The Trust for Public Land
Conserving Land for People
By Peter Harnik and Aric Merolli (*)
Graveyards are resurging as green spaces for the public
You would think that Shakespeare’s King Lear is morbid enough without having it performed in a cemetery. But in Lincoln, Nebraska, a group called Flatwater Shakespeare has developed an enthusiastic and loyal following over the past decade by staging theatrical performances in the carriage house of Wyuka Cemetery. It began when the board of the state-owned cemetery recognized that the graveyard would never get the restoration it needed unless the public had a much broader awareness of it. A consultant had noticed that the carriage house had excellent acoustics, so the trustees approached Bob Hall, Flatwater’s director, about using it for performances. Hall, whose mother and father are buried at Wyuka, loved the idea, calling it “life-endorsing.” And to skeptics, he developed a standard response: “I asked my parents, and they didn’t say anything.”
Read the full article at The Trust for Public Land
Thanks to the DeathCare Discussion List for alerting us to this article.
(*) This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of Landscape Architecture magazine. A reprint appeared in the January 2011 issue of American Cemetery Magazine. Peter Harnik is the director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence and author of Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities (Island Press). Aric Merolli, a volunteer with the center, is a landscape architect and planner.