Up to 1,000 jobs for people working in the theatre will be created in Manchester in the spring of 2021, when the DriveINSIDE Theatre opens at the Trafford Centre. The drive-in theatre has been specifically designed to be COVID-19-safe and has been approved for operation even at Tier 3 restrictions. Each vehicle will have a dedicated parking space under a 68,000ft² (6,317m²) marquee.
The venue will have a team of ‘theatrical drive jockeys’, who will welcome the audience in their cars and escort them to their space. This allows people to experience live entertainment with the security of knowing they will be safe from the virus. People are only allowed to exit their vehicles on the driver’s side and then sit outside their car in a socially distanced, isolated area.
The creator of the drive-in theatre, Beyond Theatre, will host more than 30 productions during a four-week run starting in March 2021. With a venue capacity of 800, a potential 24,000 theatre-goers could once again enjoy live entertainment safely in the city.
“We are really an immersive theatre production company, but when COVID-19 shut down our productions we started thinking about how we could put on live performances again,” said Paul Levin, creator of the venue. “The DriveINSIDE Theatre is our answer, and we cannot wait to bring the thrill and excitement of live events back to the people of Manchester.”
“Our industry has suffered terribly throughout the pandemic,” he continued. “The vast majority of people working in theatre are contract-based and usually supplement their income in slow periods by working in hospitality. With both industries being hit so hard, we are absolutely thrilled to be able to offer the lifeline of some real work for around 1,000 industry people in Manchester next March.”
“We’ve all turned to the arts to keep us going during this crisis, whether by watching films and TV, listening to music, reading books or getting involved in creative hobbies, so it should be clear to everyone how important the arts is to us all,” Levin added. “We hope that people in Manchester will be as excited as we are about the fantastic shows we will be bringing to the city, and that they will come out and support the industry.”
Details of the shows will be revealed over the coming weeks. The varied lineup will include variety shows, comedy, musicals, tribute acts and more.
“The Trafford Centre is our first location, but then we will be moving the DriveINSIDE Theatre around the country with dates in London, Glasgow and Birmingham being finalised,” said Levin.