Bring back the Solotoria!

With the pandemic curtailing most theatre as we have previously experienced it, producers and entrepreneurs have been spurred into creative overdrive in considering new and unusual forms of theatre spaces.

Brilliant independent producer Katy Lipson is part of a consortium engaged in design and construction of Vertical Theatre, a space for a variety of theatre forms in an in-the-round configuration with a majority of the audience seated in vertically tiered boxes. This space is designed to be portable so that it can be constructed, run and then struck and toured around the country, rather in the way we are used to seeing circuses sweep across the country’s parks and green spaces. Its an interesting idea.

Then there is the group who are planning drive-in theatre at one of the big London exhibition centres. Not sure how this one will rate, especially with all those emisssions (from the cars!).

In all of this creative flurry, one recent innovation sprang to mind whose time has perhaps finally come.

Of what do I speak, dear reader?

The Solotoria, of course!

What do you mean you’ve never heard of it!

As described on its website, Solotoria is ” a spectacular theatrical experience……one person at a time.”

Created by LIPA graduates Ashley Shairp and Sam Heath, Solotoria offers one person a 3-minute show in the plush surroundings that we have all missed this last year.

Audients can choose from attending the “Mini Blackpool Grand Theatre” for a comedy or a magic show. Those with higher-brow tastes can attend the “Mini Royal Opera House, Covent Garden” for a programme of either ballet or opera.

As the website describes, “the individual (solo) audience member wears a pair of headphones and places their head inside the space – the experience is immersive: each show has its own soundscape, the auditorium lights dim and the show begins…

The Solotoria toured the UK in 2014/5 to great interest and public acclaim for its ingenuity and care in its detailing of both auditoria models, as well as the mini-shows themselves.

You can watch a video of audients at a Mini Royal Opera House preview show here

And you can view the Solotoria at their website here

And here, at last, is the view of the Solotoria’s Mini Royal Opera House. Just for you!

(With thanks to Dr Maria Barrett for reminding me of this item)

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