Pods DPC
UP CLOSE SHOT. Pods will fill the lawn area of the Dr. Phillips Center. photo/ Emmy Bailey

A brand new, socially distanced outdoor theater is coming to Boone’s backyard. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is introducing an outdoor theater with plans for a six-month festival. 

The Dr. Phillips Center hopes the outdoor theater will bring more people downtown to experience the arts again. In turn, attracting more people downtown may help aid the local businesses who suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Outside definitely gives more of the opportunity to space out and not be contained in one room like their auditorium and will encourage people to go,” sophomore Sofia Tascon said.

The performers and audience members have many adaptations to make in the new environment.

“Well, there would be a lot of new factors to take into account that you wouldn’t in an indoor theater, such as weather, temperature, and other events in the area. It might be a little disconcerting to actors, as many rarely ever perform outside,” senior August Hartlieb said.

 The seating consists of 380 socially distanced seating pods that accommodate up to five people. Each elevated pod is 5-by-7 feet and ticketing is offered per pod to encourage groups to stay together and discourage mingling. 

“It will certainly be a little odd to not be able to see the full facial expressions of the actors on stage, and not being able to sit too close together but it will still be as cool as it was before,” Tascon said.

The Frontyard Festival plans to start December 5th and continue through May, including a diverse mix of music, comedy, performing arts, dance and even yoga. On-site local restaurants and food trucks will provide food and beverage services with the added perk of getting food delivered to each pod.

The Dr. Phillips Center hopes to revive the arts and the downtown area with the new outdoor theater and festival. One of the first shows at the new outdoor theater will be a Dr. Phillip Center youth production of the musical Ragtime

Interested patrons can look for information about the first four acts and details about the festival on the Dr. Phillips Center’s website and Facebook page.

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