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Flexible Seating with the Wow Factor at The Globe, Stockton

Flexible Seating with the Wow Factor at The Globe, Stockton
Flexible Seating with the Wow Factor at The Globe, Stockton

UK – Stockton Globe Theatre recently underwent a magnificent renovation, with a fresh look that recaptures the essence of the 1930s. But how did the theatre balance authenticity of design with operational needs when it came to the seating? Nina Parmenter from Audience Systems explains.

A major live entertainment destination in the north-east of England, Stockton Globe has a capacity of up to 3,000. Used as a bingo hall for many years, this beautiful art deco theatre eventually fell out of use in 1997.

The auditorium was brought back to life as part of an overhaul of the whole building by Stockton Borough Council. In terms of seating, authenticity was important, but the auditorium also needed to be a flexible and manageable space for new operators Ambassador Theatre Group.

Audience Systems worked with theatre consultant Chris Baldwin to create a two-part seating package. The seats on the balcony are based on an Audience Systems Icon chair; however, with a few special design touches, the chair has become something quite distinct. Bespoke elements include a timber rail above the seat upholstery, a full depth back, a soft close seat return, and, as a final unique flourish, a triple routed seat number recess inspired by the 'O' in the Globe’s iconic logo.

In the stalls area, the design challenges were operational. Some events in the auditorium will be all seated, some part-standing. So Audience Systems was given the brief of creating a removable seating layout that could be stored under the stage. Working with the client, they engineered a solution with seats that can be removed in groups and stacked on low trolleys. These trolleys are then lowered to under-stage level by employing the hydraulically operated orchestra pit as a lift.

To set out the seats again, the crew lay out floorbars, and simply drop in groups of seats. The floorbars are held in place using stud locators, which keep the seating firmly in place on the sloping floor. Given the gradient, good brakes on the transportation trolleys are a must too!

All the seats enjoy a stunning backdrop with the whole of the auditorium sumptuously restored in a striking but authentic colour scheme. The venue will truly provide a unique – and comfortable – experience for all who visit.

photos: Sally Ann Norman

Flexible Seating with the Wow Factor at The Globe, StocktonFlexible Seating with the Wow Factor at The Globe, Stockton

22nd July 2021

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