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2008 Architecture Commission Meeting Report, Stockholm, Sweden
Invited by STTF (Swedish Theatre-Technical Organization), two OISTAT commissions- Scenography Commission and Architecture Commission- held a joint meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. The two commissions met on the same ship for one purpose- to discuss about the similarities and differences between Scenographers and theatre architects. The discussion focused on the compatibility of architect-designed theatrical facilities, masters’ works included.
Reija Hirvikoski, scenographer from Finland, shared her experiences of working in theatre buildings designed by the world-famous architect, Alvar Aalto. Alvar Aalto’s works feature in his preference for non-symmetrical rooms, which could turn out to be a challenge for theatre works. Her experiences exemplified the inflexibility of some contemporary theatre space and generated further discussions.
After key note presentation, commission members were split up into 5 working groups. Each working group consisted of at least one architect and one scenographer for the purpose to trigger discussion between the two professions. Participants from different cultural background discussed what constitute the ideal theatre performing space.
Results from different working groups share several points in common:
1. The traditional fixed seating layout in classical proscenium no longer suits the needs of scenographers;
2. Black Boxes, though showed a seemingly promising flexibility, are found to lack the space volume required by most scenographers. Often used as “small theatres,” black boxes are either too small or over-equipped and hard for Scenographers to dematerialize the original building structure.
3. Participants preferred a spacious, big black action platform, big enough to accommodate at least two simultaneous stages for different productions. The theatre space should be flexible and convenient and easy for reconfiguration.
4. Access to the upper room of the performing space should contain a technical grid, winches, a Lightbridge system or a tension wire.
Participants took the opportunity to exchange views and ideas from different aspects
The working group of the Architecture Commission also recapitulated the results of the 7th Theatre Architecture Competition 2007 (TAC) for students and possible alterations for the new edition, which will be held in 4 years.
Visit to the baroque Theatre of Drottingholm Palace was on the agenda. The joint meeting ended with a trip to the newly built dramaturgy school, an institute to instruct actors, stage directors, dancers and media technicians in downtown of Stockholm.