The First Hungarian Quarantine Theater, located aboard the TRIP boat on the Danube, was established to offer entertainment online amidst the coronavirus shutdown, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.
The TRIP boat itself, offering a contemporary space where theatre, circus, film, dance, and music melt into each other to entertain the audience, first opened last September. Originally a cargo ship built in 1937, it is anchored near Batthyány square in the heart of Budapest.
When the Hungarian government introduced restrictions this spring due to the coronavirus epidemic, theaters were among the first establishments to close. TRIP immediately suspended its operations and relocated onto the virtual stage.
"In Hungary, we were the first to respond. Recreating our operation as a theater, introducing a new repertoire in cooperation with more than a hundred artists, we established the first web theatre. We aim to maintain and develop it after the crisis," says theater director László Magács
Lead artist and singer Bori Péterfy says, "Theatre is a live genre, it is completely alien to the online world. That is why we must create a brand-new genre. It is important for us to unite and reach our audience, so culture could be available for them. This is impossible to sustain without financial backing. Please, support us! Be a part of the birth of a new medium."
The crew of TRIP has realized that with the help of the virtual world they can make their productions available for anyone, bringing contemporary theater to an audience that did not have the opportunity to follow the Hungarian art industry before.
The programs can only be watched online, through a livestream. All of their the theaterʼs collaborators agreed to join their cause pro bono.
"No one should be without culture: let’s build a global viewership," Magács says.
The quarantine theater streams performances in English on a weekly basis and they also provide subtitles for most of their plays. The idea of the First Hungarian Quarantine Theatre is unique in the world, and after articles published in Reuters and The New York Times, China Global TV Network came to film the theater, the press release adds.
However because thousands are now in financial crisis, this way of operation is not sustainable for much longer, according to the press release.
TRIP started its community funding campaign on Tőkeportál. Their target is to collect HUF 10 million throughout the campaign to establish the basis of their financial operation.
The names of supporters will appear on TRIP’s supporters’ puzzle-wall. This means that every supporter will be able to find their name once the boat reopens for the public again. Until then, the names can be found on TRIP’s social media page.
Further information about the theater is available here.