David Byrne’s immersive, sensory-rich theater project Theater of the Mind will now be premiering in 2021.
The production was supposed to open this year at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, via its DCPA Off-Center arm, but the city’s pandemic shutdown has upended Byrne and co-creator Mala Gaonkar’s plans. They plan on announcing rescheduled dates in the future and promise to send updates via the project’s website.
“Postponing this production, which has been many years in the making, is heartbreaking for everyone involved,” DCPA Off-Center Curator Charlie Miller said in a statement. “But given the uncertainties of what the future of this pandemic holds, we found ourselves with no other choice. DCPA Off-Center remains deeply committed to producing Theater of the Mind in Denver, and we hope to share this groundbreaking experience with our community as soon as we safely and responsibly can.”
Byrne detailed his vision for the project late last year in an interview with Rolling Stone. “It will be in a warehouse, where it’s divided into a bunch of different rooms,” he said at the time. “A group of 16 audience members will go from room to room and experience these perceptual things. When they leave one room, another group goes in there. That way, you can get 400 people in from 6 p.m. to 10. You get the same number as if it were a theater show, but you get more in small groups.”
The former Talking Heads frontman recently ended a successful Broadway run of his American Utopia show, which found him performing songs from throughout his career with a group of musicians who danced and carried their instruments around the stage. Before the coronavirus pandemic, filmmaker Spike Lee announced his intention to film a version of the show for a release later this year; he and Byrne have yet to announce a release date for the picture.