Blyth Festival to host outdoor shows

Blyth Festival logo. (Blackburn stock photo)

There will be live theatre at the Blyth Festival this year.

Director of Audience Development & Services, Jen Lamb, says there was a lot of discussion over the winter about what that would look like and they noted that a lot of other theatres were putting up tents for the summer. But she says Artistic Director, Gil Garrett, was looking for something more than that.

“I think as Gil thought about how do we weather through this pandemic, we don’t know what’s going to happen, wouldn’t this be great if it wasn’t just at throwing up a tent and just kind of muddling our way through. What if we decided to create a space that we could use for years to come.”

Lamb notes that the Blyth Festival has some history with outdoor theatre and, in fact, the Outdoor Donnellys was one of their most famous productions. So they’ve created a brand new outdoor stage.

“It’s going to have sort of a wrap around risers, like on concrete and a back pergola idea, that’s going to be covered in fabric to save the audience from the heat and the sun and hopefully the drizzle,” Lamb says.

She adds a heavy wind could present a bit of a problem but they have to be prepared to shut down any outdoor shows on the few days when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Lamb says the new stage has a seating capacity of 160 but at this point they expect social distancing will be required, so that means 27 people per show. The season will start on August 11th and they’re hoping the social distancing will be relaxed a little by then. More information about the plays can be found on the Blyth Festival web site.