Visit San Francisco’s AUDIUM for a unique audial experience
San Francisco boasts a wide array of museums, theaters, and experiences. When you’ve finished visiting Pier 39 and the Golden Gate Bridge, riding the Cable Cars into Chinatown, and exploring the city’s numerous scientific and art museums, consider a more eclectic experience. Families with kids over the age of 12 (under 12 not admitted) can enjoy a one-of-a-kind theater experience at AUDIUM, a theater dedicated to pioneering the exploration of space in music.
Composer Stan Shaff and designer Doug McEachern created AUDIUM in the late 1950’s based on their desire for a space specifically designed for sound movement. Their creation, the 49-seat theater, consists simply of a lobby, sound labyrinth and performance space. The space is still used to explore and develop spatial music dimension today, but visitors also have the chance to enjoy performances in this unique venue as well.
The half-hour or hour-long performances place visitors in nearly total darkness, hiding the 176 speakers that fill the space’s floors, walls, and ceilings. Prerecorded sounds are choreographed to move throughout the room via the speaker system and range from completely natural (water dripping, streams flowing, etc.) to completely random. Sounds move about the room, under you, over you, and around you, and many visitors leave the performance saying that they could envision “sound sculptures” that made the auditory experience actually come alive in ways previously unimagined. No story or plot line exists and the experience is quiet, meditative, and unique to each performance.
This might not seem like the most exciting tourist option to undertake while visiting the City by the Bay, but mature kids looking to experience something unique and innovative might enjoy their time. Getting your kids to do anything in silence and darkness for more than 30 minutes also might seem like an incredible challenge, but your hipster teen might be surprised by this retro theater’s enlightening experience. Start planning your trip through CheapOair.com and get ready to enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer!
AUDIUM 9 is performed Friday and Saturday nights. $20/person. No children admitted under the age of 12.
AUDIUM Press Photo, audium.org