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THE EMPTY AUDITORIUM

16 March to 27 March 2022

International artists in iconic venues during lockdown

On 16 March 2020, The Lowry – alongside most theatres in the UK – closed its doors in the first Covid-19 lock-down. Buildings that were teeming with life, became empty and lonely shells of their former selves. Soon, however, artists were able to work again, now alone in the spaces where they normally meet audiences face-to-face. Filled with nostalgia, memory but also a new boldness and energy, they created powerful love-letters to these magical buildings, their audiences and the sense of human connection that live performance creates.

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The online programme features new creations from the period when artists could create again in buildings that were still closed to audiences. Their works often look back out into the empty auditoria, giving audiences a view normally privileged just for the performer.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic encouraged The Lowry to flip its perspective on how its audiences engage and watch performance. On Demand and Live Streamed performances allowed audiences to enjoy work whilst unable to visit the building. It made shows more accessible and opened opportunities to share work beyond the building’s geographical location, including internationally.

Lowry Digital is the organisations response to the continued need for digital work to co-exist with live performance. A need for it to be an option for audiences and creatives. Lowry Digital will host a variety of performances, exhibitions, films and experiences online.

Matthew Eames, Head of Theatres (Contemporary and Commissioning) for The Lowry said:

“Throughout the initial lockdown and extended period of closure we worked really hard to maintain a positive connection to our visitors and audiences via our #LoveLowry channel. We realised quickly that for some artists and audiences the online world was an arts space in its own right – just as important and significant as our theatres and galleries. We are really excited to launch Lowry Digital as a purpose-built online platform for performances, exhibitions, films and experience that can be enjoyed wherever you are – at home or on the move. It is our commitment to artists who want to make work digitally and to those audiences and visitors who may not feel able to return to arts buildings.”

The first programme of work presented on the platform will be ‘The Empty Auditorium’- International artists in iconic venues during lockdown. It brings together some of the key works created in the past couple of years in the UK and internationally. There will be eight artists across ten works. The pieces range in length from a few minutes to 1.5 hours. The work takes audiences to some of Europe’s most iconic venues like the Royal Albert Hall, Munich Opera, Zurich Schauspielhaus and The Lowry.

Eckhard Thiemann, Programming Associate (Dance) for The Lowry, said:

“On 16 March 2020, The Lowry – alongside most theatres in the UK – closed its doors in the first Covid-19 lock-down. Buildings that were teeming with life, became empty and lonely shells of their former selves. Soon, however, artists were able to work again, now alone in the spaces where they normally meet audiences face-to-face. Filled with nostalgia, memory but also a new boldness and energy, they created powerful love-letters to these magical buildings, their audiences and the sense of human connection that live performance creates.”


The Empty Auditorium’ programme includes:

I.M.PACT: Let’s Go
I.M.PACT’s protest-movement inspired storming of Greater Manchester’s stages

Songhay Toldon: Dancing in the Dark
Songhay Toldon’s private and melancholic clubbing solo, staged in Zurich’s Schauspielhaus

Moritz Ostruschnkak: Tanzanweisungen
Moritz Ostruschnjak’s brilliant solo riff on multiple dance and sport styles set against the splendour of Munch Opera House in Tanzanweisungen

Soumik Datta: Silent Spaces
Soumik Datta’s exploration of Royal Albert Hall and Manchester’s Mayfield Depot, filling their silence with new songs and movement in his series Silent Spaces

Northern Ballet: Locked In by Daniel de Andrade
Northern Ballet’s touching quartet Locked In by Daniel de Andrade, showing the dancers’ journey from outside to their ‘true home’: the stage of the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield

Moritz Ostruschnjak: Yester:Now
Moritz Ostruschnjak’s boisterous collage of agit-prop, dance and sport, set in Munich’s grandest concert hall in Yester:Now

Lost Dog: In A Nutshell
Ben Duke from Lost Dog quiet meditation ‘In A Nutshell’ in Worthing Theatre, trying to explain to a future generation what theatre buildings once meant

The Sunday Boys and Finn Anderson: Distant Dream
Manchester’s The Sunday Boys bringing to life The Lowry’s auditorium with a haunting ballad

Clod Ensemble: An Anatomie in Four Quartes – Shifting Perpectives
Clod Ensemble’s reflections on their seminal Anatomy in Four Quarters, already created in 2011, and performed at The Lowry in 2016.
All works part of ‘The Empty Auditorium’ are free of charge and available throughout the whole period (16 – 27 March 2022) 24hrs a day.