The Auditorium

An auditorium should ba dBKignad ao thai tha activities can hti maintained and uperatat* with .< minimum r>I nmr: and ifftjor COn&unied in Ihe

Theatre Seating Dimensions

Fig 4 The intent impiovements n lecoiding equipment and television education have leiulted in lacilities to mike use of those new techniques. College Cumeivaioiy of Music, llmiarsity of Cincinnati, fdwaid J Schutta and As» dates, Architects.

Plans Auditorium

preparation of an event, In schools, this area is being designed for education, not commercial purposes


The stage is considered first because it is the part of the auditorium most frequently abused by the designers

The proscenium arch size is dependent upon severe! factors —the size of the auditorium, the playing ares of the stage, the height of the stage loft or grid (Fig. 5), the size of the community using the auditorium, and the seating capacity of the auditorium. For general purposes, the proscenium arch should not exceed 65 or 70 ft in width and the height of the auditorium should be in practical or artistic proportion to the width. This height is an important factor that will determine the location of the grid. The grid will bs the subject of e separate discussion, All of these itams are interrelated, and the architect must consider all of them and their interrelationships.

Ths playing size of the stage will be determined by (he size« of the musical organizations, the stage requirements of musical or dramatic productions, and the acope of other activities proposed for this stage. Clarence J. Best recommended in his survey that an orchestra player be allotted 16 aq ft of floor space tor himself, his instrument, and his music stand. This is a generally accepted tiguro for the minimum seating aree and Is much lass than recommended for the rehearsal hall, because the space needed at the front of such a room need not be figured here, A 100-pieca orchestra would rsquira about 1,800 sq ft of floor apace, or an area about 50 ft wide and 36 ft deep For practical purposes the requirements for band are about the same. The stage will have to be proportionately largar if the instructor is planning to rehearse and use combined choral and orchestral groups. This is the type of information the music educator must supply to the architect,

The stsge area of 1,800 sq ft mentioned above merely refers to that part of the stage visible to the audience and usable inside the shell or legs. The offstage area is often overlooked, yet it is a very important functional part of the stage. In presenting concerts, operettas, and plays, some offstage area is necessary to handle personnel, scenery, and equipment, These areas are often too smell, Ths left and right offstage areas should each be approximately one-half the size of the stage plus 10 percent. In addition, there must also be sufficisnt offstage area for the pin rail, switchboard, and similar permanent features A large proscenium opening can always be made smaller through the use of curtains. Hats, teasers, etc. If the major architectural construction is too small, increaaing the size of the proscenium is very difficult.

A good proportion to follow in determining the depth of the stage is that the depth should be 75 percent of the width of the proscenium arch, end this dapth area should continue on both sides of the stage. To use simple figures, if th« proscenium arch is 48 ft, the depth of the stage should be 36 ft. The offstage areas would be approximately 27 ft wide and plus that additional space necessary for permanent equipment on the right-hand side. Both offstage areas would be 36 ft deep. This offstage area could handle stage wagons that would cover the entire playing stage. It would be of sufficient size to store a number of stage sets for musical and dramatic performances. A trap in the stage floor is handy for moving equipment from work areas below and makes possible special effects in dramatic productions.

The offstage areas should be readily accessible to adequate dressing room space. There should be adequate space close to the stage to take care of lighting machines, lighting cables, repair end supply parts, and storage for curtains and other stage equipment. In all educational situations it is practical to have the rehearsal rooms for chorus, orchestra, and band In close proximity to the stage in order to facilitate the preparation for rehearsals, concerts, and recitals.

The instrumental storage rooms, library rooms, scenic shop* (including painting racks), and construction areas should be closa enough so that properties can be shifted onto the stage with a minimum of effort and damage.


The floor area in front of the proscenium arch is called the stage apron. This apron should be at least 8 ft wide, so that pianos and other equipment may be usod in front of the main curtain. The apron may extend out over the orchestra pit. The front of the apron should be finished with a hard oak or maple flooring, and that part in back of the proacenium should have close-grained pine in order that the floor will not splinter and yat will be soft enough to take • tags icrttwi Much money has been «vested on hardwood floors for school stages, to the extreme exasperation of atega directors and thair crews- The oak or maple floor should be finished with a high gloas but not waxed, and the pine floor should be finished with many coats of oil and the oil silowad to penetrate the wood thoroughly so that it will be fairly seasoned On both sides of the stage leading from the auditorium to the stage apron there should be appropriate steps. These steps should be wide enough to enable personnel to carry musical inatruments and other small properties to and from the auditorium to the stage, or so that the students may approach the stage st least two abreast


One of the paramount faults of school audi* loriums is that the grid over the stage is often not high enough to allow the scenery to be pulled out of sight The grid should be at least tha height of the proscenium arch times two plus a minimum of 8 ft. Then there should be from 4 to 7 ft above the grid to the top of the building structure, so that the people who find it necessary to work on the grid, changing pulleys, etc.. will have sufficient room. The overall height must be sufficient to make it feasible to hang scenery and pull it out of sight in changing sets-

Often when there is no space overhead and scenery must be pulled into the wings of the stsge thera is also not enough space to stack this scenery offstage Thus the only solution is to make the stage smaller, masking out with drspes or flats and reducing the proscenium arch to that the stage is much narrower. Than the stage crews will have to work behind tha drapes as a backstage area, tf dramatic produc-tions arm anticipated, spece should be provided for a grid,

One not too familiar with stage operations or requirements often finds the grid an ideal place to run ventilating pipes, conduits, steam lines, and water pipes Just because this large grid area presents a wide open spaca, it is a tempting area for various trades: however, this area must be kept entirely free for the necessary stage equipment. Nothing is more distressing than to have guide ropes fouled among ventilating ducts, or to have steam pipes leak in the center ol a stage set during a performance or concert,


A proper stage will have a number of battens suspended from the grid. These battens are long pieces of pipe extending the full width of the stage and continuing backstage, so the curtains and lags may be hung backstage in order to mask off this araa from the view of the audience. Battens era part of the permanent fixtures of a siage. The common way to counterbalance the battens is through installation of a pin rail. The standard counterbalancing equipment aa aupplied by tha major manufacturers of stage equipment is usually satisfactory Makeshift Installations should be avoided Battens should be pieced 6 in. apart. There never seem to be enough pipe battens lo take care of ths stage needs. All the lights, border lights, teasers, a border in front of each strip light, three or four legs on aach aide, the front curtain, oleo curtain, back drops, and sky drops are all standard pieces of equipment that are hung from battens. By tha time a light batten or light bridgs is added at ths fore part of the stage and sufficient battena era provided for scenery changes, it is not et all unusual to use about 25 or 30 battens


Most stages require a cyclorama and a set of cyclorama lights This cyclorama should not be taken aa a substitute for a siage shall. A cyclorama ie usually a continuous curtain starling cloae to the proscenium arch on one side of the stage It extends to the rear of the stage, across ths back of the stage, and cornea forward, ending cloae to the other side of the proscenium arch.


Every stage mull be equipped with en adequate shell For lectures, concerts, and recitals on theater stages, ihe purpose of a shell is to project the sound into ths auditorium This shell should not attempt to use border lights for lighting but should have lights installed in each section of the ceiling so that the stage will ba flooded with about 60 to 70 footcandles of lighting The lights should be arranged so that the back row will have sufficient light, and so that tha lights will not throw a glare back Into tha audience The ahell should be made the full width of the proscenium. The ceiling can hang from the battens. The size of the shall can be varied by adding or subtracting flats and adding or subtracting ceiling sections


All doors entering on a stage must be of sufficient height and width to provide ready access to the stage. This is aspeoislly true of the scenery doora, They must be high enough to accommodate wide stage wagona, large instruments, and permit (if necessary) entrance of motor vahiclea. Tha door for scenery should be at least 8 ft wide and 14 ft tall, and all other doors leading to and from the stage should be unusually wide double doors Doors leading into the auditorium should be solid, with no

Line Sight Method For Auditorium

Fig, 6 Divisible auditoriums provide a means of increasing the use ol large bibbs. Hutoti High School, Ann Atbot, Mich Lane, Rittbo, Wei land. Architects.

window«, in order to avoid light tonka All door» should operate silently. Panic bars on aiit doors are generally required by law but are aomatimaa rendered useless by padlocks and chains, an extremely dangerous practice.


There are many new concepts in stage lighting, whether the facility to be lighted is the proscenium theater, the open stage, or the modified proscenium stage. The border and footlight Installations once popular in echool auditoriums are no longer considered adequate. In addition to aufficient downlights for concerts and other nontheatrical presentations, aohool auditoriums need stage lighting for a number of specific dramatic purposea. The amount of lighting and the types required will of course depend on the deaign of the auditorium and the nature of the productions which are projected for it.

Front lighting from slots in the auditorium ceiling serviced by catwalks is highly desirable. Ellipsoidal spotlights are used to light the acting area. Additional spots may be desired in wall slots, and a follow spot operated from a booth in the rear of the auditorium is common. Spotlights (generally softer Fresnel types) are needed on battens or on atands or tormentor pipea to provide further illumination of the acting area. Borderlighta and some« times footlights are employed for toning and blending. Beamlights are used for backlighting. Floodlights are used for background effects and special footlights are needed for a cycloreme. Sidelighting is sometimes provided by spotlights from a mobile tower in the winga. An elaborate collage or community theater installation may wish to provide a light bridge.

Open stages and modified proscenium stages frequently provide for projected backgrounds. The lamp house for scenic projection may be located above the stage area or in a celling slot above the front curtain.

The stage switchboard may bo located at the rear of the auditorium in a lighting booth; It may be located offstage on the stage floor, but out of the way of other operating equipment; or It may be located in an elevated position off the stage floor. They should be able to take care of an adequate number of floor pockets, three or four locations on both aides of the stage. These will vary in accordance with the size of the auditorium, stage, and its lighting equipment A

dimmer system should be part of most school lighting installations.


Portable risers should be provided as part of the regular stage equipment- Theae risers, if adjustable to suit choral groups, orchestra, or band, make it possible to stage all kinds of musical activities even if the instrumental groups alone prefer to perform on the flat. Dramatic productions require a different type of riser snd in addition to the standard construction, occasionally adjustable hydraulically controlled risers are used. Storage space for risers should be planned.

Orchestra Pits

Most school auditoriums need an adequate orchestra pit. The pit ahould be in direct proportion to the site of the stage and the size of the auditorium and above all, should be sufficient to house the potential orchestra of the school. That ia, the potential school orchestra that would be required for performances of a musical play, operetta, or opera. The stage with a 45-ft proacenium would probably have an orchestra pit of sufficient size to seat 60 playara, allowing 18 to 20 sq ft per player. Likewise, a stage with a 60-ft proscenium should have a pit large enough to accommodate a 100-piece orchestra With a larger or small stage, the pit should be in direct proportion.

The pit ahould be deep enough so that the orchestra is completely out of sight of the audience. The director s podium should bo high enough for him to be able to see the back area of the atage yet remain in full view of the orchestra.

The railing around the entire orcheatra pit must be high enough to hide the orchestra yet low enough not to interfere with (ha sight lines of the audience. The head ond the shoulders of the director may be visible over this orchestra pit railing. It is preferable, however, that the director be hidden from view of the audience so that there will be no diatraction of any kind while the director is giving cuea to the orches* tra, cast, or performers.

A movable pit floor, usually known as a hydraulic pit. ia s highly desirable though not inexpensive feature. The hydraulic pit floor should coma up to stage level and then be lowered to the floor below. In this event the ac cess will be a simple matter through double doors and the problem of determining adequate pit levels for performance is immediately solved. The hydraulic pit floor will act aa a good sound reflector when not being used as an orchestra pit. At that time the pit will probably be located slightly below the stage level.

Seating Area

A factor that ia often overlooked in the deaign of an auditorium iB the seating capacity, In a commercial theater and in certain other epeciflc situations a hall is designed with the idea that it ia necaasary to have the entire potential attendance at one performance- The larger the attendance, the lass expense Involved, the more money made

In an educational situation, however, the auditorium or theater is for an educational purpose, no matter at what level — elementory, secondary, or college —It is used. A fine program ia prepared and, so far as the performance ia concerned, there is value In having repeat performances, From this viewpoint it mighi be logical to reduce the seating capacity of the auditorium or theater and spend some of the limited funda in seeing that the auditorium has better equipment so thet the performances can be presented adequately. This should be considered by school administrators and teachers when building the theater or auditorium.

There are other reasons for considering smaller seating capacity, Although audiovisual aids can be presented to large mass groups, it is difficult to hold the personal student-to-teacher relationship that can be attained in smaller groupa. In addition to a projection booth at the rear, consideration should be given to a projector platform closer to the stage for use with short-range equipment. All booths end platforms should be located to clear the heads of people seated or standing.

The divisible auditorium is a concept finding increasing favor with those who need to justify lha number of hours per day school facilities are used. Such auditoriums are designed lo be divided by sound-retarding partitions into three or mora areas for large-group instruction. Partitions may run from front to rear as well as acroaa the auditorium. Provision for projecting films and other audiovisual msteri-ala should be planned for all areas (See Fig a.>

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  • Poppy
    How to determine stage area for an auditorium?
    3 years ago
  • kathrin
    How deep are auditorium stages?
    1 year ago
    What should my auditorium stage floor be made of?
    1 year ago
  • fredegar
    What is the height of auditorium seats on risers?
    1 year ago
  • furuta haylom
    How deep are auditoriums?
    11 months ago
  • april
    What is space requirements for a seating capacity in a hall?
    9 months ago
  • dixie
    Are control booths in auditorium required to be accessible?
    8 months ago
  • belinda
    What is the required aisleway spacing in auditoriums?
    6 months ago
    Why is the space beneath the stage for auditoriums hollow?
    4 months ago
  • dana reid
    What is the stage to auditorium seating proportion?
    2 months ago
    What is a minimum hight of an Auditorium?
    2 months ago
  • William
    How tall should auditoriums be?
    2 months ago
  • Cotman
    How to calculate an auditorium requirement?
    2 months ago
  • murray
    2 months ago
  • mariam demsas
    How tall is auditorium?
    2 months ago
  • renee
    What are the space require in an auditorium?
    2 months ago
  • Eeva
    What ia a back stage in auditorium?
    1 month ago
  • prospero
    How much space needed to build an auditorium?
    24 days ago

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