NZ's largest theatre company comes up with novel approach to get audience in despite Level 2 restrictions

Ryan Boswell
Source: 1News

New Zealand’s largest theatre company has been split in two over the latest Level 2 restrictions.

The Court Theatre in Christchurch is using a plastic screen to divide the venue, so up to 100 people can sit on each side safely.

“In order to keep the distancing we can’t quite get that many in, so it’s a little bit variable depending on how the patrons come in, if they come in twos or four,” said chief executive Barbara George.

Guests will enter through one of two entrances to ensure there’s limited contact, while there’ll be two bars, two sets of toilets and two foyers.

“The tables are spaced, the bar is of a suitable size and of course more serving staff to make sure we can keep our patrons separate and safe,” said George.

Mark Hadlow is currently acting in the theatre, in the comedy Winding Up.

He joked to 1 NEWS that the plastic wall is like “East and West Germany”, and that he’s had to adjust his performance slightly.

“There must be a slight effect of looking through the perspex ... so I was aware that I had to be a bit adaptable and move over to that side more often than what I should,” Hadlow said.

Their changes mean the audience will be cut in half, but Hadlow doesn’t believe that’s a negative.

“I think if anything there was a bit of appreciation that we'd actually put something in place so that they could actually still experience the show.”

Winding Up will finish its season at the Court Theatre on March 13.