Hands disinfected, keep your distance and enjoy
An evening at the Corona-proof theater
Visitors are enjoying performances to the full again. What do they think of their experience visiting the Parktheater? Our colleague Loes has checked it out.
I am looking forward - even more than ever - to an evening of live dance by Nederlands Dans Theater 1, the performance Endlessly Free in the Hertog Jan Zaal. Half an hour later, Quintijn Lohman and his band Tigre Blanco will perform their new show in the Philipszaal. What a nice mix of artists we have!
The mixing of artists often plays a role in my Parktheater-guilty-pleasure-moment: when I fantasize what it would be like if the artists from one hall made a performance with the artists from the other hall. If the graceful NDT dancers started improvising to the cool gypsy soul music by Quintijn Lohman.
The visualization of that fantasy is a great contrast to the tranquility with which visitors are entering and calmly walking through the building. Not only at the entrance, where people are asked about their health, and where they have to disinfect their hands, but also in the hall, in the corridors, and in the Theatercafé.
Since September, we have begun offering plenty of performances again, meaning that many people have been able to visit the Parktheater again. A survey among 650 of our visitors shows that more than half (370) indicated that they felt "very safe and relaxed" during their visit to the Parktheater. Another significant portion of the visitors (over 250 people) felt 'safe and relaxed', and a small minority did not feel that safe. The comments and suggestions provided by this latter, small group are receiving the constant attention of the Parktheater Corona team.
Mr. and Mrs. de Wit are sitting at a table in the Theatercafé and are later going to the Tigre Blanco show. "We used to go to a performance twice a month on average before Corona. In July, we received an email that the Parktheater was opening again. We didn't have to think twice; we responded immediately. The first performance we visited was Bier & Liefde by Bende van Oz. It was wonderful.'
This couple is very satisfied with the security measures in the building. But they also find it important to use common sense: "We avoid crowded places. We avoid being in a hurry and wait if necessary. And, we have patience. We leave on time; we were already here by 7:15 pm. We also look out for each other. There are clear instructions at the entrance, and there are many places where you can find disinfectant. We feel very relaxed."
Mr. de Wit is also enthusiastic about the adapted Philipszaal: 'We think this hall is ideal; the ambiance is very nice. We wouldn’t mind if the hall always stays this way. "
After the performance, I head toward the Theatercafé. I’ve experienced such a beautiful evening of dance and music, like a kind of drug -- a shot of invigorating vitamins for my soul. Feeling a bit high from this experience, I walk among the people in the Theatercafé. Everyone is keeping their distance. And when there are moments of closer proximity, you see that people look at each other for a moment, and then coordinate with each other. I see a group of students standing at the bar -- excited and full of each other’s company.
Near the entrance to the WC, I meet Rob Westra, an elderly gentleman with a brown wool felt hat and long coat. He is waiting for his wife. "Yesterday, we went to a concert in De Singel in Antwerp. And now, we have seen the Nederlands Dans Theater; it was a very beautiful evening." Mr. Westra and his wife have felt safe tonight, he says. Despite the lively group of students that skimmed down the stairs past the couple.
I ask my colleague Siego, manager of hospitality, about his experiences. In past weeks, visitors were finding it increasingly difficult to adhere to the rules; attention and concern were diminishing. "Since then, we have been enforcing extra strict precautions again. If we see that visitors are not keeping a meter and a half distance, then we immediately address them. That is working. Now, things are going well again."
Annemarie Pijnappel, regular visitor at the Parktheater, works at Fontys University of the Arts in Tilburg and lives in Eindhoven. She sees many performances for her work. "I saw three performances last week. Yet, I am going less, but that is not because I do not feel safe. There are theaters, such as De Vorst in Tilburg, where you sit at a small table with only one other person. I often come alone, and then meet up with acquaintances. But I can't sit at a table with them. That makes it a bit less fun to go."
Marc Rijs and Egbert Claes are drinking a beer in the Theatercafé. They attended the NDT performance together. Before the Corona period, they regularly attended performances at the Parktheater. "We are both back for the first time tonight and enjoyed the NDT.” "I feel safe," says Marc. "The measures work well. I really enjoy feeling the energy of the audience and the dancers on stage."
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