Good ideas for the arts: The portable theater-in-the-round

The proposed Roundabout Auditorium moves the theater to the people.

It’s entirely possible that we are entering the “Portable Century,” a euphemism for a period of profound dislocation as environmental, political, economic and climate catastrophes turn more and more of us into refugees, of one sort or another. If you can’t carry it with you, you’re going to have to do without.

But how will we deliver the arts to our new tent cities? Architects are already working on the problem, and here’s one possible answer: The Roundabout Auditorium, pictured above. At a cost of around $140,000, this theater-in-the-round seats 150 in four tiers (or 100 in three tiers, depending on the available space) for an intimate theater experience, not so far removed from some Portland theaters now. It packs flat on a truck, ready to move on to the next camp. Or neighborhood. Because right now the American model of building capital-intensive arts districts neglects a gigantic slice of the possible audience for the arts. So even without climate change, it’s a great idea.


One Response.

  1. Rachel says:

    Awesome idea, but way cost prohibited…Unless a Sponsor steps us….the entire back piece,visible from outside the theater, could be filled with sponsor ads ala baseball fields…

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