Omaha Mobile Stage

Mobile architecture as post-pandemic creative placemaking

  • Type Cultural
  • Location Anywhere
  • Status in progress
  • Date 2022
  • Project Partners

    Partners for Livable Omaha:
    Jessica Scheuerman, Founding Director

    Brendan Greene-Walsh, Technical Director in Theatre, Nebraska Wesleyan University

    Nebraska Innovation Studio:
    Jerry Reif, Assistant Director

FACT 25 – Active Project

Omaha Mobile Stage is a creative placemaking project to design and make a portable stage to serve as a cultural and economic catalyst in public spaces and main streets throughout the Omaha metropolitan area.OMS is a project of Partners for Livable Omaha, an Omaha-based nonprofit dedicated to the educational and charitable support of the live performing arts.

As the pandemic has dragged on, cities have seen a collapse in the cultural and commercial activities that make urban life exciting. The pandemic has created a vacuum in cultural districts and severely impacted employment in the live entertainment industries, which have retreated online. While physical distancing has saved lives, social isolation and loneliness have emerged as serious public health concerns. Now that a vaccine circulates, the creative and public realms have a unique opportunity to work together to breathe life back into cities. In response to our times, Omaha Mobile Stage is a prototype for a new model of outdoor venue providing a fun and flexible, but safe and serene, place for Omahans re-engage with each other, reactivate public spaces, and reanimate social, creative, and economic life in the city. The project is inspired by the long history of pageant wagons and the original Omaha Show Wagon, built in 1952 and used for many years thereafter.

See the project website: https://omahamobilestage.org for detailed information.

> This is an active project, check back periodically to see progress

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Setting up the Omaha Mobile Stage
Omaha Mobile Stage as a neighborhood outdoor screening room (rendering)

Final concept with doors open and stage deployed
The OMS is designed to be set up by 2 people in 30 minutes

Color: The razzle dazzle camouflage pattern on the exterior and the OMS logo use light blue and coral hues reserved by the US Department of Transportation for future road sign categories - FACT and OMS are staking a claim for these colors for the arts.

The truck arrives at Nebraska Innovation Studio

Many FACT projects start with (careful) demolition

Working on the stage doors at Hessheimer's beverage truck and trailer in Lincoln, NE

Panel mock-up for the interior of the doors and upstage walls & storage cabinets

The "Judd pans" as we call them - cladding for the inside of the doors and backstage storage doors.

The stage is assembled for the first time

FACT designed and fabricated a custom hinge for the stage

Steel rods hold the open doors in position and defend against Nebraska winds

OMS is designed to support several theatrical stage configurations

Tour: A free, live performing arts tour of Omaha’s green spaces

Beginning in Summer 2022, Omaha Mobile Stage operates as a mobile, public venue for performing artists of all ages. By working in partnership with a diverse range of public space managers, property types, local performers and arts nonprofits, our programming will respond to the local heritage, culture and tastes of Omaha’s unique neighborhoods.

Arts and culture act as “civic glue” when they animate gatherings across generational, cultural, and economic lines. Within our collaborative framework, the arts play a critical role in curating and strengthening neighborhood identity. Through performance, Omaha Mobile Stage brings people together in a neutral, safe space that can serve as a springboard for further community and economic development.

A special ribbon cutting event was held on June 25, 2022 at the Joslyn Castle with a performance by TBD Dance Collective and others.

Follow this link for details of the 2022 Performance Tour event schedule.

Omaha Mobile Stage at the Culxr House Block Party (rendering)

Omaha Mobile Stage at a public school yard (rendering)

Omaha Mobile Stage on the road

FACT 25 Team

Recognition

KETV Omaha, “Omaha Mobile Stage hit the road” by Alex McLoon, June 3, 2022

The Reader, “Here Comes a Stage on Wheels: A box truck is being converted to deliver free, live performances to Omaha neighborhoods”, by Courtney Bierman, April 22, 2022

Nebraska Public Media, “Mobile Stage Seeks to be Force in Socialization, Entertainment & Community Development for Omaha Neighborhoods”, by William Padmore, Dec. 31, 2021

Project 2021 Symposium, presentation and panel discussion, “Omaha Mobile Stage”, November 11, 2021

Consider This | Nebraska Public Media, television feature with interview, FACT’s Omaha Mobile Stage, Oct. 30, 2021

KPTM Omaha, “Design revealed for Omaha’s first mobile stage”, by Chandler Farnsworth, October 22, 2021

WOWT Omaha, television feature & interview, “Omaha Mobile Stage brings live performances in neighborhoods, communities”, October 19, 2021

Project Team

FACT Fall 2021 students:
Al Mundhir Sultan Saif Al Mahruqi
Essa Alouisi
John Andersen
Jarod Bengtson*
Payton Betzold
Ethan Boerner*
Mason Burress*
Brendan Colford
Thomas Gerdes*
Audrey Huse
Dariya Krestovsky
Xander Parker*
Natasha Pierce
Cameron Spengler
Eden Vanarsdall
Alyssa Villarreal

*continued into phase 2 construction

project advisors:
Kevin Lawler, Theatre Artist
Kat Fackler, Choreographer / Dancer
Kevin McCarthy
Dereck Higgins, Musician
T.J. Roe, Sound Engineer
Dan Brennan, Sound Engineer

Photography By Completed photos by Colin Conces, process photos by FACT
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