What Is Fixed Theater Style Seating? How to Calculate Fixed Theatre Seating
December 24, 2018
From theatrical productions to business presentations, seating always impacts communication. Some seating concepts, like theatre-style layouts, better focus audience attention on performers and presenters. To optimize communication emanating from the stage, fixed theater seating focuses attention forward and away from nearby attendees.
Varied Seating Options
On the other hand, some seating layouts encourage communication among audience members. For example, cafe-style seating clusters groups of attendees at individual tables. Such seating that encourages sharing among audience members may be preferred at comedy clubs, improvs, cabarets and coffee houses.
To ensure you make the right choice in movable or fixed seating, step back at the very beginning of the design process and consider the many different seating layouts that are possible, including classroom-style, t-shape, debate and horseshoe (U-shaped).
In general, fixed theater seating more strictly focuses audience attention on whoever or whatever is “on stage.” In lower-capacity rooms, seats are typically bolted to the floor in straight rows. In larger venues, semi-circular layouts keep patrons facing the performers or presenters regardless of where they sit.
Fixed Theater Seating Efficient
Both linear and semi-circular layouts use space very efficiently. Designers must account for fire codes when determining row and aisle widths. However, other than these code considerations, those determining seating layouts can use space very efficiently.
Since designers must also consider sight lines, it is vital to establish where an acting troupe, speaker, or presentation screen will be positioned. Designers can use that central spot to determine just how far to the left and right rows of seats may extend. If rows go too far, those seated at the perimeter may find that they cannot comfortably see the stage.
Once the positioning of the outermost front-row seats is established, the seating designer can fill in the layout to the center and to the back. In many theatres, auditoriums and other venues, it is possible to have longer rows farther from the stage without sacrificing sight lines at the ends of those rows.
Designers and venue owners often collaborate to determine an ideal balance between seating capacity and audience comfort. Although more seats generate more revenue, too many seats may leave certain audience members dissatisfied with sightlines. If client dissatisfaction leads to negative online reviews, the revenue gained from maximizing the number of seats may be more than offset by a long-term loss of reputation. Therefore, venue owners and managers should strike a balance between revenue and the customer experience.
Remember, rapport is a two-way street. Just as it is important to an audience member that he/she comfortable witness the presentation or performance, so too is it important that the presenter or performer can establish eye contact with as much of the audience as possible.
Counting Fixed Theater Seats
When all rows of fixed seating are of equal length, it is simple to determine the total number of seats without counting them one-by-one. Simply count the number of seats in a typical row, and multiply this figure by the total number of rows. For example, if there are 15 rows with 20 seats per row, there are 300 total seats (15 x 20 = 300). If there are different numbers of seats in different rows, add or subtract as necessary. For example, if 13 of 15 rows have 20 seats each, but two rows only have 18 each, subtract four seats from the total count (300 – 4 = 296).
Company: Preferred Seating
Product: Elegant Auditorium Seating
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