[Tagging] Amphitheatre or outdoor non-sports venue

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny+osm at gmail.com
Thu Sep 15 19:28:15 UTC 2016

Thus saith Wikipedia:

> In modern usage, an amphitheatre is a circular, semicircular or curved,
> acoustically vibrant performance space, particularly one located outdoors.
> Contemporary amphitheatres often include standing structures, called
> bandshells, sometimes curved or bowl-shaped, both behind the stage and
> behind the audience, creating an area which echoes or amplifies sound,
> making the amphitheatre ideal for musical or theatrical performances.
> Small-scale amphitheatres can serve to host outdoor local community
> performances.

In short, Wikipedia's editors appear not to think that a circular or oval
plan is essential to the definition. The California and Ohio examples in
the illustrations clearly do not have a round plan.

I observe that there's controversy on the talk page for the Wikipedia
article, also.

Some searching turns up modern facilities in the UK with 'amphitheatre' in
their names that are clearly not amphitheatres* sensu stricto*.
The Amphitheatre, South Shields, Tyneside.
Trebah Garden Amphitheatre, Near Falmouth, Cornwall
Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, Glasgow
Canon's Marsh Amphitheatre, Bristol
et cetera

'Amphitheatre' in the sense of an outdoor performance venue, usually but
not always with seating arranged in tiers, is common enough in the US and
Canada that I'd argue that it is the predominant modern use of the term.

It's also current in all the English-speaking countries in the sense of a
lecture hall with tiered seating, or in the sense of a geologic feature
shaped like a bowl or inverted cone - often a glacial cirque or a riverbend
in a canyon, but these are unlikely to have confusing tagging; the one is a
room in a building, and the other would have some sort of natural=* tag.

If we want to disallow 'amphitheatre' *sensu lato*, we would surely
surprise most North Americans, and we'd have both to document carefully
OSM's understanding of the term, and to provide alternative tagging to
identiffy such a performance space.

On Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 3:56 AM, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com
> wrote:

> sent from a phone
> Il giorno 15 set 2016, alle ore 01:43, John Willis <johnw at mac.com> ha
> scritto:
> Historic ones are - the "modern ones" listed are more like a generic
> outdoor performance venue, so I think its shape is not as important to the
> definition.
> I think this is subject to discussion, "modern" outdoor theatres that
> aren't closed but have the term "amphitheatre" in their name still might
> not actually be amphitheatres, hence not get this tag. Question to the
> English native speakers: is it common in British English as well to call
> these "amphitheatre", or is it maybe American usage only? By looking at the
> word itself (greek), it would clearly exclude semicircles. As I wrote
> before, other languages like German and Italian don't consider the
> semicircular ones amphitheatre.
> cheers,
> Martin
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