Customizing Your Performing Arts Center and Why it Matters

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Customizing Your Performing Arts Center and Why it Matters

October 18, 2023

Every performing arts center is unique. This means that every performing arts center needs unique, custom solutions. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all.

When outfitting a performing arts center with performance equipment, there are quite a few things you need to consider. You’ll have a lot of options when it comes to customization. These range anywhere from providing optimal functionality for the space to matching the portable equipment to the look and feel of the room.

In this post we’re going to look at some of the custom options that can be personalized for your performing arts center and why they’re important.

Sound Projection

orchestra shell

Let’s start with the orchestra shell or enclosure.  

How Big is Your Space?

The size of your shell will need to be matched to the size of the space. Height, width, and depth all need to be considered. Storage space should be accounted for as well to make sure there’s enough space to store the shell when not in use. If you’re storing it off stage, you need to consider the height of your doors and ceilings.

Check out this link to see the story of how we developed the Sonata Shell specifically for Eaton Middle School.

orchestra shell

There may also be the ability to add flown ceilings to your set-up. These can be stored compactly in the fly loft when not in use or they can be removable if you can’t dedicate a line set full time it. This will match the side and back panels to give a finished look and provide optimal acoustical value.

Having gear that fits your space will work better and will make your performances sound as good as possible.

What Are the Aesthetics of the Room?

There are many surface options to choose from when building your shell. These can range from wood veneer, laminate, or different painted finish options. Your surface options should match or complement the existing look and feel of the room. This will create an elegant, finished looking space.

Where do You Need Access Points?

Many portable shells have doors that can be added into different points to create easy access for when it is set up. Obviously these locations will need to be determined before the manufacturing process begins.

Pit Filler or Stage Extension

orchestra pit filler

If you have an orchestra pit or if you don’t and just need a stage extension, you still have options available to you.

What is the Configuration of Your Space?

The size and configuration will be based on your existing built-in stage and your orchestra pit, if you have one. Different support options are also available depending on different things like your storage space and how often you’re going to be setting up or taking it down. This matters because every space is unique.

What Types of Events are You Hosting?

stage extension

There are a few different deck surfaces available to your extension or pit filler. If you need something to help absorb sound, a carpeted surface will be what you need. If you need a more reflective surface, a more standard stage decking material will be better. You can also match the portable extension to the built in stage surface. In the photo above, you can see how we matched the stage extension to the built in stage at the San Francisco Jazz Center.

Every manufacturer’s options will be a little different so make sure you discuss it with them to get the best one for you. There’s also the option of a dual-sided decks which gives you two options to choose from and can double the lifespan of the decks. Overall, you need the surface that’s going to help your performances sound their best.


Performing arts centers are unique which means they need custom solutions. Customized products will create the best experience for everyone involved including staff, performers, and patrons.

Contact our experts to begin the conversation of creating custom solutions for your theatre space.

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