How can we help you?
From strategic planning to venue design, performance equipment systems, audiovisual technology, and acoustics, we offer a holistic and user-centered approach to our work. Our in-house team of experts understand that well designed facilities need thoughtful planning to consider the function of the space as well as the people who will manage, use, collaborate, and engage there. We integrate our work with other design team members to create gathering spaces that are feasible, sustainable, and fit for purpose—today and into the future.
Former Managing Director - Northern Stage
Strategy & Operations
Our team of strategic planners, management consultants, operations experts, programmers, and theatre planners supports our clients throughout the entire lifecycle of their venues and organizations. As former directors, managers, educators, and programmers, supporting the real-world needs of our partner communities is the foundation of our work. From aligning on an early vision, to understanding the feasibility and viability of a concept, to fully developing a plan or design, to supporting operational changes and programming needs, we walk alongside you through every step of the project.
A sustainable organization needs a solid business plan, whether it be a new endeavor or a refinement of an existing model. We help to define your core business activities, objectives, and goals for serving your community—or help you revisit and accelerate your existing plan. Together, we work to develop long-term financial plans, marketing strategy, optimized organizational structure, improvement plans, and a values-aligned brand.
Engaging with the full breadth of your community and catalyzing key stakeholders can feel daunting. To help manage this work, we develop comprehensive strategies to identify and connect with essential voices—local arts and culture organizations, individual creatives, board members, potential venue users, city staff, elected officials, business leaders, area residents, neighborhood champions, non-profit representatives, and more. Our work focuses on developing a general understanding of their overall support and potential concerns through targeted one-on-one interviews, focus groups, digital surveys, public forums, and town halls. We also utilize competitive event and programming inventory data—as well as industry relationships—to seek out potential partners that may not be known to the project team.
Concept & visioning
Articulating your vision and primary goals is the first step to a successful project. And through visioning workshops, goal-setting work, community engagement activities, project costing, market analysis, concept design, budget development, fundraising package creation, rendering generation, and project team development, we help you crystalize your ideas and turn them into an action plan. We work closely with you to understand the practical needs of your community, users, and stakeholders and develop a roadmap towards funding, planning, and design. We further collaborate with architects and engineers to analyze sites, identify form and function, and plan within the context of the surrounding environments, buildings, and social settings. Working directly for you, we act as your advocate, help clarify purpose, and build the team that will move your project into design and construction.
Feasibility & needs assessments
Determining need and feasibility for a new idea, required change, facility improvement, or operational adjustment is vital. It ensures your plan is supported by community, helps to identify if now is the right time for it to happen, and analyzes what other considerations are at play. We look at the options, analyze the data and your stakeholders, assess your facility, and make impartial recommendations on how to proceed—helping you to evaluate potential for major capital investments; equipment and system upgrades; and organizational, facility, or programmatic growth.
Site analysis & planning
When a new venue or gathering space is being planned, the site selection is one of the first and most important decisions to make. After having worked on over 1,800 venues globally, we are uniquely capable of putting together a team to help you identify the right site for your vision. If you have multiple locations to choose from, we can help explore the merits and limitations of each, assessing which will best serve your community and your long-term goals. We also help plan how your proposed venue will work best within the context of the surrounding structures. Our comprehensive approach allows us to not only review the site, specific to the physical facility itself, but also to identify the operational and organizational risks and opportunities related to the selection process.
Booking & programming (venue and festival)
Addressing the opportunities and challenges presented in the unique ecosystem of touring environments, our venue booking and artistic programming team supports the planning and the implementation of programming—carefully curated to meet the specific needs and goals of your venue. This work includes venue booking services in addition to artistic programming development, utilization growth roadmaps, revenue modeling, market analysis, audience development strategy, community engagement goals, and new booker/programmer training and coaching.
As organizations grow and change, operational structure must also adapt and expand accordingly. Increased programming and utilization may require more staffing, so we help you identify the specific needs of your organization and make recommendations to support your next steps. Through an in-person and hands-on analysis of your organization and operations, we help to formulate strategic and sustainable improvements that develop your team and their skills. This can include experience enhancement, departmental restructuring, efficiency review, compensation analysis, structure improvements, creation of job descriptions, assistance with hiring, and more. We also offer operational coaching sessions to support facility managers, operators, and programmers in achieving their goals and professional growth. And we further support guest experience, developing an holistic program that begins with staff and stakeholder engagement and then provides on-site experience mapping to establish guest experience standards.
Artistic Director - Dallas Theater Center
Planning & Design
Performance spaces are complex structures. Combining our backgrounds in theatre, architecture, acoustics, and engineering, we offer comprehensive design services on all elements of site planning and venue design. Our goal is to create spaces that aren’t just functional and efficient, but are also vibrant, inclusive, and welcoming spaces that flow together well, are easy to work in, and are a delight to visit. Each space is designed to spark human connections, exchanges of ideas, and unforgettable experiences.
Concept design & programming
The first step to creating the perfect storytelling space is to come up with a concept. We work with clients and design teams to create a concept that meets the project goals and promotes intimacy, energy, and human connections throughout the facility. We’ll shape each space according to its intended uses and we’ll create initial drawings to show you how we envisage them as the venue takes shape.
Building planning & space design
While the auditorium often garners the most attention in a venue, this space would struggle to function efficiently without the support of the spaces around it. We consider the building layout and space functions holistically, so the right rooms are in the right places, exactly where they need to be and with easy connections between them to maximize efficiency.
Performance area layout
There’s much more to a performance space than seats and a platform. Staging configurations, wing space, actor-audience dynamics, and several other factors will affect what it’s like to stage a performance in the room. Our designers create these highly technical and specialized spaces to suit the needs of the performers and enhance how their work is presented to their audiences.
Seating layouts & sightlines
How the audience experiences, interacts, and responds to the performer can affect the success of any event or performance. Bringing the audience closer to the stage promotes intimacy and a sense of energy within the room, so we pay particular attention to where the seats are in relation to the platform, and we create configurations to suit the programming. We’ll also do a sightline analysis to make sure every seat has a good view of the stage so everyone present can feel immersed in the action.
Support space & technical area planning
Rehearsal rooms, donor rooms, loading docks, dressing areas, shops, lobbies, green rooms, administrative offices, storage—the list is long. Each of these spaces performs a specific function and is highly specialized to support the meeting of actor and audience in the auditorium. We understand not only what equipment, circulation, and logistics should go into them, but also how they need to connect with each other for optimal efficiency.
Architect - Gehry Partners
Equipment & Technology
We design spaces that celebrate the human experience. Our equipment and technology designs enable and enhance that celebration. Everything we design is specific to the needs of our clients, appropriate for the program, and integrated seamlessly within the architecture of each space. Once designed, we’re with you during construction and on site during commissioning to make sure the final installation is safe, efficient, and easy to use.
Building-wide technology design
Performance venues may be the heart of your building, but there are many other spaces that support you and your organization. We design technology systems for classrooms, conference rooms, lobbies, and any space where people gather to communicate and collaborate. We believe that technology should create a consistent user experience across an organization. Our goal is to create technology systems in these spaces that are functional, easy to use, and enhance the intended use of the space.
As lighting technologies advance, so too does the demand for them to be used in all kinds of presenting spaces. We design lighting systems and infrastructure that are the right fit for each space, while giving the user the flexibility to change where and how they light the room, according to their programming needs.
Stage flooring, stage lifts, & platforms
One of the most important elements of an auditorium is often overlooked: the stage. Stages are designed to meet the specific technical and artistic needs of performers. Whether it’s a sprung floor for dancers to leap across the stage safely, hidden traps that can make an actor disappear from the stage seemingly by magic, or raised platforms to allow all members of an orchestra to be visible to the audience, stage flooring and its equipment require specialist knowledge and complex engineering know-how.
Stage machinery & rigging
Permanent stage machinery is extremely complex and architecturally integrated into the building’s structure—from flying systems to stage revolves, horizontal drives, and mechanically raising an orchestra pit to extend the stage. Our stage engineers work with the design team from the earliest design stages to ensure that the users have all the technical staging tools they’ll need when they’re putting on a show.
Adjustable acoustics & orchestra shells
Multipurpose and multiform spaces often accommodate different performance types, from opera to symphonic performances, rock concerts, and even the spoken word. We design these rooms to have adjustable acoustics to meet the needs of each performance type, and—when appropriate—we design orchestra shells to enclose the performance environment and direct sound to the audience so they can hear every single musical note perfectly.
Data-driven experiences & insight
The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized the level of insight we can derive from the built environment. Systems of devices collecting data and exchanging information have the capacity to create unique visitor experience, improve existing workflows, and provide detailed insight into the performance and operations of a building. We work with clients to identify opportunities where data collection and system integration can help achieve the goals of their organization, then help them make those goals a reality.
Chief Executive Officer - New World Center
Audiovisual & Integrated Technology Design
Sound, video, and other technologies are an integral part of the modern built environment and any space where people gather. Our team focuses on ensuring that the technology design augments and enhances the program and experience of your space, while also trying to optimize ease of use and reduce operational challenges. Whether we are designing a world class sound system, mapping a suite of cutting edge active learning spaces, or creating a platform for you to livestream your events to the world, our technology team provides a vast depth of knowledge and steady guidance to ensure your project is a success for everyone involved.
Performance sound, video, and communications systems
Theatres must do many things for many people. The same space must be able to host an engaging lecture, hold a concert that has the audience dancing in the aisles, and premiere a theatrical piece that can suspend disbelief until the house lights come back on. We design and specify the equipment, control systems, and infrastructure that ensure your performers are heard, your content is seen, and your space has the flexibility to support the audio, visual, and control demands of any performance.
Immersive technology environments
All theatre aims to immerse the audience in a story or experience. Advances in technology have created new and exciting ways to engage guests and performers alike. Whether the story starts in the space or the moment a patron walks into the building, we help you to create an environment that feels unique, experience-rich, and interactive.
Broadcast, recording, & livestreaming systems
We want to help you capture and broadcast the experiences and the content you’re creating. We design recording studios, broadcast facilities, video production suites, and any space used to make and share content. Whether you’re teaching students to record for the first time or livestreaming your biggest event of the year, we can provide the guidance and the design to ensure you have everything you need, now, and in years to come.
Cinemas and screening rooms are some of the only space types where the audiovisual technology defines the programming and shaping of the room. Our team focuses on the cinema content and allows those requirements to shape other aspects of the room. Technology, acoustics, seating sightlines, and accessibility must all be designed in context of each other to ensure an optimal audience experience. Our team enjoys designing both purpose-built and non-traditional/multi-functional cinema spaces.
Integrated meeting and lecture environments
Spaces should be developed to support communication—not just participant to participant, but across the entire team bringing an event to life. When we develop lecture and meeting spaces, we start with an eye toward access, collaboration, clarity, and ease-of-use. Multidisciplinary tools provide scalable capabilities for large demonstrations, cross-media displays, and TED Talk-style conversations, as well as for smaller, more intimate talks and “plug-and-play” resources for rotating staff or one-off events. We offer deep thinking around dispersion patterns, sonic equity, and how to best serve the range of potential users in these flexible environments.
Digital signage, interactive signage, & wayfinding
Using digital and interactive wayfinding technology in any venue is a great way to help customers orient themselves, find where they need to be, and create a more personal and engaging experience. In addition, adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) systems offers visitors an easily accessible way to interact with you—using QR codes or similar technology, for example, to deliver relevant and timely information as guests explore your venue.
Principal - William Ran Associates, Architects, Inc.
The Theatre Projects Lab provides custom solutions for the built environment: architectural features, artworks and interventions, experiences, and more. We are not limited by materiality, process, or place. And we believe in boundless creativity—imagination brought to life.
Be it project development or design-build process, we begin with listening to our clients and understanding their needs. From that point, we identify opportunities, then create programs and solutions around those goals. And we remain flexible—willing and able to make practical adjustments as drawings come to life.
In this phase, we work with owners and developers to help define project goals, analyze market forces, and right-size the project and the investment scope.
Our design engineering services are made available to all of our clients as a standalone service. Here we leverage our extensive architectural, engineering, and AV design teams to create deliverables that range broadly, from RFP documents to our high-quality fabrication drawings.
Fabrication & resourcing
As we enter the manufacturing and the construction phases, we administer project RFPs, analyze and level solutions and bids, as well as QA/QC and direct construction administration. For design-build projects, we act as project manager and the owner’s POC.
Implementation & long-term support
We continue to support our clients through project life-cycle to help manage their intended use cases, and reconceptualize and refresh existing programs. We also provide executive consulting services for venue managers, bookers, and owners.
Anything in between
We are always open to exploring new ideas, to dreaming together and seeing what we can make possible. If you have a project that doesn’t directly align with what you see here, reach out. Chances are we can lend a hand.
President - Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
Whether you’re presenting symphonic concerts, hosting a seminar, or revealing the latest product for your brand, good acoustics are fundamental to nurturing a dynamic connection between performers and audience members.
To get the best out of each performance, you need great room acoustics. The acoustical properties of an auditorium will depend on its dimensions, volume, shape, and finishes, so our acousticians establish the required acoustic criteria from the outset of the project following detailed discussions with clients and stakeholders. We make careful calculations throughout the design process to ensure those criteria are met as the auditorium’s design progresses from concept to commissioning. We also have extensive experience in designing variable acoustic systems to tailor the acoustics of a venue to the performance.
General building acoustics
It’s not just key performance spaces that need a comfortable acoustic environment. We know that the quality of each room’s acoustics can affect the experience of the users, so we apply our acoustic knowledge to rooms throughout the facility to make your venue a more enjoyable place to work, visit, and perform in. Throughout venues, we promote inclusion by designing for acoustic clarity in communication and by minimizing heavy acoustic door sets for those with mobility constraints.
Performer and operator noise exposure control
The safety of all who work in the industry is of the highest importance us. We promote the philosophy of “safety by design” on all projects—from allowing adequate space and sound absorption in an orchestra pit to controlling noise levels in plant rooms. Rehearsal facilities are a particular area of focus which should not be overlooked and we work hard to achieve acoustic comfort for performers from the moment they enter the venue until they leave. We believe this has a positive impact on health, morale, and performance.
Noise and vibration control
The acoustical environment of a space, particularly one where music or the spoken word are central to its function, is a key consideration in our work. At the start of a project, we can assess the suitability of the proposed site and advise on the cost implications of existing noise and vibration nearby. During design, we determine the performance requirements of building elements, such as mechanical ventilation systems. External noises like traffic can cause unwelcome distractions or ruin an otherwise excellent performance, so we carefully consider the building façade and isolation requirements, too. To minimize or eliminate these issues, we work closely with the building’s design team throughout the entire design and construction process.
Electroacoustics and acoustic enhancement
Contemporary performance spaces use modern spatialized sound systems to enhance performances. Many venues also offer sound reproduction and recording facilities. We specialize in using state of the art technologies to bring audiences the very best acoustic experience for every event while preserving the architectural beauty of the venue. We also design venues with full acoustic enhancement systems, which can vary the room acoustic qualities of a space depending on the performance taking place.
We strive for sustainable, efficient buildings from the concept stage of every job. As a part of this effort, we plan venues so that noise-sensitive spaces are separated from each other—minimizing noise transmission from one space to another and reducing the need for heavy construction materials to insulate sound. From the lobby to performance spaces and support areas, we make sure the conversations and environmental noises happening in each space are contained and don’t spill over into other areas. So, your Sunday afternoon matinee won’t be disturbed by the buzz of activity in your front-of-house spaces or by the performers rehearsing for the evening performance in an adjacent room.
As consultants we typically work in design teams on building projects, but we love to break the boundaries between designers and performers, too! We’ve collaborated on many art installations where acoustics have played a key role in production. We believe this gives us an added understanding of our end users and helps us design better facilities for everyone.