New Control Booth


Hello to all. I am new to this site, and need some suggestions. I am theatre director at Manasquan High School (NJ) our theatre is the "Jack Nicholson Theatre" he graduated here in 1954....I know, don't say it...
We are getting new seats, and as a result I need to construct a new lighting/sound booth in the balcony.
Does anyone have any suggestions where I can go for some ideas, or does anyone have some good ones...
I don't think we are looking at a "closed in" booth, but rather an open counter area in the rear of the on house left and sound house right.


Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
And your question is what? By the way, welcome to the forum. Perhaps if a open to audience control area is considered such issues as portibility of control equipment will become a factor as with just at least slightly isolation of the booth area from those otherwise concentrating on the show will be of use. Perhaps a few feet between control and audience will be of use. On the other hand, without walls, it's easier to listen to what's actually being heard by the audience much less compensate for it.

Closed in booths I expect are more secure in keeping what's your's for the most part yours, or at least not having to pack it up every night, plus are less destracting to the audience. On the other hand, you are less able or at less intimately involved in being with the show as opposed to pushing buttons on cue or not hearing what the actual sound effect is like as opposed to the person running it in being able to directly hear it much less from in the balcany in hering it a few points louder. That artist in the actual audience can be helpful in a way an open window no matter how well intended will do for hearing.
I have always envyed the other theatres that I have seen with the open balconies in the back. We have the closed booths and it is very difficult to actually hear what the audience is hearing. You have to actually lean over the board and stick your head out of the booth to hear the actual sound. It is ok for lighting other than a slightly restricted view. In order to avoid the problem of distracting the audience, or having equipment messed around with by those who aren't techies, just build the balcony up. If you only have 1 or 2 entrances in which you have to go up some stairs then you will only have authorized personel in that area. Just make sure there is no way that anyone could climb up onto the balcony. I would also try to keep both sound and lights as close to center as possible. This is vital so the technicians can hear centered sound and so the lighting technician isn't only seeing the stage from one angle. If you could give us a general rundown of what your auditorium is like and maybe some pictures or something we could probably help a little bit more. Hope I have helped you.


Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Thanks, just trying to flesh your question out better. IN my case I have worked in both situations if not all of them. Booth proper where the sound is designed for the audience during rehearsal thus does not need much sticking one's head out the window once the show opens - not that I do sound. Sound was run from a sectioned off area of the audience in pre-factoring in the balcony verses lower half in one being hotter than the other, but at least better able to hear, and sound run from a box in the side of the theater in being able to hear but what was heard was very much not what the rest of the audience heard. As with all places, security even if enclosed in a booth is always a question especially with sound gear. Too many house bands looking for gear or something and at times even thinking a light board looks like a sound board. A booth as stated both keeps the distraction away from the audience as you state would be compensated for, and provides walls around it. Other than that your idea sounds to me at least good. Remember however the the more you distance yourself out of the center of the audience and at their level, the more sticking your head outside the booth problems you still have. HOpe it helps.


Thank you for replys.
I am really looking for a designer...architect to design the "tech area".
I hate to just ask a local carpenter...
Your suggestions are appreciated, and they have been a help.


Active Member
If you can...

I would suggest building both a closed booth and an open area...
I have stage managed, designed, and run both lighting and sound...
And it just plain sucks to try and run the sound board from a closed booth.... unless you have massive windows that you can remove....

However as a stagemanager and as a lightboard operatior I would prefer a closed in booth eight or nine times out of ten because then I know that when I am cracking down on people backstage the audience can't hear me!

Even if you are in a balcony that rarely gets filled, I would still put in a closed booth and an open area...

Plus a closed booth does give you the area to lock up stuff! But that is just the voice of one...

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