Theatre architecture

by Rob Warren | 1 May 2018

Students should consider alternative spaces for performance such as found space or repurposed facilities.

First published in the September 2009 Scene issue “Design projects”.

My thoughts on this article in 2018:
Since writing this article in 2009, Atlanta has seen a rejuvenation in its theatre scene. Smaller theatre companies that would have often gone out of business during a down economy, banded together to be able to apply for and access grants to fund their yearly seasons. Actor’s Express, a local theatre company, was awarded a total of US $72,500 by our local government and state organisations this year, showing their commitment to the arts. This is the highest level of government support a theatre company has received in Atlanta – showing a new-found support for arts organisations and recognition for the theatre’s contribution to our region’s cultural community. With this new-found support has come new theatre companies that are challenging how, where and why theatre is performed.

Companies like Serenbe Playhouse, who have received national attention for producing artistically rich, site-specific performances that as their mission statement articulates: “reduces the barriers between artists and audiences by immersing patrons in an environment that amplifies the beauty of nature, and provides opportunities for engagement, conversation and collaboration”. Serenbe Playhouse have pioneered Green Theatre Practices by producing plays with a commitment to social responsibility and environmental stewardship. Their productions – all performed outdoors, in concert with nature – repurpose existing structures, use natural light and 90% LED theatrical lighting. Sets are designed for disassembly and constructed with reclaimed and recycled materials, with the goal of minimising a production’s waste and impact on the environment.

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