> > > >

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 24 (2)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 24
Page 24

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 24

l Hints on Planning the Community Theatre

First Step in Design Is Study of People Who Might Be Patrons at the New Theatre

It has been my good fortune to have had the opportunity, both before this war and during it, to visit and study theatre patronage in many types of communities throughout this world.

I have studied, firsthand, varied conditions found in the many types of communities in our own country, such as in the steel and textile towns, the sophisticated urban communities, and middle class main streets. I have also been able to study community conditions of the jute mills of Calcutta, the cotton factories of Bombay, the tea plantations of Burma and China, the thriving communities of Sidney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as those of Brazil, Egypt, and the Gold Coast of Africa.

Through these studies, I have come to the conclusion, and our office has followed in practice, that theatres must be designed about the people of a particular community, and every community has its own personality, likes and dislikes. The theatre architect must understand this human side of the community before he can properly design a theatre that will fill this important niche in community life. It is an established fact that the


Architecl. John and Drew Eberson

theatre in the community is an institution with such importance as the church and the school and in its design and management it must assume this responsibility in reflecting the character of the people who live in the community. A stock theatre design cannot be utilized. The type of theatre that serves the smart suburbs of New York cerainly could not fill the bill in New Delhi, India, where Moslems and Hindus do not drink from the same drinking fountain and do not utilize the same entrance and seating facilities of a theatre. Nor would the practical Australian man and woman from down under, with their pioneer demand for simplicity, appreciate the same type of house that the citizens of a Pennsylvania mill town, whose antecedants came from Continental Europe, would require in their way of life.


In the design of a community theatre there must be kept in mind at all times

FITTING THE THEATRE to the community has been admirably accomplished by Thamas Lamb in his design for the Community Theatre, Toms River, New Jersey. A fishing port and coastwise harbor, even before its conversion into a summer resort, the town is surrounded with a wealth of historical lore, the spirit of which the architect caught in the neo-Colonial design of the theatre. Set back from the usual sidewalksflush building line, the cinema is the more striking because of the absence of marquee and signwork normally deemed essential.


that a personality or atmosphere is being created and that the theatre will be judged in the community, not necessarily by the detail or little tricks employed in making it attractive, but rather in the overall atmosphere that is resultant from these combinations of details. Many patrons, when interviewed, will say that they just like a certain theatre-they can not explain why#they have no particular reason, but they just feel at home and like its atmosphere.

We have many examples of community theatres that do not have modern facilities, have not been kept up to date, that do not even have the requisites of good sound, sight lines, and sanitary conditions, but they have become a part of the community and people will patronize them in spite of their defects.

So, in creating a new theatre for the community, the architect must be careful not to create an edifice that is simply a fad and a strangerthe must study the tastes of the people who are to enjoy this theatre, let his own tastes interpret the character of the people of the neighborhood, and then transform that personality into brick, mortar and steel.


With such a large percentage of the movie-going public being children or iteenagers, impressions gained by young people in their community theatre are lasting ones. One must be careful not t) awe people with the grandeur of a theatre, which was a policy followed many years ago in the days when We were building gold and gilt palaces. In those days a man paid for the privilege of bringing his family to what, in his mind, might be termed tithe palace of the kings." Those days are gone. People like to feel that the community theatre i. their theatre.

A great problem of theatre management today is the Vandalian of the youth in destruction of seats, sidewalls, etc. It has been my experience that in a pl'Operly designed theatre the youth of the community can be persuaded to have pride in their theatre rather than resentment of its grandness or of its cheapness, and through this medium of theatregoing, develop a greater respect for community property and the property of others.


Sign To outline, briefly, the details of do.

sign, we should start, naturally, with the sign. In strictly neighborhood communi CATALOG-e1945

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 24