Drive-ins: A new way to watch live performances

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The ENO’s Annilese Miskimmon sees things differently – for opera, at least. For her, a drive-in show offers the chance to do something she was planning to do anyway – take live opera out of London and to places that don’t normally get to experience it. “We’ve had huge interest from right across the country to take it on tour. Drive and Live is something we’re investing in as a long-term vision for how opera can hit parts of the UK and different types of audience.”

She believes times of crises have always been the catalyst for great moments in culture, and now is no different. “So many of the masterpieces that we take for granted only happened through really difficult situations. Now it’s time for our generation to take the difficult and really find things in it that enrich our audiences, and inspire going forward in a positive way.”

As for the more traditional drive-in, as cinemas slowly reopen again, can they still hold our interest? One person confident in their future is filmmaker Spencer Folmar, who plans to open what he says will be the world’s largest drive-in in Florida. “I grew up going to drive-ins and those are some of my most fond childhood memories,” he tells BBC Culture. “I believe that the drive-in experience will be here to stay and continue to thrive because people are now remembering how wonderful it is.”

Always a cult favourite, the story of the drive-in is getting an unexpected sequel in 2020. Whether we’ll still be as enthralled once the pandemic is finally over, we’ll have to wait and see.

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