Design Guide for your Black Box Theatre

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Design Guide for your Black Box Theatre

September 8, 2023

seating risers

As you probably already know, black box theatres are very beneficial. They allow for smaller productions, consistent use of your facility, flexibility in your layouts, and more community support. We’ve written more about these benefits in this article.

The next step is building one after you’ve realized the advantages. During this design process, here are some of the things you need to be considering.


Let’s start with the stage. In a space like a black box theatre, you’ll want a portable stage that has the ability to be set-up in multiple different configurations depending on the type of event you’re hosting. A few of the things to take into consideration when looking at this component is the type of surface you need, how often will you need to convert the area, how big is the room, how large is your set-up crew, and do you have a lot of storage space.

The type of surface comes down to whether you need a hard surface to reflect sound or if you need a carpeted on to absorb it. Double-sided decks can give you the option of having both.

How often you’ll convert and how large your set-up crew is will determine how easy the system sets-up and is able to be taken down.

Your amount of available storage space will determine how compactly the system will store. Some options are better than others.

We’ve provided even more tips for each of these points in this article.


Audience seating is the next item to be considered. Once again, you’ll likely need a solution that’s able to be set-up in multiple configurations. It’s important to communicate the layouts you’ll need to a design expert before making your purchase so that they can build a system that ensures you’re getting exactly what you need.

The different variables are similar to the portable stage. Here, you’ll also need to consider how many levels you’ll require. This’ll be determined by the size of your room and how many guests you’re expecting for your events. When considering a deck surface for the seating risers, a carpeted solution will be ideal because it’ll absorb sound and be quieter when patrons are walking across it. Your seating riser should provide great sightlines for the audience while being virtually “invisible.”

Additionally, make sure that it meets all applicable building codes, including ADA requirements. The codes you need to be aware of include things like wheelchair access, maximum seating capacities, location and size of the aisles, egress requirements, and fire codes.   


Every black box theatre is unique so they require a unique solution when it comes to staging and seating. For this reason, it’s important to work with an expert to get the solution you need. Communicate your requirements ahead of time so you can get seating and staging systems that are customized to your space and the types of events you’re going to be hosting.

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