If you go
› What: Abandoned Arts
› Where: Former Alstom plant, 1201 Riverfront Parkway
› When: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 11
› Admission: $15 in advance, $20 at door
› For more information: www.thepopupproject.org
An abandoned Alstom site along Riverfront Parkway will once again be filled with life and vibrant color when Abandoned Arts pops up inside one of the site's buildings on Saturday night, May 11.
Abandoned Arts is an immersive theatrical experience unlike anything Chattanoogans have seen before. The artistic fundraiser first popped up last year in an abandoned warehouse on Cowart Street, sponsored by Pop-up Project and SoundCorps.
Pop-up Project is a nonprofit production company that creates custom performances combining movement, music and film. SoundCorps is also a nonprofit that is dedicated to growing the region's music economy.
"Abandoned Arts is a play on words about not only the abandoned space, but arts in general being abandoned," says Jules Downum, an artistic director with Pop-up Project.
Last October, organizers were given a tour of the Alstom site (formerly Combustion) by a friend who wanted to help the nonprofits. Downum says they chose the building in which Saturday night's event will be held because it was "so cool architecturally."
"Guests can choose their own adventure," says Downum. "Unlike a traditional theater, where you have a ticket, sit down and the action happens around you, there will be three differently themed rooms with programming. Each of the three rooms is themed around the history of the site," she says.
The first room will be a speakeasy with a 1920s band, flappers and bar. Guests will pass from that room into a tunnel that leads to the two remaining rooms. In one, they will find a violin player, analog synthesizers, ballet and fan dancers. In the other, there will be a 1980s hip-hop club with dance floor, dance battles and guests pulled onto the dance floor by the featured performers.
"We have five artists building installations, 15 dancers and live music," Downum lists. In total, more than 30 artists are involved in reimagining the history of the manufacturing site.
Guests are encouraged to come costumed.
"That makes it so much fun. They can wear their craziest outfit or something themed. We love it when people dress up because it helps decorate the space," says Downum.
She advises guests eat dinner before arriving, since food will not be served; however, a food truck will be on-site.
Guests must be 21 or older to attend and show valid ID at the door. Plug 1201 Riverfront Parkway into your GPS and you will arrive at the guard shack on the Alstom site, she says, where there will be signs directing guests the rest of the way.
There is limited parking on-site; organizers encourage using public transportation, taxis, Uber or Lyft.
Limited tickets remain, so don't take a chance on buying them at the door. Downum fully expects the event to sell out.
Contact Susan Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6284.