Auerbach Pollock Friedlander’s theatre consulting services provide a flexible approach to the design of performance environments and can be adjusted to meet the needs of any project. Our firm regularly works directly with the facility owner or as a key member of the architect’s design team. With extensive experience in the designing of performance spaces and also in production operations, we bring a fundamental understanding of how to create dynamic architecture that responds successfully to the needs of the end user.
We provide planning and design services for public assembly spaces and live performance venues for opera, symphony, dance, theatre, concerts and electronic media as well as themed entertainment venues and multi-use facilities for conventions, exhibitions, popular attractions and sports. We are experts in the design of performance spaces and their support areas as well as the complex equipment, infrastructure and production systems that support the performing arts operations such as:

Performance Space
  • Stage specifications
  • Back stage and artist support areas including performer and technical circulation
  • Theatrical lighting systems
  • Architectural lighting systems
  • Audio-video systems including broadcast and communications
  • Stage rigging and heavy machinery
  • Acoustic canopies and orchestra shells
  • Orchestra pits and pit lifts
  • Special show-related systems for purpose-built facilities
Audience Environment
  • Seating plans including sightlines to the stage
  • Acoustical canopies
  • Code required access and egress
  • ADA compliance
  • Lobby layout
  • Box office

Facility owners and architects use our theatre consulting services to help program, plan and design these complex venues. Our services range from the programmatic planning phase through the construction administration phase for the development of new facilities and the renovation or repurposing of existing facilities.

  • Feasibility studies
  • Architecture programming
  • Conceptual and schematic design through design development
  • Construction documentation
  • Equipment and systems specifications
  • Bid review
  • Construction administration including theatrical systems contract compliance verification

Early in a project, we work with the owner, production staff and facility operators to gather information and help to prioritize issues and translate them into the planning process in collaboration with the architect. We help facilitate a thoughtful team-based process of communication and planning so that user input is carefully integrated into facility plans and systems design appropriate to the operations anticipated in the venue. In cases where the owner does not have a full technical/operations team in place, we use our own deep experience as former facility operators and users to provide guidance to the design team and owner.

Project programming and planning includes identification of key spaces, technical requirements, net and gross area and critical adjacencies. In the concept and schematic design phases, we generate reports that will provide the engineers with preliminary electrical systems loads, structural loads, heat loads and key infrastructure requirements necessary to support the theatrical systems. Preliminary budgeting allowances and design narratives are accompanied by AutoCAD sketches and conceptual 3D computer models of critical venue attributes including seating and sightlines, catwalks and lighting positions, gridirons and rigging points to name a few. We also assist the owner and the design team in the ongoing evaluation of potential costs associated with the project.

As the project moves into final design, we provide detailed drawings and specifications for all theatrical systems and work closely with the design team on the development of the infrastructure of the facility, providing detailed review of other design team documents at critical phase landmarks. These essential services help ensure the best coordination of the facility’s myriad systems and avoid conflicts during construction.

The drawings and specifications for theatrical rigging systems and draperies, theatrical lighting systems and fixtures, variable acoustics, stage lifts, traps, platform systems, audio-video systems and orchestra enclosures are provided to the architect for inclusion in the final bid documents. Post-bid, through the construction administration and commissioning phases, we provide review of shop drawings and work closely with the architect’s team, the construction manager and contractors to address RFIs and field coordination so that the completed project and its systems meet the functionality expectations of the owner and users.

Our services also can include post-construction support to the owner and operators during move-in and initial performances.


© Courtesy of Sonoma State University
© Tomas Muscionico / Cirque du Soleil
© Tom Bonner Photography
© Scott Conti