A Guide to Theatre
December 3, 2018 \ Arts & Culture
by Nicola Walls
Part of our Inside/Out series of Monday morning talks, in which internal and external guest speakers alternate to share insight on a range of subjects and personal passions.
Performing arts buildings are complex entities – and the language and terminology that surrounds them can sometimes be baffling. I have been fortunate that for the last fifteen years my main focus has been working on arts buildings, and I have naturally ‘absorbed’ learnings by working alongside specialist practitioners such as theatre consultants – as well of course learning from our inspired clients!
My interest in theatre goes well beyond our projects and my personal interest in the performing arts and my professional life are inextricably linked. I have a good understanding of the factors that affect the theatre sector and firmly believe that this knowledge contributes positively to our architectural work. Therefore, in order to share my knowledge across our studio and to encourage our younger talent to fully engage with this exciting sector, I gave a presentation to the office simply entitled ‘A Guide to Theatre’.
My presentation was split roughly into two parts: The first gave a general guide to theatre terminology, including the difference between producing and receiving houses, and an exploration of the major funders and key players within the sector. The second part explained some of the more technical aspects of working in theatre buildings, exploring issues such as auditorium seating and the constituent parts of a stage house.
Our Monday mornings are designed in part as a forum for sharing our individual knowledge for our collective benefit. I could have talked for double the allocated time and the intention is now to build on this knowledge share by working with a smaller group of interested colleagues over the coming months. This will ensure that the legacy of experience built up through our delivered performing arts projects forms a firm foundation for future projects.