Arcola Theatre has announced that their artistic team will be working with scientists from Imperial College London to explore air quality in theatres and how this affects aerosol transmission of viruses such as Covid-19.
As theatres and arts venues continue to navigate audience welfare amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the project will explore how increased airflow can be used by venues and performance spaces to reduce viral transmission to increase the safety of visitors and improve arts access for immunocompromised people.
The project aims to:
- Explore ways in which Arcola can increase airflow in its indoor performance spaces
- Use this exploration to facilitate conversations about airflow with other venues
- Inform the development of Arcola’s new performance space, Arcola Outside, an outdoor performance space which mitigates the risk of Covid transmission among audiences
The project will commence this year and continues Arcola’s work exploring how theatres and venues can learn from the pandemic in long-term, sustainable ways.
This collaboration follows the announcement of Arcola Outside, Arcola’s new theatre space, due to open in spring this year, which has the benefits of full outdoor airflow, thereby reducing the risk of both aerosol and droplet transmission of Covid-19.
“Since the pandemic began, we have been trying to understand how the cultural sector can respond innovatively to the difficulties we have faced in bringing people together to enjoy culture in a safe way.
We are delighted to be working with independent scientists from Imperial College London, through Imperial Consultants, to understand how airflow affects viral transmission in theatres, which will turn the challenges of the past year into learning and ideas for both Arcola and the wider theatre sector.” – Dr Ben Todd, Executive Director, Arcola Theatre
“Significant scientific, engineering and policy work has been undertaken to better understand the impact of COVID-19 and mitigate the on-going risks. Ventilation and air quality have been identified as an important factor in reducing the risk of spread of COVID-19 through human activity in indoor spaces.”
“Working with Arcola Theatre, we hope to use emerging knowledge and data-driven approaches to address the continuous challenges faced by indoor theatres and venues during the pandemic.” – consulting lead, Imperial College London.