How to Design Theater Seating, Shown Through 21 Detailed Example Layouts

Audience sightlines, accessibility and acoustics all make theater seating a hugely precise art. As part of their set of online resources for architects and designers, the team at Theatre Solutions Inc (TSI) have put together a catalog of 21 examples of theater seating layouts. Each layout is well detailed, with information on the number of seats, the floor seating area and row spacing. These layouts fall under three general forms; to supplement this information, alongside TSI’s diagrams we’ve included the pros and cons of each type, as well as examples of projects which use each format. Read on for more.

1. End Stage

In the End Stage form, the entire audience faces the stage in the same direction. Sightlines are kept simple, making these layouts perfect for lectures, films and slide-based presentations. They also fit well into conventional rectangular plans.

However, End Stages are not overly successful at creating a close relationship between performer and spectator. Theatres in this form also can’t be too large due to acoustic limits.

2. Wide Fan

In this form, theatre seats are placed within a 130-degree angle of inclusion. This brings in the audience closer to the performer, establishing a more intimate experience.

This angling also means that the form is better geared towards speech-related performances. Film presentations would be trickier in these spaces, with screens requiring proper positioning – perhaps further back from the stage, to compensate for seats that find their sightlines distorted.


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