The Phoenix Theatre Company is finding a creative way to bring shows back while aiming to protect the safety of actors and audiences amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Phoenix Theatre Company is building an outdoor stage that will resemble this rendering at Central United Methodist Church at 1875 N. Central Ave. This outdoor venue will allow guests to watch live performances again in a setting that aims to promote safety during this COVID-19 pandemic (photo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre Company).

Shows are going to premiere on an outdoor stage being built at the Central United Methodist Church at 1875 N. Central Ave., one block north of its three-stage complex. The outdoor stage will provide ample room for guests to watch live performances while keeping their social distance from others.

The new performance area will accommodate about 250 people, seated in pairs and spaced six-feet from others in all directions. The new, 32-by-24-foot stage has been custom designed and built by outdoor event specialists to permit production teams to replicate high-production values while maintaining safety. There will be a wall of screens at the back of the stage to boost flexibility of the space.

The work had to comply with local, state and national health mandates. The Phoenix Theatre Company received approval from the state and city to hold outdoor gatherings. Vincent VanVleet, managing director of the Phoenix Theatre Company, said the best part is helping to bring “some of the country’s finest arts professionals back to work.”

The theater company voluntarily suspended shows in March to help try to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Performances at the outdoor stage are expected to start with “Happy Birthday Dionne,” a tribute to Dionne Warwick featuring the local trio We3, on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The outdoor shows will run through May of next year. To learn more, visit



Hello, North Central neighbor — thank you for visiting!

Sign up to receive our digital issue in your inbox each month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.