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Theater Planning
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Part I Context and process

1 Theater buildings

2 Project roles

3 Project phases

4 Project delivery methods

5 Pre-design process

6 Design process

7 Building regulations

8 Project budgets

Part II Planning

9 Proscenium stages

10 Forestage zone

11 Other stage forms

12 Audience sightlines

13 Audience seating

14 Auditorium design

15 Technical elements

16 Public spaces

17 Back-of-house spaces

List of Figures

Chapter 1 Figure 1.1 Drama theater forms Figure 1.2 Fichandler Theatre, Arena Stage, Washington, DC Figure 1.3 Ruth Caplin Theatre, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia Figure 1.4 Studio, Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe, Arizona Figure 1.5 Kay Theatre, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, Maryland Figure 1.6 Studzinski Recital Hall, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine Figure 1.7 Laura Turner Concert Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee Figure 1.8 Helzberg Concert Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri Figure 1.9 Oslo Opera House, Oslo, Norway Figure 1.10 Dance Theatre, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, Maryland Figure 1.11 Overture Hall, Overture Center, Madison, Wisconsin Figure 1.12 Dolby Theatre (formerly Kodak Theatre), Hollywood, California Chapter 2 Figure 2.1 Primary contractual relationships Figure 2.2 Simple owner structure Figure 2.3 Owner with program manager Figure 2.4 Core design team working for the architect Figure 2.5 Core design team working for owner Chapter 3 Figure 3.1 Comparison of project phases Figure 3.2 Opportunity for savings versus design fees spent Chapter 4 Figure 4.1 Design-bid-build Figure 4.2 Design-bid-build versus fast track Figure 4.3 Multiple prime contracts Figure 4.4 Design-build Figure 4.5 Agency construction manager Figure 4.6 Construction manager at risk Figure 4.7 Integrated project delivery Chapter 5 Figure 5.1 Needs assessment example: Overture Center, Madison, Wisconsin Figure 5.2 Area definitions for performing arts buildings Chapter 6 Figure 6.1 Options for 400-seat theater form Figure 6.2 400-seat theater footprint and volume study in Broadway form Figure 6.3 400-seat theater conceptual diagram Figure 6.4 400-seat theater plan and section drawings Figure 6.5 400-seat theater geometry study Figure 6.6 400-seat theater material and finish study Figure 6.7 Completed 400-seat theater Figure 6.8 Site plan showing context Figure 6.9 Conceptual site plan Figure 6.10 Functional site diagram Figure 6.11 Site plan Figure 6.12 Block model Figure 6.13 Site rendering Figure 6.14 Site rendering Figure 6.15 Site model Figure 6.16 Site rendering Figure 6.17 Completed building Figure 6.18 Planning diagrams Figure 6.19 Planning diagrams Figure 6.20 Floor plans Figure 6.21 Plan and section diagrams Figure 6.22 Lobby rendering-schematic design Figure 6.23 Lobby rendering-design development Figure 6.24 Completed lobby Figure 6.25 Crossover material and finish studies Figure 6.26 Completed crossover Chapter 9 Figure 9.1 Golden rectangle Figure 9.2 Stage plan and transverse section Figure 9.3 Acting area (after Burris-Meyer and Cole) Figure 9.4 Scenery area (after Burris-Meyer and Cole) Figure 9.5 Circulation and work area (after Burris-Meyer and Cole) Figure 9.6 Percentage of audience with full view of backdrop Figure 9.7 Proscenium widths of Broadway theaters Figure 9.8 Modern dance footprint Figure 9.9 Classical dance footprint Figure 9.10 Opera house stages Chapter 10 Figure 10.1 Forestage zone Figure 10.2 Orchestra pit geometry and sightlines Figure 10.3 Orchestra pit configurations Chapter 11 Figure 11.1 Thrust stages Figure 11.2 Open stages Figure 11.3 Arena stages Figure 11.4 Recital halls Figure 11.5 Concert halls Figure 11.6 Orchestra accommodation in proscenium theaters Chapter 12 Figure 12.1 Seated spectator Figure 12.2 Horizontal sightlines Figure 12.3 Vertical sightlines Figure 12.4 Constant rise sightlines Figure 12.5 Isacoustic (isodomal) rise sightlines Figure 12.6 First and second row vision Figure 12.7 Three approaches to chair layout Figure 12.8 Effect of v and h values Figure 12.9 Venues without balconies Figure 12.10 Crossaisle sightlines Figure 12.11 Oblique sightlines Figure 12.12 Playhouses with balconies Figure 12.13 Concert halls and opera houses Figure 12.14 Multipurpose theaters Chapter 13 Figure 13.1 Fixed auditorium chairs and wheelchairs spaces Figure 13.2 Fixed auditorium chairs on (a) shallow slope and (b) steep slope Figure 13.3 Catchment area example (after NFPA) Figure 13.4 Catchment area example with crossaisle Chapter 14 Figure 14.1 Typical seating density in (a) early twentieth century auditorium and (b) early twenty-first century auditorium Figure 14.2 Globe Theatre, London Figure 14.3 Corral de Comedias, Almagro, Spain Figure 14.4 Symphony Hall, Boston Figure 14.5 Laura Turner Concert Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee Figure 14.6 Philharmonic Hall, Szczecin, Poland Figure 14.7 Teatro Argentina, Rome Figure 14.8 Paris Opera (Palais Garnier), Paris Figure 14.9 Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, Argentina Figure 14.10 Ford's Theater, Washington, DC Figure 14.11 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago Figure 14.12 Lyceum Theatre, New York Figure 14.13 Detail of a Medieval scaffold stage Figure 14.14 Theater of Epidaurus, Greece Figure 14.15 Roman theater at Aspendos, Pamphylia, (modern Turkey) Figure 14.16 Teatro Farnese, Parma, Italy Figure 14.17 Fichandler Theatre, Arena Stage, Washington, DC Figure 14.18 Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin Figure 14.19 Helzberg Concert Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri Figure 14.20 Bayreuth Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, Germany Figure 14.21 Well's Theatre, Norfolk, Virginia Figure 14.22 Shubert Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut Figure 14.23 Malmoe Opera (formerly Malmoe Stadsteater), Malmoe, Sweden Figure 14.24 Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington Figure 14.25 Five approaches to side wall architecture Figure 14.26 Overture Hall, Overture Center, Madison, Wisconsin Figure 14.27 Radio City Music Hall, New York Chapter 15 Figure 15.1 Controls rooms at rear of main seating level Figure 15.2 Control room sightlines Figure 15.3 Sound cockpit lift and wagon arrangement Figure 15.4 Followspot room sightlines Figure 15.5 Front-of-house catwalk study Figure 15.6 Front-of-house lighting provisions Chapter 16 Figure 16.1 Standard body ellipse Figure 16.2 Standard body ellipse in 10-square-foot area (typical lobby benchmark) Figure 16.3 Lobby density expressed as net square feet per seat List of Tables Chapter 1 Table 1.1 Typical theater forms and seat counts by performance type Chapter 2 Table 2.1 Owner and user example: Overture Center, Madison, Wisconsin Table 2.2 Design team example: Overture Center, Madison, Wisconsin Chapter 3 Table 3.1 CSI MasterFormat Divisions Table 3.2 Contract Document Drawing Volumes: Overture Center, Madison Wisconsin Chapter 5 Table 5.1 Example space list Chapter 7 Table 7.1 Accessibility legislation affecting the design of performance facilities Chapter 8 Table 8.1 Typical project cost components Table 8.2 Simplified project budget Chapter 9 Table 9.1 Stage dimension ratios Table 9.2 Broadway theaters Table 9.3 Regional theaters Table 9.4 Dance theaters Table 9.5 Opera houses Table 9.6 Multipurpose halls Table 9.7 School halls Chapter 13 Table 13.1 Required number of wheelchair spaces Table 13.2 Minimum aisle widths per IBC 2015 in inches

About the Author

Gene Leitermann is co-founder of Nextstage Design, a theater design consulting firm with a national practice. He has been the lead theater designer on more than 100 buildings. A faculty member at Yale School of Drama since 1998, Gene has also lectured internationally. He has provided public testimony, code change proposals, and written commentary to the National Fire Protection Association, International Code Council, and United States Access Board. Gene is a member of the American Society of Theatre Consultants (ASTC).

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