A massive new Leeds venue with social distancing in mind has opened in the city.
The Wunderkind Group, behind Sheaf St, Duke Studios, Duke Makes and In Good Company, has launched the appropriately-named Testbed, a new 10,000sq ft events space for Leeds.
It is aimed to reinvent mass gatherings in a post-pandemic world with changes to the norm expected for some time.
The space, located on Butterly Street by Crown Point Retail Park, will host everything from comedy to conferences, theatre to sporting events and music to art.
Founders Laura Wellington and James Abbott-Donnelly are inviting discussion with the city’s events community to see how the space can be best used.
We all know the events industry and hospitality sector has been hit massively by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Even when it’s been possible to put events on this year, capacity has been a huge problem,” says James Abbott-Donnelly. “Venues that normally hold 400 people are reduced to hosting 40, and it just doesn’t work financially. Add to that the fact that Leeds has a real lack of large spaces that could accommodate bigger groups while maintaining social distancing and the city’s had a real problem.
Fortunately, with Testbed we’ve got the chance to create a solution.”
The intention with Testbed is to give event organisers a viable way to begin hosting again in a safe and engaging way.
“Space is a big part of it,” says Laura Wellington. “But while that breathing room might keep people safe, it doesn’t necessarily create the best experience. With Testbed we’ve got a blank canvas to design events in a way that’s pandemic-proof.
“We’re really focused on designing a space with the flexibility to cope with the unexpected, but also to provide an amazing home for Leeds’s larger cultural events and conferences regardless of whether ‘normal’ has been turned on its head. We are really excited to be able to shape this space with and for the city.”
Testbed will begin hosting socially distanced events in early 2021.
Those who want to find out more can visit their website.