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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 253 (229)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 253
Page 253

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 253

Design and Furnishing of the Small Stage

While Stages Should Be in Original Plans, They Can Be Built into Almost Any Theatre

From the beginning of the theatre, it has been continually changing. The very nature of the show business decrees this, and it will continue to change as time goes on.

In view of the changes that have taken place, and are taking place daily in the theatre, would it not seem poor policy so to limit the construction of the stage that only one type of entertainment (pictures) can be presented? Perhaps the best answer to this question has already been amply demonstrated where the small theatres have had to resort to Bank Nite and other innovations to keep up attendance. Or perhaps a star from one of the producing companies is on tour and would like to make a personal appearance, or the owner wishes to cooperate with some civic movement, only to find he has provided no space to make even an announcement to his patrons.

Who knows where television will stop

in the theatre field or how large or hOW'

cumbersome the equipment may be? And, finally, consider the added re-sale value of the theatre if it has a small, compact, but edicient stage.


Why is it that better stage facilities have not been provided in more theatres of this type?

Lack of Space

A quick answer to this would be lack of space, but this would be open to de GOOD WILL, WITH ADDED BENEFITS AT THE BOX OFFICE, accrue to the theatre with a small stage. For example, many a special show can be givenwsuch as the special children's matinee here pictured. With such an enthusiastic audience as this, one which enters wholeheartedly into the spirit of the occasion, the theatre



President. J. R. Clancy, Inr.

bate since 12 to 15-foot depths permit a lot of stage activity, and almost any theatre can provide that amount of space to improve greatly the box-office possibilities. The next answer probably would be height, especially where the theatre is located in a one-story building or an office building with a rented second floor. This, however, is not as great an obstacle as it may seem. It is possible to design a really workable stage with very little overhead height. Such a stage could easily handle all of the activities outlined in the early paragraphs of this article, plus many vaudeville acts and, in fact, many light dramas and comedy shows.

The Cost

The next answer would probably be cost, and here again this is open to debate, for the skeleton or minimum requirements of a stage of this type would be much lower than the owners would likely suspect. After the skeleton stage is once installed, assuming that it is properly planned, new additional equipment could be added if needed. The most difficult problem to overcome is to get the screen and sound horns out of the way for clear use of the stage. The sound horns are easily disposed of by

means of a modern roller-bearing soundhorn truck, or, where off-stage space permits, a modern horn-beam track.

Picture Screen

The picture screen, however, is the real obstacle to a stage that does not have fly space. This is a cumbersome piece of equipment and, while a screen suitable for the average theatre can be rolled, rolling is not a satisfactory method, inasmuch as it leaves wrinkles in the screen. Numerous methods have been devised in an effort to find a suitable way to dispose of a framed screen. One used quite extensively in Army camps has to some extent solved the problem. But here again we find we must have some overhead height. Furthermore, this requires too much help to operate.


In considering a stage for the smaller theatres it would seem advisable to divide them into two groups: (1) The small neighborhood theatre, where no overhead space is available, and (2) the medium size theatre where space can be provided to fly the picture screen and similar items.

Stage No. 1 seems to be the logical answer for the small neighborhood theatre. The drawing is made on the basis of a 25-foot proscenium opening, 22 feet high, with an additional overhead space of 5 feet. The overall depth of the stage,

Cannot help but become a more powerful influence in its community. With stage facilities, it also becomes the center for civic adairs, becoming the point of celebration on special occasions. The stage need not be sumptuouseand many a stage of useful proportions and accoutrernents can be economically designed.
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 253