Interim venues: location deter­mines success

Samuel Sianipar/unsplash
News I Image: unsplash/2023 Samuel Sianipar

In the German-speaking countries, the number of public theaters, opera houses and concert halls, is large: about 140 publicly and about 200 privately funded theaters, many with several venues, and about 40 concert halls.1) Due to a lack of investment, a strongly transferring environment and the structural conditions, many of these cultural properties are no longer able to meet the current requirements of users and visitors or even safety regulations. In addition, the moment is often long delayed to make the long overdue investments and changes. Sustainable operation is thus hardly possible.

In addition to the planning and implementation of the construction and renovation projects, the choice of a suitable interim solution is of great importance for building owners and users to remain present during the (re)construction phase and to meet the requirements of the play operation as well as the expectations of the visitors in the best possible way. The starting point for the realization of a viable interim is first the clarification of important framework conditions such as duration of use, budget, or spatial requirements: Aspects such as programming, seating capacity, technical and stage equipment, workshops, storage, office space and general space requirements should be determined. The requirements must also be designed for long-term time horizons to consider possible extensions of the construction period.

Basically, the market has found different solutions for choosing a suitable interim in recent years:

  • Conversion of an existing building by means of remodeling, as is currently the case in Stuttgart, at the Schauspiel Köln or at the Isarphilharmonie
  • Use of one or more existing venues as alternative venue(s), as in the case of the renovation of the Philharmonie Essen
  • Choice of a mobile structure, e.g., in the form of a tent, as in Kassel or Altenburg, among others.

In addition to the choice and feasibility of a suitable structural solution (with considerable differences in investment requirements), the choice of location is also of not inconsiderable importance. Aspects such as the availability of space and buildings (e.g., rental conditions) or accessibility for visitors play a major role.

An analysis of different interim solutions by actori has shown a strong impact on visitor numbers and operational processes. Depending on the location, the number of visitors drops by 50% compared to regular operations in the case of an interim solution lasting several years. In addition to lost revenues, this sometimes requires active countermeasures, which are better introduced in advance. Therefore, it is important to choose a suitable model for the interim solution that considers the needs of the visitors as well as operational and economic factors.

Criteria that can be decisive for the choice of an interim solution include accessibility, ongoing location costs, accommodation of space requirements or even attractiveness of building and surroundings. actori will be happy to support you in developing various options for your situation, so that you can find a well-founded decision for your interim, considering the relevant criteria.

Source: 1) Theaterstatistiken des Deutschen Bühnenvereins

An impulse contribution by Michaela Hermann, Consulting and Frank Schellenberg, Management Director.

Go back