Serenbe, the idyllic New Urbanism community south of Atlanta, exudes the ideals of sustainable eco-friendliness. Naturally treated wastewater irrigates ornamental landscaping. Homes there include solar and geothermal features to conserve energy. If you drive through the Serenbe Farms area, where organic produce grows, take it easy. An impromptu duck crossing is liable to waddle across the dirt and gravel road just about any time.
It’s fitting that the Chattahoochee Hills community’s popular arts scene embraces the concept. Earlier this summer the Serenbe Playhouse presented “A Streetcar Named Desire” in a captivating set at Serenbe’s Art Farm, comprised of repurposed shipping containers tricked out with swank interiors by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.
“To be quite honest, I didn’t get it at first. It was not what I anticipated,” said Matt Davis, who played Stanley Kowalski and quickly cottoned to the set. “It’s nice and refreshing to shift gears out of preconcieved ideas. I love it.”
“The Secret Garden,” playing through Aug. 2, will be performed at the English Garden at Serenbe. “Evita” will be performed from July 23 to Aug. 16 at the Open Air Room at Serenbe. (See serenbeplayhouse.com for exact dates, showtimes, ticket prices and other details).
"It's incredible, because you can do things you couldn't do anywhere else," Serenbe Playhouse founder and executive/artistic director Brian Clowdus said of the diverse and green range of performance areas. "The locations inspire the work."
The community, where unique experiences include the "Art Over Dinner" series of dinner parties with notables such as "House of Cards" composer Jeff Beal, has plans to expand the Art Farm into a retreat with cabins for artists in residence. In a nifty bit of artistic composting, the plans are being funded in part by a Hollywood payday. “The Divergent Series: Insurgent," starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller, filmed several scenes in and around the Serenbe horse stables.
Serenbe spokeswoman Monica Olsen couldn't say exactly how much the movie folks spent for the temporary use of the property, but said the proceeds will help support the growing Art Farm.
"We want the Art Farm to be a place Atlanta can look to to get away," she said. "There's a lasting legacy here."