After what feels like an eternity of online meetings and Zoom events, local employers can now reconnect with staff over popcorn and a movie thanks to some creative thinking by the team at DNA Live.
The local events producer first unveiled Drive-In Experience Ottawa – an outdoor movie venue located at Wesley Clover Parks – during the summer of 2020.
While the concept was initially geared towards local residents looking for pandemic-safe fun, DNA Live director Ali Shafaee quickly saw an opportunity to also help the broader business community by hosting outdoor corporate events.
“There is a real void for team-building and staff appreciation events right now, and we realized we could help,” said Shafaee.
Local companies can rent out the Drive-In Experience Ottawa venue to host COVID-safe in-person gatherings.
While businesses can take advantage of the large screen and host a private corporate movie night, the options don’t stop there.
The venue can be outfitted for an outdoor yoga session, fitness class, concert, live entertainment or other concepts that businesses have in mind.
With enough space to ensure physical distancing, and stringent COVID protocols, Drive-In Experience Ottawa is a great way for teams to reconnect, adds Shafaee.
In 2020, he and his team hosted nearly 40 corporate gatherings – which was welcome news for DNA Live.
With its well-known events such as Escapade Music Festival and the Wine and Food Show canceled, tapping into a new client base brought in some revenue for the business.
“The pandemic shut us down completely, so we could have either sat there and waited for things to get better, or we could pivot,” he says.
Hosting weekly events also kept live entertainment in the minds of Ottawa residents, says Shafaee, which will be important when the time comes for the return of large-scale events.
“We’re going to be in a very good position to be able to go back to our core roots of live music and festivals,” he says. “We feel confident we may be able to start introducing some of that this year.”
Expanding in Ottawa
To help meet pent up demand for live entertainment, DNA Live has launched a second Drive-In Experience Ottawa location in the east end.
With nearly 70,000 guests passing through the west end venue theatre at Wesley Clover Parks last year, it was a no-brainer to set up a second screen to cater to fans in other areas of Ottawa.
Movie buffs – or local businesses looking for a fun way to get together – can now catch a show at the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park baseball stadium on Coventry Road.
Shafaee says guests can expect to see the same range of entertainment at both locations, including comedy nights, concerts and themed movie events.
“We’ve been able to really grow our audience in the last year and provide some fresh entertainment to people of all ages,” says Shafaee. “It’s great to see people having fun during a time like this.”
Drive-In Experience Ottawa is now open for the season!
For more information on booking a corporate event or to see a schedule of what movies are playing visit https://www.thedriveinottawa.ca to get your tickets.