Transformed community space on the country’s first public park designed to reimagine open space activation and downtown revitalization
BOSTON – Tuesday, May 2, 2023 – Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department today announced the opening on May 4 of a new seasonal performance space and outdoor beer garden offering music, food, and beverages on Boston Common, the country’s first public park. The City of Boston released an Request For Proposals (RFP) in January 2023 calling for vendors with experience running a successful food and beverage service program to operate and manage a hospitality destination that would enhance the southeast corner of the park. Emerson College UnCommon Stage and the Trillium Garden on the Common were selected and will occupy the corner of the park at Tremont and Boylston Streets near the Boylston Street MBTA station. The venue will open on May 4 and run through November 1.
“This new performance venue and beer garden on Boston Common will activate the historic park, and our Downtown, with performances that represent all of our residents of Boston and a new, beautiful outdoor gathering space for all,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “The City is proud to partner with Emerson College and two family-owned local businesses –Trillium Brewing and Taqueria El Barrio – to bring new joy and renewal to Downtown Boston.”
On Thursday, May 4 at 5:15 p.m., Mayor Wu will join the Parks and Recreation Department, Emerson College and Trillium Brewing, and community members for a ribbon cutting celebrating the opening of the venue.
The partnership between the Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD) and Emerson College is aligned with the recently released Boston Common Master Plan, which called for introducing new activities to reimagine underutilized spaces in the park. The performance venue will serve as a vital addition to Boston’s economy, by providing an outdoor, curated entertainment stage to the oldest public park in the country. The venue is located in close proximity to “The Embrace.” This opening builds off Mayor Wu’s commitment to creating a welcoming and thriving Downtown for residents, workers, and visitors alike.
“The Boston Common, or the ‘People’s Park,’ is a crucial historic central gathering space in our city,” said Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space. “The new partnership with Emerson College and Trillium is creating a space that allows people to connect with each other while supporting local artists in our country’s first public park.”
“UnCommon Stage and the Trillium Garden on the Common are perfect spots to grab a bite or spend time with friends and family,” said Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods. “The activation also creates a new revenue stream that will help support our recreational programs for youth and adults citywide.”
The 5,000 square foot performance space, designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, will feature daily entertainment and programming at the Emerson College UnCommon Stage. Performances will range from local musicians and WERS 88.9 broadcasts to DJs, comedy shows, book readings and more.
“The Emerson College UnCommon Stage and Trillium’s Garden on the Common will create an exciting, new destination for those working and living in the Downtown Boston area as well as for visitors to the city,” said Emerson College Interim President William Gilligan. “It will showcase the best the City has to offer culturally, with a stellar local brewer, in a unique outdoor space.”
The Trillium Garden on the Common will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. The outdoor garden, which seats more than 400, is open to all and will offer a variety of beverages and food by Taqueria El Barrio.
“The City of Boston has been committed to building a stronger, more vibrant, and more welcoming downtown,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. “Creating opportunities to experience arts and culture in the Boston Common is an excellent way to draw residents and visitors in, foster creative expression, and spread joy.”
“We’re looking at creative ways to bring Boston residents and visitors downtown to replace some of the vibrancy and foot traffic we lost due to the pandemic. But given the outsized role of arts and culture in Boston’s economy, this addition will positively impact the economic health of the entire city,” said Segun Idowu, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion.
“We know that positive activity in a park pushes out negative activity and behavior,” said Liz Vizza, the Friends of the Public Garden President. “This new attraction will bring more people to this part of the Common while the income generated will support projects such as the Brewer Fountain activation.”
Additional information about entertainment and performances can be found on the Emerson College UnCommon Stage website here. Information about the Trillium Garden on the Common, beverage, food, and opening schedule can be found on the Trillium Brewing website here.