We have today announced plans to build Arcola Outside, a brand-new outdoor performance space and bar in the heart of Dalston, designed by multi-award-winning stage designer Jon Bausor, and built by a team of freelance theatre and live events technicians.
Scheduled to open for a series of trial performances in December 2020, the new space will be built on a site near the theatre’s main building on Ashwin Street, formerly home to the Arcola Tent between 2011 and 2014. It will reimagine Arcola’s performance spaces and bar, bringing them together under a giant roof.
Jon Bausor, designer of Bat Out Of Hell, The Grinning Man and the 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony, is collaborating with Arcola to create a space which prioritises audience safety, operating year-round with protection from the weather, the full airflow benefits of an outdoor environment and flexible socially-distanced seating. Under current Tier 2 restrictions, its outdoor nature will allow groups (of up to 6 people) to meet even if they are from different households.
The space will continue Arcola’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability. It will include significant use of reclaimed and recycled materials, and will feature planters to create a green environment and ensure social distancing.
Arcola Outside will act as the central hub for a Hackney-wide festival of outdoor performance, Today I’m Wiser, which Arcola plans to produce in 2021. Inspired by the present and fuelled by a collective desire for change, the festival will platform a wide range of artists and reunite them with the community after this historic time of upheaval, reviving public space and celebrating creativity.
Arcola’s survival has only been possible thanks to lifeline support from individual donors, Arts Council England and the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The theatre has launched a fundraising campaign to enable the completion of Arcola Outside and its plans for new shows next year. Productions that were due to be staged in this year’s 20th anniversary season will be rescheduled.