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F. B. Sear and Zilah Quezado Deckker

Building or precinct with tiers of seats surrounding a central space used for public spectacles.

F. B. Sear

The Roman amphitheatre differs from a theatre in that it is elliptical in shape, has seats all round the arena and was used either for gladiatorial games or for contests between men and beasts. Under the arena floor were cages for the animals, and rooms and movable platforms for the props and scenery. Spectators were protected from the sun by a canvas awning suspended on ropes that were attached to masts around the top of the outer wall and secured to bollards at ground-level.

During the earlier Republican period gladiatorial games at Rome were held either in the Circus Maximus or in the Forum Romanum, with the spectators seated on temporary wooden benches. The senatorial ban on permanent theatres also applied to amphitheatres, with the result that even during the late Republic only temporary amphitheatres were erected at Rome, such as the one built by the senator ...


Michael Forsyth

Building or part of a building in which public performances of music or events with musical accompaniment are held. The earliest public concerts in Europe were held in taverns, coffee-houses and assembly rooms. High-society concerts took place in the music- and ballrooms of such palaces as the Redoutensaal in the Hofburg, Vienna; these differed little from other rooms, except perhaps in their decoration. The earliest purpose-built concert halls appeared in London: the first such room, said by the amateur musician Roger North to have been ‘reared and furnished on purpose for publick music’ (Roger North on Music, ed. J. Wilson, London, 1959), was in the York Buildings, off the Strand, a fashionable development of c. 1675. During the next century many others followed, notably Giovanni Gallini’s celebrated Hanover Square Rooms (1773–5; destr. 1900), London, at which J. C. Bach and others held subscription concerts. The earliest concert hall still in use is the ...


Julia Robinson

American artists’ space located at 239 Thompson Street at the south edge of Washington Square in New York City. Beginning in the late 1950s the Judson Church hosted experimental avant-garde activities—art installations, Happenings, the beginnings of postmodern dance—launching a now celebrated group of artists, dancers, poets and composers, and fueling the radical downtown art scene. The platform of free expression Judson provided for the untested work of the 1960s generation, at a time when these artists were far from established, was a critical contribution to the invention, originality and ultimate international renown of these preeminent American artists.

Built in 1890 and designed by the renowned architect Stanford White (of McKim, Mead & White), the church’s original mission was to serve the immigrant population of Lower Manhattan with health and recreational programs as well as religious services. In the 1950s Reverend Bob Spike (1949–55) asked his seminary intern, Budd Scott, to go into the neighborhood and spend time with the locals—including a significant contingent of struggling artists—to discover their needs. Scott found out that the artists urgently needed a place to present their work. Judson’s national reputation for fostering radical artistic practice came under the tenure of Reverend Howard Moody (...