With our very own #LVPBeyond conference taking place last month and November being prime conference booking time, we wanted to discuss auditorium and tiered seating venues and how suitable they can be for this type of event.
To start off, auditoriums are purpose built to provide the best acoustics for those in the audience. The origin is “early 17th century (originally in the general sense ‘a place for hearing’): from Latin, neuter of auditorius ‘relating to hearing’.” Whilst they do not offer delegates a full ‘in the round’ experience, such as Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, they are reminiscent of the old amphitheatres that were built to ensure that crowds of all classes would be able to enjoy gory shows (think Gladiator), with tiered seating to ensure everyone could view the stage. So when it comes to ensuring all your guests can have a clear view of the stage, this shouldn’t be an issue.
For some venues, auditoriums have strict maximum capacities due to the structured seating plans, however there are some event spaces such as Twickenham Stadium or ExCeL, which can offer retractable auditorium space, giving event planners more scope to tailor the room to their requirements. The same applies to the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, which has light, bright auditorium space where you can pick the numbers of seats installed for your event.
For many of us, auditoriums are linked with exciting memories to the theatre. These rooms tend to have a ‘grandioso’ feel which helps create an atmosphere and the feeling of something special. And they aren’t limited to conferences. They are well suited to award ceremonies, product launches, or larger scale training days, AGM’s and seminars, allowing for large scale visuals to be projected up onto stage.
If you’re considering an auditorium your next event, there are a number of venues within Lime Venue Portfolio which can help. For large conferences, Kettering Conference and Leisure Village is well equipped with the Lighthouse Theatre, offering 560 tiered seats and offering high spec lighting and sound equipment which is also a great foundation for award ceremonies and other large-scale celebrations.
The Wellcome Collection, conveniently located in Central London and just a short walk from Euston station, boasts the Henry Wellcome auditorium, spanning two floors of the building and providing tiered seating for 154 people. Over in Hampshire, Beaulieu has a purpose built lecture theatre that seats up to 220 guests, whilst Bristol Zoo Gardens can seat up to 119 delegates in tiered seating.
The majority of auditoriums or theatre-style rooms have breakout or reception space to allow for networking before your event gets started, refreshments throughout the day or post-event wind downs. These spaces can help create the right atmosphere for your event, whether that is a learning environment, an awards ceremony or a product launch. So if you haven't already considered an auditorium venue, perhaps you will in future. And we're not saying auditoriums are restricted to conferences either. The events world is forward-thinking, and many of those within the industry are changing our approach to events, the format of them, the environment and the food!
The West End has made an example of changing the way we think of events. If you’ve ever been to see The Lion King at the theatre (spoiler alert!) then you should have a vivid memory of the cast dancing through the aisles, huge giraffes and dancing antelope making their way to the stage through the audience itself. This element of surprise and feeling immersed in the show, even if only for a moment, is something that we #eventprofs could take into consideration. What if your guest speakers are immersed into the audience and are able to engage with delegates, interviewing them on the aisles? Yes, you’d need to plan the logistics of this, but all we’re asking is that you think about the typical expectations of your audience and of the event space itself, and experiment with it.
Want to take a look at our auditorium venues? Click here.
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