Skip to main content

Consultants Guide: How to Design Performing Arts Halls for the Modern Age

Consultants Guide: How to Design Performing Arts Halls for the Modern Age

Today, we can purchase on-demand entertainment wherever we are on devices that can fit into our pockets. Getting audiences to attend a live event for a night to remember… that's our challenge.

The expectation of an ordered public assembly of trained listeners is no longer valid. Viewers today listen differently; their experience is more closely attuned to attending sporting events, movies, and pop concerts. Yesterday's monolithic audiences are now gatherings of individuals with personal entertainment systems and much of their entertainment is an isolating experience heard through ear buds. Beyond listening, new generations of arts consumers also expect the stimulation of a "show" with projected media as an integral part of the live performance.

These realities have transformed how we look at all performance spaces. Enveloping the audience makes the experience of space and the live event memorable. The immersive event compels the audience. It's something that they can't get anywhere else.

Although it has a great deal to do with how we experience live performance, technology is only part of the solution. Engaging, growing, and retaining a new audience requires innovation but it also requires venues with an elegant balance of social and personal space, patron comfort, and ease of attendance. At the end of the day finding that balance is what our work is about.

Steve Pollock is principal for Auerbach Pollock Friedlander.

Read more from the SCN Consultants Guide:

How to Go Global, by Steve Emspak, Partner, Shen Milsom & Wilke

How to Add Communications to the IT Infrastructure, by Ashok Bhatt, Consultant, Labrador Technology

How to Help Houses of Worship Reach Beyond the Sanctuary, by Garth Hemphill

How to Build an AV Consulting Practice Within a Larger Engineering Organization, by Greg Rushton