Large-Group Theatre Layout

Large-Group theatre-style layout

The position of the first seat (audience-left) is what maintains the proper sight line to the edge of the screen (as shown by the thick diagonal line). A presenter crossing that line would block the view of the person in that first seat. To have a clear line of sight to the screen, always keep the first seat lined up with the edge of the platforms, as indicated by the arrow.

The theatre-style seating shown above is balanced, but if more chairs are needed, place them on the side opposite the presenter. For classroom-style seating, six-foot or eight foot tables are typically used.  To set the tables, be sure to line up the outside edge of the first table with the edge of the platforms, similar to the position of the “first seat” shown in the diagram.

A video format screen is wider than it is tall. For large audiences of 100 or more, a 9′(W) X 12′(H) screen is recommended. The table in front is for the PC, the projector and other A/V items.

The lighting should focus on the area where the presenter will stand (indicated above by the shaded triangle). By positioning Light #1 behind the last row of the audience and Light #2 along the outside, about halfway to the front, “cross-lighting” of the presenter is possible. Mount each light high on a “tree” or pole and connect a dimmer switch or board to adjust the light intensity.

To learn more about this kind of presentation set-up, visit our download page and select the handout, Lights, Camera, Action!

Details on Room Layout

Use the diagram above as a guide to positioning platforms, lighting and chairs to accommodate the audience. The objective is to make sure there is room for the presenters to move without blocking the view of the person seated in the first seat, as indicated.

STAGE PLATFORMS give the presenters greater visibility. Make sure the ceiling height is 18 feet or higher and free from obstructions, such as low-hanging chandeliers. The platforms shown are 6′ X 8′, but some locations provide 4′ X 8′ platforms. The goal is to create an “L” shape, as shown on the diagram, rather than match the number of platforms indicated. For example, four or five 6′ X 8′ platforms should be enough to create the layout.

MAIN SCREEN should be a 9′ X 12′ video-format, non-glare, matte-white surface, with full-dress kit (side curtains, bottom skirt and top valance). Place the screen on top of the platforms, if ceiling height permits.

SOUND is necessary for large groups. A wireless lavaliere microphone (one that clips to the tie or blouse) is required to allow for mobility. Each presenter requires a separate microphone.

LIGHTING should be distributed unequally: No light should hit the screen, the presentation area (behind sight line) should have the most light, and the audience needs some light for taking notes.

  • Stage lighting (two LEIKO lights positioned on opposite sides of room, as indicated) works best to fill the presentation area with light. Stage lighting is required for audiences of 100 or more. A dimmer switch or cross-fader should accompany the lighting system to control intensity on the presenters.
  • Incandescent lighting (lights that dim) can be controlled by loosening bulbs to eliminate light on the screen, while others can be dimmed to allow light on the presenters and audience.
  • Fluorescent lighting washes out the screen and should not be used. If fluorescent lighting is the only option, turn off as many lights as possible around the screen.

ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT set-up requires an extension cord, power strip and six-foot table. MediaNet presenters will supply their own PC and will expect an LCD projector to be provided.. AV inputs can be VGA or HDMI.

SEATING is theatre-style, as shown, for half-day events; but, classroom style for full-day events. Use the diagram above as a guide for positioning chairs and/or tables. Learn more about seating.

LECTERN (sometimes referred to as a podium) is not needed. Please DO NOT provide a lectern.