by Jez Bond

It’s all about the seating. Following from our trip to Trafalgar Studios yesterday we continued our discussions on seating for the studio…

We had always considered flexibility as important, but now it seems we may be changing our minds. The fact is – and this is a view shared among architects and theatre consultants alike – flexibility costs money. It costs in terms of initial capital expenditure (fixed tiers are far cheaper than reconfigurable steel/aluminium deck) and in terms of ongoing expenditure (considerable man power is required to reconfigure the decking and seating each time). Furthermore flexibility also means a loss of capacity, which in turn means a loss of revenue as one can only charge in proportion to how many seats one has.

We are therefore now debating whether we might design a 90 seat studio – as opposed to an 80 seat flexible one.

There are other benefits with a single layout too – one being the ability to really refine and tailor the shape, resulting in an overall better feel for the space.

Another issue thrown in to the mix is whether we go for fixed or flip down benches. The Trafalgar 2 and the Young Vic among others use flip downs (it’s a clever way of squeezing up the rows to allow either more stage space or more seats) however can feel, in our minds, something… compromised about this approach. Once more it’s really the ‘feel’ of the space that is most affected. We are not yet sold either way – there are 3D modelling designs to be done which will help us visualise the space. More on this to come!

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