San Francisco cultural leaders float ideas for alternative performance spaces

Posted on: July 31, 2020

“For the near term … an arts event that involves the gathering of people will likely have to move outdoors, or be staged inside [large] spaces,” writes Sam Whiting in Sunday’s (7/26) San Francisco Chronicle. “We [asked] a broad cross section of 22 Bay Area cultural thought leaders, If you were given a swath of land and allowed to reconfigure aspects of it to create safer arts experiences, what would it look like?” Among the responses were Phillippa Cole, director of artistic planning, San Francisco Symphony (“I love the idea of the Symphony orchestra literally popping out of a shipping container on a flatbed truck and performing on the back of that truck, which could drive to various locations…. Repertoire [could] be selected by the audience members from an electronic menu … like a juke box)” and Matthew Shilvock, general director, San Francisco Opera (“A massive stage would be erected over the top of the three Fort Mason piers …a gathering place on a mega scale [with the] audience … on boats [surrounding] Fort Mason on all sides…. Social-distanced viewing would also be available on the Great Meadow”). Other ideas include open-air stages, audience igloos, and a socially distanced sculpture garden.