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Thinking outside the Cube

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I’VE never been a big fan of the Cube, the performance stage at Winnipeg’s Old Market Square. This is probably because it reminds me of the cage my parents kept me locked in as a kid. Ha. Kidding. That never happened.

No, it’s partly because it looks out of place in a park surrounded by heritage buildings. If I were given an enormous amount of time and a budget, I would probably design something with more of a steam-punk look, with cables and gears that turned as the stage opened up to the audience. I can envision it, but haven’t been able to draw it.

That’s part of it, but mostly it’s because it just seems like an inefficient space. A cube may be great for storing M&Ms in, but it’s a questionable shape for this use. It’s a big, imposing structure, relative to the space it’s in, but the amount of usable area seems small. As an audience member, it does not invite an engaging or intimate experience because the stage is deep and the curtains close off much of it.

I understand from a performer’s perspective it’s not the best, either. I really do appreciate esthetics, but I would never buy something where functionality is seriously compromised for style; but that’s what seems to have happened here.

Now, to make matters worse, the chainmail curtain is falling apart due to "wear and tear" after only two years. I hope this thing came with a good warranty plan.

This is shameful. A 5468796 Architecture spokeswoman described the loose rivets as a regular maintenance issue. I find that hard to believe. If rivets are popping out so as to make the stage potentially lethal to performers after two years, and if it’s a regular maintenance issue, then I guess the maintenance schedule must call for the rivets to be replaced sooner than two years so as to ensure safe continued operation.

So, were the city or Exchange District BIZ told in advance they would have to replace thousands of rivets every year?


Remaining shows need to be moved to different venues as a result of this. Most, according to the Free Press article linked to above, will be relocated to the plaza at 201 Portage Ave.

I have another idea: move them to the new Park behind the Millennium Library.

It’s a larger space, and it’s a quieter and less-distracting place to watch a performance than a busy corner just off Portage and Main.

In addition to that, it would be a great way to introduce people to this new public space.

I could see there being a potential issue with the noise of the concert disrupting the peaceful environment within the library, depending on the day and time. After 6 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday would not be a problem.

I think it makes almost perfect sense. I’m sure somewhere in the $7.4 million that was spent there were hookups installed for a band to plug in to, and there’s lots of room for folks to spread out. Why not? It’s a good opportunity.


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