Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House and Harvey Theatre

Known for its innovative programming, original shows, and enthralling performances, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has been a mainstay of both global and local communities for more than 150 years. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander has provided theatre consulting services to BAM since 2004 designing upgrades and improvements to theatrical facilities and systems in the historic Howard Gilman Opera House and Harvey Theatre.

At the opera house, the firm has provided consulting for new safety curtain rigging and sound cluster rigging system, orchestra pit lift controls and fall protection.

For the Harvey (pictured here), the initial challenge lay in replacing the aging hydraulic rigging with a new digitally controlled motorized rigging system. Most recently the firm designed a seating replacement and reconfiguration to provide improved audience circulation, sightlines and wheelchair accessibility. The new seat was developed to provide a comfortable solution that recalls the original Mahabharata director Peter Brook-inspired bench seats and includes an innovative platform system that allows for reconfiguration of the stage and the installation of a center vomitory performer entrance.

At the same time that the seating renovation was undertaken, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander designed the Steinberg Screen, a digital cinema system in the Harvey. The sophisticated system provides for a full Digital Cinema Initiative-compliant projection system with a 35’ x 19’ removable screen that fills the proscenium and can accommodate both 2D and 3D projection. A new audio system, surround-sound and adjustable acoustic absorption banners round out this ambitious project.

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander’s ten-year relationship with BAM continues with current work on additional improvements to the Harvey Theatre.

Client: Brooklyn Academy of Music
Acoustics: Akustiks
Date: 2006, 2012