Many of us will be familiar with the Stage. This is where actors and dancers perform and provides the focal point for the audience. Separating the performers with the audience is the Proscenium Arch allowing the audience to look directly on to the stage from one side. Proscenium takes its definition from ancient Rome where the stage area in front of the set was known as “proscenium”, meaning “in front of the scenery”.
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Glancing towards the auditorium, those of you wanting to be at the heart of the action should sit in the Stalls. This area is closest to the stage and allows the audience to be within touching distance of the performers and the set. The name is derived from the late 16th century when the first fixed seats were in the form of wooden partitions or stalls. The floor benefits from a gentle slope from the back of the theater towards the stage which allows for the rear rows of seats to be raised slightly and thus improving the view.
Positioned at the next level is the Dress Circle, often the most expensive seats in the theater The name stretches back to its inception, when theater goers would have to dress up in their Sunday best to be admitted.
Finally, situated above can be either one or two more tiers. The first is the Upper Circle, commonly called the ‘Gods’ and even higher sit the Balcony or Gallery. These are the cheapest seats and originally, consisted of benches with no individual seats. Often, these tiers were quite steep, so anyone with a fear of heights may have struggled!
For the ultimate luxury in the theater, sit in one of the small, private rooms called Boxes. They open onto the theater to face the stage and often, the chairs aren’t fixed, allowing for a degree of flexibility in how you position your seats. The enclosed nature of this seating allowed the rich to sit apart from the rest of the audience and thus, in a prominent position. From this stance, everyone could admire them in their splendid attire and jewellery. Due to the sideways positioning of these seats though, the view can be slightly restricted.
Wherever you sit in the audience, you will be able to see the production and wonder at the extraordinary talents on stage. If you’re going to the theater or ballet this summer, why not let us know what you’re going to see and if you enjoyed it!
Jane Singer is passionate about the arts and has a particular interest in new dance performances and theater productions. Aside from hopping along to as many performances in London’s West End as possible, she’s also involved in the running of Rona Hart, a long-established dance school in Hampstead, London.
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