In William Land Park between Fairytale Town and the Duck Pond there is a small, mostly overlooked amphitheater. Recognizing the potential of the site and the region's need for performance facilities, a group of Sacramentans formed the Amphitheater Working Group to make and carry out a plan for remodeling and renovating the William Carroll Land Park Amphitheater.
Built as a depression era project by the WPA between 1935 and 1942, the horseshoe-shaped amphitheater is terraced with low retaining walls, stone steps, and a series of wood benches providing seating for some 300 with space for 200 more on the grass in front of the stage. In 1960 a semicircular concrete stage and stone-clad backdrop were added.
Today it sits little used except for Cal Middle School graduations and Sacramento City College’s “Shakespeare in the Park” series each summer. To produce the Shakespeare series, however, each year the College must do a wholesale up-grade. They bring in chain-link fences, lighting and sound equipment, and multiple portables (toilets, sound and lighting storage, ticketing, and a control booth). Even then, the facilities are barely adequate—the acoustics are bad, the stage is badly laid out, the seats are uncomfortable, the sight lines are poor, handicap-access is minimal, and the place looks like a war zone.
The City College drama department persists because the site is so charming and has so much potential. Primitive though it may be and with all its shortcomings, this is the only amphitheater in our area, and its park setting and rough-hewn WPA architecture give it a special magic. Imagine what it could be if its shortcomings were fixed permanently—a regional attraction for plays, concerts, recitals, children’s theater, as well as a site for numerous graduations and an enhanced setting for Shakespeare’s plays.
Our efforts were given a boost as Sacramento’s Parks and Recreation Department completed an historical survey of Land Park and identifying the Amphitheater as a contributing structure to the historic fabric of the park.
We are an ad hoc group of Sacramento residents who want to restore and renovate the amphitheater. Among our members are an architect, a city planning commissioner, several school board members, president of a neighborhood association, and theater faculty members, an arts commission staff person, city parks personnel, and just plain residents. We welcome others of a like mind.
Here are a few things you can do to help us:
For more information and to RSVP please contact Amber Moran Wannell Tel: 916.448.2258, fax: 916.706.1412, or email:... read more
Check out the video rendering of what the amphitheater could look like.