WATCH: Grease star Stockard Channing… and the air pump tech keeping theatre filled with fresh air

Rizzo gets technical on air handling

Friday, 28th January — By Geoffrey Sawyer

Air Ventilation at Hampstead - with Stockard Channing 1-0 screenshot

Stockard Channing knows all the details of what goes on under Hampstead Theatre

GREASE star Stockard Channing has provided an in depth explanation as to how a theatre can be kept filled with fresh air during the coronavirus pandemic.

The actor, who played Betty Rizzo in the enduring 1978 musical, starred in ‘night Mother at the Hampstead Theatre last month to rave reviews; the Evening Standard said her performance was worth was ‘worth the admission price alone’, while we said she was “immensely watchable

During her time in Eton Avenue, the theatre filmed her explaining the technical details of what’s happening in the basement and how audiences could be reassured that fresh air was constantly flowing through the theatre.

The run-through is aimed tackling a problem facing all playhouses as they return to action following Covid interruptions – the potential concern from audiences about returning to the stalls and sitting close to others. Ms Channing tours the ‘plant room’ underneath the green space behind the theatre in Swiss Cottage.

“The air in the main auditorium is changed completely for fresh air from outside every4 minutes 45 seconds,” she tells viewers. “When the theatre was built in 2003, the air handling system was designed so that it would never have to operate at full capacity. But in the time of Covid we are really grateful for that extra power which draws fresh air from the outside.”

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