialists Tangled Feet to create a show performed in nature reserves back in September.

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