NITE Hotel

On March 12th 2020 the first try-out of Before/After would have taken place. Before/After is a new performance by the National Interdisciplinary Theater Ensemble (NITE), directed by Guy Weizman, creative director of Noord Nederlands Toneel (NNT) and Club Guy & Roni. At that time, more than 50 makers had put their hearts and souls in this performance for months/years. A day later, the "intelligent lockdown" was announced due to the Coronavirus, thereby marking the end of the entire tour. With the motto "the show must go online", the virtual NITE Hotel opened its doors to the public on April 28 to host a online premiere of the production Before/After. The aim was to build an online platform that has all the specific elements that ‘offline’ theatres have. The ambition was to create a social event, rather than just to stream a theater registration online. The NITE hotel, which was build in just four weeks. It houses an online theater, where, through Zoom's functionalities, you can participate interactively in the program. In addition to the performances, introductions, after-talks and Q&A's take place, hosted from the studio in our theater the Machinefabriek in Groningen, home of NNT and Club Guy & Roni. In the bar you can have a virtual drink with others, share experiences or just chat with the bartender. You can also enjoy live performances and online artworks in the 22 rooms that NITE Hotel also houses. You can talk to the makers or choose to enjoy the artworks anonymously. After the program there is a Zoom after party where visitors dance to the tunes of NITE Hotel dj’s. Are you lost in the Hotel? There are robots at the reception who will kindly show you the way. The canceled performance "Before / After" also took the stage at NITE Hotel: a unique online premiere on Thursday, April 30. The performance was recorded with nine cameras, which made it possible to construct a special, 'fit-for-online' edit and show this to the visitors of the NITE Hotel. A play in the form of a film was the result. 4000 visitors attended this premiere. In the first five evenings after opening, the theater received more than 15,000 visitors. One in four visited the NITE Hotel from abroad including the United States, England, Thailand, Sweden, Mexico, Lithuania and Japan. The evenings were rated 4.4 on a scale of 5. Since then, a weekly program can be experienced, created by both NITE and other (inter) national makers. Of course, NNT and Club Guy & Roni can't wait for the offline theaters to open their doors again. At the same time, we are convinced that this has created a new cultural product that will continue to exist in addition to the offline art form. With NITE Hotel we are able to reach audiences worldwide, with a platform that is without any thresholds to come in. It’s easy accessible for every audience, even for those who do not enter regular theaters. For performing arts companies it will be possible to engage with their audiences much more regularly than physical touring can provide. And without any physical borders and other barriers it is an easy accessible and low risk way of experiencing performing arts for the first time, giving it the potential of reaching out to a great number of new audiences for the performing arts. In a time where international mobility for artists will be low for months, or even for longer, NITE Hotel has the potential to give a large amount of makers and performers a stage to present their work and to interactively engage with their audiences live. Artists can inspire and be in close contact with audiences from all over the world, in a time that inspiration, hope and contact has become evenly important as breathing. For artists being internationally mobile and visible, doesn’t have to mean to burn CO2 to travel around the world, but could lead to a new situation where audience engagement could also go online for an important part. We are sure the online experience will never replace the physical magic of a theater performances, but the Covid-19 virus will give an urgent boost to the online possibilities for the performing arts. NITE Hotel can host these new and exciting artforms that artists will create in the near future, and create a international platform to connect to their audiences worldwide.

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