Local artist’s design wins national competition for temporary stage on Civic Plaza

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Come next month, Civic Plaza will have two stages.

One of them – the newly proclaimed Al Hurricane Pavilion.

The other will be on the plaza floor where visitors and kids will be able to hang out during the day and the other where actors will put on Shakespeare’s masterpieces at night.

This was a vision that began months ago.

“We loved his design,” explained Martin Andrews, the artistic director of the Vortex Theater’s Shakespeare on the Plaza series. “It had everything we were looking for, it had the playfulness, the adaptability.”

Back in January, Shakespeare on the Plaza and the city’s public art department set out to solve a good problem to have, how to meet the growing popularity of the free summer theater series on Civic Plaza.

“It was exactly what it needed to be and not less and not more,” explained Andrews.

They issued a call-out to artists around the country to design a stage on the plaza floor that could stay there during the month-long performances.

“And the idea too is that people are going to be able to interact with it during the days, it’s going to be an installation and it had those qualities we thought that people would enjoy during the day as well,” he said.

After nearly two dozen submissions from near and far, local artist Glen Gunderson was tapped.

His work is already a crowd favorite on Civic Plaza.

He crafted the giant Adirondack chair.

“It seems to have been very successful,” he said.

He also spent 25 years building displays for the Albuquerque Museum.

His latest creation, “is basically sort of like a dock idea, in other words, to get people up off the water or this plaza,” Gunderson explained.

“If I were a kid, I would love to play on it as well it has doors and it has all of these different walkways and ramps and so it’s going to be a fun experience for I think the public during the day and then for our actors to play on at night,” Andrews said.

Gunderson says the challenge was designing a workable stage for two different plays and making sure the stage didn’t interfere with other summer events on the plaza.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my concepts, just my ideas and how they get built and translated and installed,” said Gunderson.

Shakespeare on the Plaza runs from June 9th through July 2nd.

The event will feature Macbeth and the Comedy of Errors.

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