Complex buildings like theatres require careful planning. There are many types of theatre buildings today, but all will contain the following elements.
Front of the house
- A foyer is away an audience enters a theatre. The theatre’s front of the house allows the audience to access the most important parts. A box office is located in the foyer. Tickets can be bought or collected from this area.
- Most theatres have a cafe or bar for refreshments and food before and after the performance, toilets that are essential to all theatres and allow patrons to use the facilities. There will also be a Cloakroom for coats and bags. Some theatres offer a shop or merchandise stall for souvenirs and memorabilia. This is the first point of interaction for most audiences. It will also impact their perception of the show or theatre.
- Through corridors known as vomitories, the audience enters the auditorium. The auditorium, also known as the house, allows the audience to sit to view the performance. Depending on the size of the theatre, there may be one or more levels. The stall is the first level of seating immediately in front of the stage. It generally starts below the stage and gradually rises as it reaches the back of the auditorium. A balcony may be placed at the rear of the stalls and provide additional tiered seating, commonly called the grand circular or dress circle. It may be curved around the auditorium and lead to individual boxes near the stage, holding between two to six people. They were originally designed to be private seating and not visible from the rest of the auditorium. These are not as popular today because they don’t have a clear view of the stage. There may be additional balconies or boxes on top of the first one, but they are rarely three. The upper round is the second balcony. The gallery or the gods is the highest level of seating.
- Many British theatres have a proscenium arch, which is the area around the stage that divides the auditorium and the backstage. This is the name of the type of theatre that has this frame. Proscenium arch theatre refers to a traditional theatre space created from the Victorian looking at production through a picture frame. The curtain will be made of two pieces of cloth, one of which will lower from the arch backstage. This is to conceal the set until the performance starts. This is the house curtains. The iron or safety curtains are metal curtains that serve as fire escape devices. It separates the auditorium from the stage in the case of a fire.
- This was traditionally the area behind the proscenium ar. It is out of sight of the audience. This includes the technical, performance, and preparation areas of theatre, located behind, beside and above the stage. It also includes areas within sight of the audience, such as the Control Box, which is usually located at the rear of the stalls and where the control desks are for sound and lighting.
- The stage hosts the performance. Proscenium arch theatres have a stage that projects directly in front of the arch. This area is also known as the pron or forestage. The orchestra pit is located directly in front of the stage. It can be found partly under the apron. The stage left, stage right, upstage, and below the stage areas are the divisions of the stage. The performers on stage view the stage from stage left, and the audience sees the stage right from stage right. Upstage is the area closest to the rear wall of a stage furthest away from the audience. Downstage refers to the area closest to the audience, the front, and the apron. These terms are a result of a time when the stage was raked. This meant that the stage climbed slowly on an inclined slope, with its back being higher than the front. Some theatres in the UK still have their stages raked.
- The stage extends to the areas on either side, called the wings. These are built dividers or fabric that allow performers to enter and leave the stage behind. This is where props and sets are kept when not in use. It also serves as a quick change area if you don’t have time to go to the dressing room. The prompt corner can be found in the wings to the left of the stage. The show caller, a member of the stage management staff, calls the technical changes, lighting and cast movements. They use a headset to connect them to the green room, dressing room, and control box. The show caller often uses the control box to see the technical operators better. The wings crew and cast can move backstage to the dressing rooms or other areas.
- The wings can be stored in the set and used on stage to set the scene for the performance. Each production has its own set. It can be either fixed or moved on the stage using stage technology. You can use many types of stage technology to move or alter your set, including a revolve that turns to show different sets, trucks and automated track systems.
- The fly tower or grid are the names for the space above the stage. This is the area directly above the stage at least one-and-a-half times higher than the proscenium area. All departments, including sound, lighting and AV, use bars to rig elements like lights, speakers, and drapes. While most elements are rigged and left in their original location, set elements may be moved in and out by the bars (with the bars moving in and out) to get them in and out of view. Sometimes performers can be flown. The cast and crew can hide behind the black curtain (curtain) while moving backstage. It often has a white curtain (stretched) in front. This is known as a cycle, which can be projected onto by lighting or AV to create the background for the scenes. Other clothes rigged from bars include painted fabrics, which are used in opera, ballet, and pantomimes.
- The dock, located at the rear of the theatre, is where trucks load all the costumes and technical equipment and then take them away at the end. Set-up and takedown of the sound, lighting, and lighting are called the “get in” and “get out”. The theatre’s rear door allows cast, crew and staff to enter.
- Backstage also has areas for performers and crew to relax or prepare before or after a performance. The dressing rooms are used to prepare performers for their show. To simulate lighting conditions on stage, dressing room mirrors are illuminated with lights. The green area is where crew and performers can relax or eat. The band room might have a separate orchestra pit for members of the band/orchestra. A few theatres have a rehearsal area, where performers can warm up before performances and rehearse together during rehearsals.
- The last set of spaces behind the stage maintains equipment and other elements used during performances. The wardrobe refers to the costume department. It also includes the areas where costumes are made and stored. Other functions include the laundry and the wig room. A range of workshops will be available. Many theatres will have a technology workshop to store and maintain lighting, sound, and AV equipment. A workshop may be available for larger theatres. This is where props, sets and scenery can be constructed and maintained.