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Grand Center’s Big Top Will Reopen For Performances Throughout 2021

The Big Top by Matthew Washausen.jpg
Matthew Washausen
Kranzberg Arts Foundation
Kranzberg Arts Foundation's Grand Center venue the Big Top will reopen for circus, theater, dance and musical performances.

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation announced it will reopen its tented venue the Big Top and hold performances there through the rest of the year with coronavirus safety measures in place.

No reopening date is set. Kranzberg officials said they will release a full schedule of events for the Grand Center venue soon. Performers will include Circus Flora, Dance St. Louis and Big Muddy Dance Company. The venue also will hold concerts and theatrical performances.

Kranzberg launched the venue in 2018 as a seasonal, multipurpose performance space. It never opened for business in 2020, due to limits on public gatherings imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Big Top can hold up to 1,200 people. St. Louis health officials have restricted large venues to no more than 50% of their capacity to help limit the spread of the virus.

The first events in the reopened venue will include no more than 200 to 350 people, Kranzberg Arts Foundation Executive Director Chris Hansen said Wednesday.

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation has led the creation of safety protocols among arts organizations in the St. Louis region during the coronavirus pandemic. After a test run in July, the foundation produced a fall and winter concert series known as the “Open Air” series, in a tent located in a parking lot adjacent to the Grandel Theatre.

The concerts feature spaced seating and contactless payment, and patrons are required to wear masks when not at their tables and when talking to venue staff.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the Kranzberg Arts Foundation's plans for audience capacity at the soon-to-be-reopened Big Top. Producers of different events will have the same limits on audience size.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @jeremydgoodwin

Jeremy is the arts & culture reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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