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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 182 (160)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 182
Page 182

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 182

Besides, the inside spaces and the approaches to the boxes may be advantageously utilized according to prevalent conditions; exit stairs for the front section of the balcony leading to potential exits on both sides of the stage wall, smoking rooms, or refreshment areas for the balcony, etc.

Orchestra Pit and Organ

The distance between the first row and the screen can hardly be utilized except under specific conditions, when exits below the screen might be possible. The orchestra pit can be retained under the same aspects as those mentioned regarding the stage. In this case, it should be hidden by a cover or at least be improved in its appearance. Analogously, the organ-provided it is in working condition %an be retained. The grilles covering the pipes appear usually incorporated in the architectural scheme of the proscenium. The remodeling of this portion will consequently include the shapes and treatment of the organ grilles. Again the decision has to be made whether the organ is worthy even of such minor adjustments or should be discarded altogether.

Orchestra and Balcony

The slopes and seating capacity of the orchestra and balcony are serious points for consideration.

Because the stage performance takes place in three dimensions and on a floor only a few feet above the orchestra, the sloping of orchestra and balcony towards

A PROSCENIUM WITH EXPOSED ORGAN PIPES (which are, of course, takes) and a decorative scheme of elaborate detail showing an oriental influence is seen in the illustration at the left. At the right is the same proscenium remodeled by discarding the boxes, ripping out the protruding parts, and covering the whole

R, i \ i s.

the stage is a requirement which loses much of its point when the planimatrical

. rectangle of the screen is raised higher.

The slope of the orchestra is no more necessary and even undesirable in the front rows. The slope of the rear orchestra may now run over into the horizontal as it approaches the screen or even into a slight counter-rise at the front. The same sort of molded shape is favorable as regards the cross-section; the slightly curved row of seats will gradually rise towards the side walls; the Whole orchestra floor takes the shape of a flat bowl.

Because the stage opening allows for a variety of lower and higher stage settings, the balcony front had to be placed so far back that also the last orchestra row would yet receive a perfect view of the whole stage opening. The smaller and permanent size of the screen cases this condition. Recessing the screen into the depth of the stage elongates the paralaxis further. The balcony can now extend further over the orchestra without affecting the View of the back rows. Little or nothing can be done to fiatten down the steep balcony fioors of theatres and to adjust them to the new angle of view towards the screen. In many theatres, however, it is possible to add three or four rows to the balcony front and these on a lesser slope. Such adaptations haVe been made before in some theatres with success. The new seats thus installed belong to the preferred sections.

The standing room behind the orchestra seating and usually behind the row


of supporting piers is part of the auditorium. The View from there has to be considered in deciding the farthest possible extension of the balcony. A lowering of the standing room floor will improve the situation. The eye of a person standing there should not be considerably higher than the eye level of the last orchestra row.

Second balconies are often so' steep that their use involves some dangers, in particular for children and old people. Little can be done, unless the whole construction of the balcony girders, stairs and landings be reconstructed. This will not be worth while in most cases where these seats are sold at lower rates and only as a last resort.


Stairs are often found to be inadequate as to their location and construction; at least, those which are not enclosed between walls of a staircase, but are of an open construction, connecting, for example, the orchestra standing room with the balcony foyer, can easily be repaced. Even a change of their location or direction can be made, although the new landing will require structural changes in the ceiling construction and at additional cost.


Changes in the seating can be made with more ease and independent of structure, and they have been done before in many theatres. The restrictions imposed by safety provisions, incorpor opening with drapery. Notice the disturbance of "scaleU by introducing the long drapery running over all stories into small-scale elaboration of the retained stage frame and wall decorations. The intended etTects ask for remodeling of other features to match the newly attuned scale and character of the proscenium.

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 182