Omaha Mobile Stage brings live performances in neighborhoods, communities

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 2:52 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A new way to enjoy theater is coming to Omaha. When the pandemic shut down life as we knew it, we were forced to adapt, go digital.

“Some works translate very well to a virtual format and some don’t.”

Live performances were an area that the Founder and Executive Director of Livable Omaha, Jessica Scheurman, felt didn’t translate well online.

“When thinking of what we wanted our first project to be, we really wanted to address arts as a contributor to improved public health,” said Scheurman.

Scheurman approached the Nebraska Innovation Studio and Professor of Architecture at UNL Jeffrey Day to create the Omaha Mobile Stage, a state-of-the-art performance venue on wheels.

”We conceived of us a framework, a schedule for doing this, and ultimately came to the decision that the students would design and build the Omaha Mobile Stage using a box truck as our sort of platform,” said Day.

Sixteen students at UNL teamed up to create four possible designs, the design will be revealed on Friday.

“Ultimately as a group, we chose the best ideas from each of the groups, merged those into a single project and we’re now working on the details,” said Day.

Currently, there are no other projects like the Omaha Mobile Stage but the idea behind it pays homage to Omaha’s history.

“In 1954, the Omaha World-Herald donated a mobile stage to the parks department. That program was called the Goodfellows Show Wagon and that ran for 59 years,” said Scheurman.

Just like the show wagon before it, the Omaha Mobile Stage will go into neighborhoods, parks, gardens, and schools, bringing live performances to people in the community.

“Allowing the heritage of each neighborhood to speak through the project. The local culture, the local tastes and you know, really asking communities to co-produce these works with us,” said Scheurman.

A vessel to bring us closer after what’s felt like an eternity apart. The hope is to have the majority of construction done by the end of the semester and shows utilizing the stage in the spring.

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