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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 254 (230)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 254
Page 254

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 254




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STAGES WITHOUT OVERHEAD SPACE have the minimum of equipment, as showri in this diagram. For such a stage, with a 15-foot depth, provision has here been made for the proscenium valance, the prOSCenium trOVeIer curtain, right and left side legs, border lights, two ceiling borders, a traveler Screen curtain, the screen,'

from the front of the apron to the rear wall is 16 feet 6 inches. This latter dimension could be reduced 2 or 3 feet if necessary. The screen curtain is located '7 feet back from the front of the apron. This gives a clear space inside the proscenium wall of 51/2 feet, or 7 feet from the stage front, in which to accommodate light acts, speakers, magicians, and the like. In the drawing are shown a valance and proscenium draw curtain. These two pieces of equipment may be eliminated in favor of a contour curtain, which really is a much nicer treatment. The cost is very little more than the valance, draw curtain, and track. Immediately behind this is provided a border light, wired in three colors, followed by a masking ceiling border, followed by another ceiling border, grand drape, and a screen curtain.

Screen Curtain

Of course the screen curtain would have to be of heavy enough material to shut out light. This in turn is followed by the picture screen and sound horns, both of which remain fixed at all times. Both proscenium curtain and screen curtain can be operated either from stage or projection booth. In a few instances, architects have found it convenient to provide a pocket overhead to fiy the picture screen; and, where this can be done, the entire area may be opened up all the way back to the rear wall, for stage ace tivities and various types of equipment.

Asbestos Curtain

Some cities will insist upon an asbestos curtain on a stage of this type, in which case a braille type curtain would be permissible. In most cases, however, where proper plans are submitted and





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an efficiently flame-proofed treatment is assured, theses restrictions are waived, and the asbestos curtain can be eliminated. The foregoing layout applies only to stages where there is no appreciable room overhead in which to fly the picture screen and is generally confined to the small neighborhood theatres.


The cost of a stage of this type depends on the width and height and the materials used; but, in any case, it would run very little more than the equipment required to accommodate pictures only.


We have discussed at length the possibility of providing some sort of working stage in a building without overhead space for fiying the equipment.


The real answer, however, to the stage problem for small theatres lies in drawing No. 2. It will be noted that this stage can be built to a depth of 14 feet, or 181/2 feet, or, in fact, deeper if desired. The minimum equipment for this stage is as follows: (1) valance, (2) asbestos curtain, (3) proscenium draw curtain, (4) concert border light, (5) granl drape, (6) main act curtain, (7) picture screen, (8) sound horns, (9) ceiling border, (10) side legs, (11) border light, (12) ceiling border, (13) draw curtain, (14) border light, and (15) back drop.

If it is desired to limit the depth to 14 feet, then the rear border light and back drop are eliminated. Also the valance and proscenium curtain may be eliminated in favor of a contour curtain.


and the sound horns. With a setup like this, the theatre would be in a position to handle any local event or celebration and almost any "in the flesh" act making a specialty of the smaller one-night or split-week theatres. The cost of such a stage is reasonable compared with the good will its use would create.

Proscenium Opening

In this type of stage, sufiicient space in which to fly the picture screen is necessary, but it does not follow, as most people seem to believe, that the overhead space should be twice the height of the proscenium opening, since it is only necessary to lift the screen high enough to mask it behind the grand drape. The grand drape, placed on a counter-weight set, can be raised or lowered quickly and easily. It is used for masking the top of the picture screen while the screen is in use, and, in most theatres, it is necessary to lower it to trim properly for acts, at which time it usually rides about. 18 inches below the valance, and since the valance hangs 2 to 5 feet lower than the proscenium opening, the sum of these two factors reduces the overhead height necessary to fly the screen accordingly.


The question of establishing the height of the gridiron is one that cannot be determined until the general plan for the auditorium has been developed. The slope of the main door, the balcony, if any, and the height of the projection room portholes all play important parts in establishing the height of the proscenium opening, and in general, the height of all drapes and the like on the stage, as well as the proper location of the picture screen. Therefore, it is imperative that a detailed stage plan be carefully worked out to tie in with the general construction of the building. Usually, the proscenium opening is a little higher than absolutely necessary in order to give the proper effect to the valance and front curtain.

Having developed the height of the proscenium opening, and a general stage

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 254