By Nick Wood
GREEN BAY – When it’s in motion, the Weidner Center’s new mobile stage looks like a Phoenix in flight, complete with glowing eyes made of blown glass.
When it parks, a 10 x 10-foot stage folds open and the five-foot aluminum wings retract into a backdrop for a pop-up performance that could appear anywhere in town and feature actors, artists or musicians.
Kelli Strickland, executive director of the Weidner Center, said the mobile stage will be a loose, nimble mechanism that will allow the center for the arts based on the UWGB campus to connect with the people anytime they want to.
“We were thinking about what it means to be the arts center of our community today. How people interact with the arts has changed over the years, and the mobile stage is just one more strategy of getting out of the building and connecting with folks where they are,” Strickland said.
Built on a golf cart chassis that will seat four people, this next-generation Showmobile will make its debut at 6 p.m. Saturday at the igNight traveling night market at Leicht Park in downtown Green Bay.
While the main stage of the market rocks with the headline bands, the mobile stage will be set up among the dozens of vendors and food trucks and feature family favorite Randy Peterson followed by the “big, loud, celebratory sounds” of Brass Differential.
Strickland said that’s just the beginning.
Sponsored by American Family Insurance, they expect the mobile stage to feature all kinds of acts over the next year with different artists to serve different communities.
“It could show up anywhere,” Strickland said. “A school, a business parking lot, a block party. Or we might just pop-up unexpected somewhere downtown with a string quartet.”
For now, the unique vehicle is simply called the mobile stage but, Strickland said, they may eventually have a naming contest.