The New Phoenix Theatre: Mutable architecture for a volunteer community theatre
Byrd, Michael William
MetadataShow full item record
Modern conceptions of theatre emphasize the importance of approach, entry, intermission, and other related activities to the theatre experience as a whole. The volunteer community theatre adds additional concerns to this philosophy. By its very nature noncommercial theatre depends upon limited resources (material, financial, human) to execute productions often in direct competition with professional theatre companies. Survival demands many shows, longer seasons, and low ticket prices. Acting, directing, and production talent must come from willing volunteers who often work on a show-by-show basis. Consequently, each show is in the hands of a different group of artists with differing views of drama and performance. The Phoenix Theatre is currently the only theatre in Lubbock that actively pursues such inexperienced help in order to provide the community with a theatre that is truly public. Professional companies can maintain a certain consistency in presentations by keeping a semi-regular cast and crew through each show. Indeed, this consistency is expected and allows professional theatres to build reputations and faithful audiences. Conversely, the Phoenix appeals to fringe audiences which desire new experiences, affordability, and variety. A new theatre designed for the Phoenix must allow the artists to adjust their environment to suit their own performance philosophies and those of their particular show. While ordinarily an identification of relevant performance concepts would shape the architecture, in this case the accommodation of changing concepts prevails. By encouraging experimentation with the configuration of paths, spaces, forms, and lighting, the theatre itself can fulfill its potential as a tool for expression.