Midlands Arts Centre

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Creating tiered seating for Santa

The popular Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) is located in Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham. The performing arts venue opened in 1962 and offers a packed programme which brings theatre, independent cinema, visual arts exhibitions, creative courses, and special events to life.

Following the discovery of the presence of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) in sections of roof in the Main Theatre and the Weston Studio, and Painting and Drawing Studio – the centre needed a fast and effective solution to explore spaces to reschedule events.

Their Christmas show ‘Starchitects Save Santa!’ from world-renowned dance-circus company Motionhouse, was scheduled to open in the main theatre on 17 November. The approach to establish a new space for the performance involved transforming a gallery area into a temporary studio theatre, providing a dedicated space for the show to take place.

Our remit was to maximise audience capacity in the available space, taking into consideration the presence of three structural columns within the footprint of the seating tiers. Starting with a broad outline brief, we took advantage of our precision equipment to ensure the layout adhered to the ABTT Technical Standards ensuring audience safety. Utilising the highly modular nature of our seating system and our seating hire stock, we constructed tiers to the exact dimensions specified by MAC, along with customised infill pieces fitted on site around the columns, demonstrating the adaptability of our approach.

The show was initially advertised to the public to be held in the Main Theatre. Given that tickets had already been sold to permit step-free access seats, we needed to modify the tiers and the front row seats to devise a solution. Our result was to create pairs of seats that could be easily removed, ensuring accessible spaces could be accommodated at any position in the front row.

Leveraging our experience and specialised seating hire equipment, we successfully implemented these solutions for MAC. To their delight the show could continue without a hitch to bring the Christmas magic to their audience.