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Shows, Brews, Community: Emerson UnCommon Stage, Trillium Garden Now Open

  • group stands on stage as young woman in black parka cuts a purple ribbon with scissors
  • michelle wu, in parka, speaks into microphone, men in suits and Emerson logo visible on wood paneling behind her
  • people mill about and sit at tables, lights strung overhead, beer truck and taco truck in background
  • David Howse in blue jacket, scarf, speaks at podium in front of wood paneled wall reading Emerson College Uncommon Stage
  • members of Noteworthy sing on wood paneled stage labeled Emerson College Uncommon Stage, city buildings in background
  • steve samuels holds beer on stage as he talked to bill gilligan
  • woman in grey trillium t-shirt leans on counter, beer taps lined up on wall behind her

All photos by Derek Palmer.

It took 400 years for a live performance space and beer garden to open on Boston Common, so a little cold, damp weather on Thursday, May 4, wasn’t about to stop Emerson College, Trillium Brewing, and the City of Boston from cutting the ribbon on the Emerson UnCommon Stage and Trillium Garden on the Common.

Bundled up in hats and scarves, a mix of city and college officials, team members from Trillium and food vendor Taqueira El Barrio, Emerson students, invited guests, and music and beer lovers grabbed a drink to hear music from the Fabiola Mendez Trio, BAMS Fest, and DJ Snuggles and dream of the same under sunny, 75-degree skies. Emerson’s own Noteworthy opened the event with a rendition of Couch’s “Easy to Love”.

“The Emerson College UnCommon Stage is a lively addition that will enhance even further this corner of the Common,” Emerson Interim President Bill Gilligan told the crowd at America’s oldest public park. “It will bring people together to celebrate music and the arts, it will promote diversity, creativity, and expression, and it would not have been possible without the commitment, dedication, and vision of many of the officials from the City of Boston, from Trillium, and of course, from Emerson.”

The UnCommon Stage and Garden on the Common are a result of a Request for Proposals put out by the city to energize the corner of the Common at Tremont and Boylston streets, and create a gathering space where all residents and visitors to Boston feel welcome.

“We are a city that strives to be a home for everyone, and that means we are activating every corner of Boston, every community,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said. “We want you to celebrate and build community downtown, we want you to visit and take that community and get to know each and every one of our neighborhoods, and we also want to make sure that we’re fun and enjoy every bit of what Boston has to offer, as well. Only here in this city do we have that sense of history mixed with the arts and culture and performance at such an important institution like Emerson, with locally brewed beer, with our local businesses providing delicious food, so come again and again.”

Speakers stressed that it “takes a village” to create such a special place in such a historic locale, thanking not just the many people, offices, and departments that make up the three main partners, but Elkus Manfredi Architects, who designed the facility, and community curators, including WERS 88.9 FM, Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Festival, Departure Arts, and Carl Lavin.  

“We are incredibly privileged and thrilled to be working with a group of community curators,” Office of the Arts Vice President David Howse said. “Our collective goal as curators is to weave a tapestry of performance as rich as is the city of Boston, so it’s really reflecting the city that we live in.”

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