© Chris Stowers

Taipei Performing Arts Center

An ancient art form for civic participation, theater has evolved into the modern world as a vocation of the culturally refined, with its significance in daily life diminished. Theater space is valued for its potency for formal cultural productions, rather than its power to include and divert, and to be instantaneous. Contemporary performance theaters increasingly become standardized: a combination of two different-sized auditoria and a black box, with conservative internal operation principles for authentic work. Can a public theater still be inclusive, accommodating the classic and the serendipitous, the highbrow and the masses, the artistic and the social—a place for the creative life of all?