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  • 1.  Classroom Design

    Posted 04-22-2024 10:54
    Hello! My school is beginning to make plans for a new Fine Arts building and they have asked for ideas/suggestions from teachers for individual classrooms. I have a general idea of my needs, but I was curious if any other theatre educators had classroom designs/aspects/elements they have found to work extremely well. Any suggestions that you have would be greatly appreciated! I've included some of the specifics they've asked about below:
    - Seating (kind and amount)
    - Storage (kind and size)
    - Sound Equipment / Other Technical Equipment
    - Flooring
    - Style of classroom (if applicable)

    Katie Soper
    Middle and Upper School Theatre Director
    St. Andrew's School

  • 2.  RE: Classroom Design

    Posted 04-23-2024 05:52
    Costume and makeup storage is essential. I have a small closet in my classroom, which doubles as a greenroom, where I keep costumes for current shows and a storage shed for everything else. You need more storage than you think. A prop closet. Places for flats and furniture. Beware architects putting ducts where you need to store things, or worse, where your lights or fly space are. Big doors where you can move pianos and big set pieces onto the stage. We have a big 260 seat black box with all of these. Quiet heating and ac also essential. A bathroom in the greenroom just for actors. Qlab for sound.
    Hope that helps!
    Oh, and once you have a nice space, lock down play dates and time to build, or put set on stage. EVERYONE not in theatre assumes you only need the week of the show, so they will rent the place out at the drop of a hat the rest of the time.

  • 3.  RE: Classroom Design

    Posted 04-24-2024 15:43

    I second the comment about reviewing the plans to make sure that duct work is not placed inappropriately!  I have seen this happen more than once!  Also, make sure it's easy to change out the lamps in the fixtures without having to rent a specialized lift!

    Kirk Longhofer
    Theatrical Sound Design, Audio Production, Editing and Engineering
    Systems Design and Consultation

  • 4.  RE: Classroom Design

    Posted 04-23-2024 08:16

    This can be a loaded question....

    What are they truly asking of you? Do they just want your input on your day-to-day classroom space, or do they want your input on the entire building?

    If it is just the classroom you want to see how to get involved with the building design team or the theatrical consultants designing the building, generate a weighted wish list of priority of what to have vs. what to cut due to budget requirements. Please understand that equipment and square footage are expensive and a balancing act vs. the entire building cost.

    As for your classroom is it just a classroom? Is it a box theater? Is it your make-up area and greenroom? to determine this the overall building would need to be reviewed to answer this question. Does your space need to act as storage during shows and concerts?

    How much space is available for your classroom needs, or do you reduce the stage size and shop to make what you want practical for your use.

    Have justifications of what you want, we currently have X amount of students, in the next 20 years we hope/anticipate to have x many so the space is not outgrown before requiring update for the next 20 years.

    Thats my 2 cents from being involved in this process in the past, be involved, know what you need vs. what you want! weight out what is worth keeping at the expense of other items on your list.

    Good Luck in your process.

    Jerry Onik
    V.P. Theatrical Supplies and Equipment
    Heartland Scenic Studio

  • 5.  RE: Classroom Design

    Posted 04-23-2024 10:44
    Consider having a small stage at one end of the classroom. Large enough for a two person scene. No more than 18-24" rise. This can be elaborate with curtains and lights or a simple raised platform. 

    "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." - Shakespeare

  • 6.  RE: Classroom Design

    Posted 04-24-2024 07:31

    I'll throw out that in my theatre classroom I have rolling desk chairs, and we love them. We circle up with them for reading or discussion, and then they push back easily for movement work. They also fold up a bit and nest if you need to get them out of the way. The only think I wish is that we'd gotten the version with cupholders, because then I think my students would be less likely to spill their drinks. :-)

    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre, Film, and Communications Instructor
    Shenandoah Valley Governor's School
    Fishersville, VA