Back in cinemas: the caution

Retour dans les salles de spectacles: la prudence est de mise

Retour dans les salles de spectacles: la prudence est de mise

The work of two researchers in Ottawa showed that the theaters would be used only 30% of their capacity in the event of a reopening of rooms in the following measures of distance and of gathering inside limited.


5 may 2020 19: 13


Back in cinemas: the caution

Retour dans les salles de spectacles: la prudence est de mise

Retour dans les salles de spectacles: la prudence est de mise

Mario Boulianne

The Right

Nothing indicates that there will be a rapid recovery of the cultural events in the dining room in the country.

By then, many try to measure the interest of the population and to assess the ability of the diffusers to accommodate spectators when the confinement ends.

François Brouard, Carleton university, Christelle Paré, a teacher at the national School of humour and a professor of communication at the University of Ottawa, led a research group on the industry of the humor and the after-COVID.

Among these fields of research, those on the estimates of the number of seats in the theaters are very interesting and can very well apply to the whole of the performing arts.

“By contrast, grade professor Brouard, the humor only brings to the stage that one or two artists. Whereas in music, there are often several musicians on stage, and in the case of a symphony orchestra, the aloofness on stage could be very difficult. And in the theatre, there is an interaction and a closeness between the actors who bring other challenges. “

Two measures
Among public health measures, with those on the distancing and physical gatherings interiors have caught the attention of researchers.

“In our research, emphasis has been placed on the capacity of the rooms to receive the spectators,” explains professor Brouard. However, ancillary services such as ticketing, parking, access to toilets and the services of bar and restaurant must also be considered. “

Retour dans les salles de spectacles: la prudence est de mise

For the purposes of this research, six theatres spread in the urban centres of Gatineau, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec city have been selected.

This is the room of Odyssey and the Home cabaret for the Maison de la culture de Gatineau, la salle Harold Shenkman and the Richcraft theatre of the Shenkman arts Centre in Ottawa, the salle Albert-Rousseau Quebec city, as well as salle Wilfrid-Pelletier and théâtre Maisonneuve of the Place des arts in Montreal.

These rooms were chosen for their diversity in the total capacity of the seats which goes from nearly 3,000 seats (salle Wilfrid-Laurier) to 162 (Richcraft Theatre). No bar is included, and unlike all the other rooms are selected, the Foyer of the Maison de la culture de Gatineau offers a particular configuration.

Six scenarios have been studied in this research, taking into account the two measures of public health. The distance should be as much horizontal as vertical. These two dimensions are expressed from right to left (Court Garden) and from the stage to the back of the room. The dimension of Courtyard Garden can integrate with one or two seats away while the scene towards the background leads to the examination of the space between the rows.

The question of the gatherings is more delicate. By limiting the gatherings of 50 or 250 people, this could significantly lower the capacity of the rooms to be operated with a financial viability.

Other constraints are to be considered, but are not included in the estimates of the researchers. One thinks of the protocols, hygiene and sanitation, the order of entry of the spectators, the organisation of the exit of the room as well as the planning of the service and distribution of beverages and snacks.

Without dwelling on the methods of calculations used in the research, it is noted that, according to the distance of either one or two seats and one row on two, the overall average of the scenarios shows a capacity of 30 % by theater. In such a perspective, one understands that the broadcasters accuse a loss of income at the box office of 70 % per show.

“The impact on earnings is undeniable, concluded the professor Brouard. Who will absorb those losses ? Is this the artists and their teams ? The distributors and / or customers ? Is it that it will take measures to aid government ? Increase the price of the tickets ? And will there be performances pushed back that were already sold to full capacity ? “

The polls

In the notes of the research to be published on Tuesday, we read that these estimates take for granted that the audience will be sufficiently numerous to fill the theaters. Something that is still difficult to assess, at least to survey the clientele.

This is what makes the team of the Théâtre Duceppe through its web site. In this survey updated Monday, there is only a little more than 22 % of respondents have assured that they would return to the theatre in the week following a déconfinement.

The largest proportion or 23.6 %, to wait a month before you return so 19 % would be three months later.

Of the 4195 respondents, 594 people, or 14.2 %, expect the arrival of a vaccine before pointing in a theater.

Among the questions asked in this survey, we asked the respondents what would be the reasons that would prevent them to come back in an auditorium? Nearly 45 % said the fear for their health.

Also, note that the reconfiguration of seating to comply with the rule of two meters provide certainty to costs of 53 % of respondents, while the limitation of support is reassuring for 45 % of the respondents to this survey can be found on the theatre’s website.

“” See the paper Industry of the humor and the after-COVID – Estimates of the number of seats in the theaters

Le Soleil

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