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Can This Game-Changing Innovation Get Live Theatre Back Before the Pandemic Ends?

[July 20, 2020: Playbill]



As the theatre industry comes to terms with the idea that Broadway will not return until winter 2021 (at the earliest) and entertainment unions call on Congress to make stays for health insurance and financial assistance for entertainment workers—particularly in the theatre—there’s been a grim acceptance about how long it will be before performers can perform together again and audiences can fill houses and commune in the singular experience of live theatre. Until now.


Brendan Bradley has built a theatre in which it is entirely safe for actors to perform onstage together and audiences to attend with friends (even those with whom you’re not quarantined) sans masks or temperature checks; and it exists in virtual reality. Before you dismiss this as just another screen, click here to check out the space in a virtual walkthrough.


The innovation is called Future Stages, a 3D virtual theatre-going experience imagined and designed by Bradley with rendering and optimization from Aleena Sohail. Bradley is essentially an architect, but instead of bricks and mortar, he uses computer code. The space—like any traditional theatre space—comes fully equipped for a producer to “rent” and mount their show.


Attendees can enter the space with a VR headset or via your average computer web browser (that’s how this writer did it). After choosing or designing an avatar, you’ll walk through the front doors into the lobby. You can visit the box office or the merchandise booth, pick up a program, and walk into the theatre to your seat. Visitors will even notice a familiar Red Bucket for donations.... MORE