At this point, it has become abundantly clear that the list of what shipping container conversions can be used for is significantly longer than the list of functions a shipping container cannot be adapted for.

With shipping container restaurants, festival platforms, cinemas, arcades, social hubs, gyms, schools and many other adaptations besides, it is perhaps not surprising that shipping containers have not only taken centre stage but become the centre stage for theatrical productions.

There are two ways to achieve this; the first is to use a container, create a large door, opening or curtain on one side and create a stage perfectly suited for a wide range of performances including theatre and music.

However, a fascinating evolution of this concept is the idea of taking the unique dimensions of the shipping container and using that to tell stories that could only be told with the help of a container.

The first major example of this was the 2007 play The Container by Clare Bayley, which won Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award as well as a Scotsman Fringe First award after becoming a big hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

It is designed as a claustrophobic tale told barely a metre in front of the 28 audience members and lit by torches as five people take a terrifying journey in search of safety, security and a better life, with the container’s clanging doors being a major part of the play’s tense sound design.

This idea has evolved significantly, with productions such as Darkfield’s mind-bending “Flight” and the avant-garde Séance, which takes place in complete darkness and takes full advantage of this to frighten people who take part.

Because it can be set up anywhere and by design and has a more intimate and interactive atmosphere than traditional stage plays, expect this trend to continue in the future.


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