Flooring, Seating and Staging

Wenger’s Madrid seats inside the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C.Making sure your patrons have great seats – so all they think about is the show

Even the lushest Broadway house could probably use a spiffing-up when it comes to audience seating. After all, audiences are more vocal than ever when it comes to pointing out what doesn’t work for them—lack of legroom and shabby upholstery are just two seating issues you shouldn’t expect patrons to tolerate. Let’s take a look, then, at the right way to select the right fixed and temporary seating for your space, with a view toward maximizing your audience’s comfort, providing excellent viewing accessibility and saving your budget to boot. 

Read more: Best Seat in the House

Flooring, Seating and Staging

A stagehand wheels a tower for the Wenger Diva acoustical shell into place. How to find the perfect form for your multi-purpose space

Theatres (even proscenium stages) are becoming more and more flexible—with stage lifts, stage decks, automation, seating risers, acoustical shells and more. Whether this is due to advances in engineering or the demands of economy (single-purpose spaces are an endangered species, and fading fast), it doesn’t change the fact that theatres today have to do more than ever—and do it more quickly than ever before, too. Here’s some ways you can create a more flexible space, and make sure everyone can enjoy it. 

Read more: Theatre Yoga


Derek McLaneGetting into the studio with scenic designer Derek McLane

Derek McLane exudes enthusiasm as he takes Stage Directions on a tour of the Manhattan studio that he shares with director Doug Hughes and costume designer Catherine Zuber. Within their common conference room stands his wall-length library of art and design books that the Tony Award-winning scenic designer has amassed over his many years of working on plays and musicals. The adjacent work space for drafting and creating models offers a gallery of quarter scale models from various shows—including Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, NBC’s Peter Pan Live!, and the forthcoming tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical—dotting the shelves and along the edges of the room. His cozy personal office offers some room for contemplation and privacy, which he undoubtedly needs whether he is working on a Broadway show or the Oscars, for which this was his third year as production designer.

Read more: Juggling Worlds


The Distinguised Artists in Conversation panel. L-R: Wendall Harrington (education), Teresa Eyring (management), Kevin Rigdon (moderator), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Douglas W. Schmidt (scene design), Michael Mehler (co-moderator), Loren Schreiber (technical production), and lighting designer Ken Billington (2015 Wally Russell Mentor Award).The 2015 USITT show celebrated theatre’s artists, while offering a clear look into the future of the industry

USITT returned to Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati this year, and the annual convention of theatre designers, builders, makers and scholars broke all sorts of records—including most attendees (nearly 5,500), and most exhibitors (more than 280). 

Read more: Seeing Clearly

Light On The Subject

A close-up of the Chauvet Professional COLORado Batten 144 Tour wash light.Lighting grids now are a mix of LED fixtures, movers and traditional incandescents—which muddies up your power requirements. 

What type of power do we need for our new LED lighting units and systems? And how much of it? And how do we get it? 

The answers to these questions are changing every day with all the new technology being developed by stage lighting manufacturers. Movers have better optics and are using brighter lamps. LED technology is constantly improving along the lines of Haitz’s Law. And mixing all this new gear with traditional fixtures makes things even messier—because we need more and more constant power. 

Read more: Keeping It Clean

Answer Box

The finished foam candle holders on the set of HamiltonGetting creative with tools to give Hamilton a glow

Working on a historical piece like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton—set in the Revolutionary Period era—always brings challenges for the props team. On this show though, there was also one I just fell in love with. 

Read more: 16(0) Candles

Company 411

An Eartec headset from 1960 and the UltraLite headset of today. “It’s hard to believe where we started and where we are now, but we’re not resting. There’s a lot to be excited about here.”

John Hooper, CEO of Eartec, was brought up in the intercom business. If he wasn’t out playing pond hockey in the winter, or fishing in the summer, he was holed up in a shed with his father and brother, soldering intercom units together. The original ‘com unit was designed for high school football coaches, so it had to be simple, rugged and reliable. The systems were so reliable that it wasn’t long before the schools’ drama teachers began borrowing these wireless systems to coordinate their performances. With this growing demand for affordable and reliable stage communications, Eartec’s ComStar theatre headset line was born. Their dedication to continuously developing a simple, affordable, world-class ‘com system that anyone can use continues today. 

Read more: Eartec

Editor's Note

SD Editor Jacob CoakleyThinking about swag, souvenirs and Susan Stroman

The first show t-shirt I ever got was for The Sound of Music. I played Kurt (“Fa,” for those of you keeping track at home). I was amazed when I started working in theatre professionally and found out that even shows at that level made cast and crew shirts, jackets and more. I loved starting conversations with people when they came in to the theatre’s offices wearing previous show gear. The conversations about the shows and about their role in the production (onstage or not) was always eye-opening. 

Read more: Keeping a Show Alive

Editor's Note

SD Editor Jacob Coakley Our Theatre Resources Directory is right around the corner. Is your info in the theatre’s biggest service directory? 

Summer. It can be a bucolic frolic through new play development picnics and readings, a frantic rush through speed-building as you attempt to get everything ready for summer stock, or a rare break to recover and inventory everything before the fall season starts up again. But most importantly, summer means the return of the Theatre Resources Directory! 

Read more: Summer Is Coming!

Tools of the Trade

Alcons LR28 PreRigAlcons Audio will showcase its LR28 larger-gormat line-array, LR16.2 smaller format line-array system, as well as ALControl proprietary ALC control software protocal at InfoComm 2015.

Read more: Alcons Audio to Showcase New Technology at InfoComm 2015

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