Open Forum

  • 1.  New Performing Space-need input!

    Posted 28 days ago

    My k-8 school is building a new theatre stage space. What re the must haves? They re asking me for input so I'm asking you!

    SO far I have LED lights, mid traveller curtain, good sound system, changing rooms with plenty of outlets,

    what else?


    Elaine LaPierre

  • 2.  RE: New Performing Space-need input!

    Posted 28 days ago
    Storage for set/props/costumes
    Shop area w/ good lighting for tools and building flats
    Good wings w/ access to hallways/restrooms, green room/dressing rooms.
    Light battens accessible by electronic winches.
    Sound board/sound boards areas built into the main area and not shut off so that sound and lights are created for audience. 
    All the things I don't have!

    Ginnie Bullis

    C. Milton Wright High School

    Teacher: English 11, Drama

    Speech & Debate Coach

    STARS/SADD Sponsor


  • 3.  RE: New Performing Space-need input!

    Posted 28 days ago
    Edited by Robert Smith 28 days ago
    Hi Elaine,

    Congratulations on getting the new space. My suggestions may be hard to get, but you should try for them anyway.

    You want a stage surface which is black and can be attached to. It will make set building and productions much easier. Most folks building these spaces want the really shiny gym floor like surfaces and they never want you to poke holes in them. Bad for lighting. Bad for sets.

    Wing space. Get as much as you can. There can never be too much. Your possibilities for storage and more elaborate sets really need this.

    I notice that you mentioned a mid traveler. Don't forget your wing and border curtains. That might seem like an automatic to you. (and why you didn't mention it), but it isn't necessarily for the folks putting in the orders and designing the construction. Of course, all of these curtains should be black. When I got into my first school, all of the border and wing curtains, as well as the mid traveler and rear traveler, were silver metallic. (and the floor was a bright shiny yellow) It took me five years to convince them to change all of it over to black, but what a wonderful change when I finally accomplished that.

    Look at everything on the plans. If you have trouble reading construction plans, find a friend to interpret. Architects will make weird mistakes in their designs. I was putting up additional second level storage into my wing space and when I looked at the plans, I noticed that the architect was putting a stairway over the entrance to the lower space that would make it inaccessible. Don't know what he was thinking, but I got that one changed quickly. Also, a friend of mine was lucky enough to have her school build her a black box space - which the workers immediately painted white.

    Good luck with your process.



    Robert Smith
    VA Co-Chapter Director
    Virginia Thespians
    Centreville VA

  • 4.  RE: New Performing Space-need input!

    Posted 28 days ago

    Above all, I would recommend that your administration hire an architect AND a theatrical consultant (that works for the district not the architect). Most architects and construction management companies just do not possess the experience to deliver this type of unique space without the proper professionals involved.  Your admin should then form a committee composed the architect, theatrical consultant, a member of admin, and the arts staff who will be using the space. This group can then properly navigate the design of a space unique to your district's needs. Any money spent on the front end will be saved on the back end by doing things correctly and, most importantly, not missing major components of the project. Time and again, I see schools go the wrong way. Even the best construction professionals just don't know what they don't know. You need the right people there to ask the right questions.

    Good luck! This process is both exciting and intimidating. 


    David Simpson
    Performing Arts Center Manager