Pop-Up Theater Kit

What if our downtowns and streets and storefronts weren't just about getting where you need to go and doing what you need to do? What if they were also spaces for play and fun and creativity? We think they can be - that's why we created the pop-up theater. And you can too!

CW is proud to be one of fifty winners nationwide in the Play Everywhere competition from KaBOOM.

Kids need play for their brains, their bodies, and their spirits. Grown ups and communities do too, for all the same reasons.

Community Workshop was one of fifty winners nationwide in the Play Everywhere Challenge, designed to bring play into everyday spaces and improve the lives of kids and families. Putting up a bright, fun play space can transform a vacant downtown lot (or a Laundromat, office, or bus stop) into a dynamic space for kids, while transforming ordinary errands into an opportunity for families to connect and create. Kids can get dramatic while their parents get the laundry done or pick up a pizza. That makes play truly accessible and makes families' lives easier and more fun.

We designed and built a whimsical, compact, portable play stage that kids can use to create and put on impromptu puppet shows and plays. Our build partner — Living Edge Woodworking — created a flexible and inexpensive design that can easily fold up and fit into a wide variety of small and unexpected places. The prototype has spent time in a downtown parklet, homeless shelter, rec center, and on a Main Street sidewalk. As part of our launch, we partnered with the Arts Bus to offer two kids’ art events to activate the space and help kids make puppets to use.

Check out the other amazing Play Everywhere competition winners, from municipal slides to sidewalk games to a kit of parks. We're honored to be in their company! 

You can download the plans for free and build your own. If you’re in the neighborhood and would like us to bring the theater to you, get in touch! We are happy to loan it out for community events or sites, or facilitate a kids’ art or theater event.


  1. Download the full pop-up theater kit.

    The kit includes detailed plans and directions for building your own pop-up theater, painting it, and tips for installing and using it. You’ll need a number of building supplies, paint, some tools, and basic carpentry skills.

  2. Find a place that needs play (or several).

    The best locations are safe, legal, accessible, and in need of things for kids to do. They can be public or private, indoors or out, one-off events or longer term installations. We’ve brought our pop-up theater to a vacant lot on Main Street, community festivals, schools, businesses, shelters and more.

  3. Install the theater.

    Set it up, be sure it’s stable and secure, and add a sign telling people what it is and letting them know they are welcome to play! Stop by regularly to check for damage and maintain it if needed.

  4. Program it.

    The theater may be just fine by itself, but it will be even more successful if you can add on some fun elements or include events and programming. Try leaving puppets, costumes or props to make it exciting. We built an improv spinner wheel to give kids ideas when it’s set up in an outdoor location. Puppet-making events, open mic sessions, or theater classes would also help draw people in!

  5. Get social! #popuptheater

    Take photos and spread the word on social media. We’d love to see your theaters popping up everywhere, and we’ll share them here!

Thanks to our partners for help making this happen: