‘The Tent on the Racecourse’: Durham City’s new Covid-safe entertainment space

The venue for Durham’s new ‘The Tent on the Racecourse’ (Image: Livia Dove-Woods)

Plans are currently underway to erect a festival-style marquee on Durham city’s Racecourse to help provide three weeks of Covid-safe entertainment for the community to enjoy – just in time for the end of the Durham University exam period.

‘The Tent’ will host a variety of performing arts events and activities run by student groups from across the university from Saturday 5th June to Friday 25th June. The performances will include music ranging from Gospel to Opera as well as theatre, poetry, dance and the Durham University Charity Show. The student groups are said to be eager to welcome the local community into their audiences again with the event hoping to be a “hub of celebration and entertainment” in a year that has been devastating from performing arts and cultural communities.

All events, except for a handful of Durham University award ceremonies, will be open to the public with a wide range of events for all the family. Refreshments will be available on site and have been sourced from a range of local eateries. These can be ordered in advance online and collected at the venue – just one of the ways in which the event is aiming to make the event calm and Covid-secure.

Furthermore, all audience members will be required to show proof of a recent negative Covid test. They will also have to wear a mask throughout performances, unless they are eating and drinking. The venue will be thoroughly cleaned between each event with Covid marshals on hand to ensure the smooth and safe running of the event. All of the performers have been working within strict Covid guidelines to develop their performances with each having to appoint a dedicated Covid Safety Officer, which has allowed them to present a safe performance to the audience.

Speaking on behalf of the University, Event Organiser Kate Barton said “In an incredibly difficult year for live performance, we are thrilled to be supporting the creation of a pop-up entertainment space this June. We hope to play our part in re-invigorating the performing arts scene in Durham and provide the opportunity for people to enjoy live performance safely again.”

Quentin Sloper, Director of Experience Durham added: “I really hope that we can enjoy these events together as a community. As the city opens up and gradually comes back to life after lockdown, we want to create a sense of celebration, where we can come together safely, meet up with friends and family and be entertained. I know that our students will cherish the opportunity to perform in-person after such a long period.”

To book tickets for this event, visit ‘The Tent on the Racecourse’ website.

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