PAC or auditorium?

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by NHStech, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. NHStech

    NHStech Active Member

    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    What are thoughts on calling a venue a performing arts center or an auditorium? When is one more appropriate than another? I read somewhere here recently, from an engineer's perspective, if the venue is used primarily for speaking, it is an auditorium. Otherwise, it would be a theatre or PAC. Thoughts?
     
  2. chris325

    chris325 Active Member

    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    10
    Occupation:
    Master Electrician
    Location:
    Arizona
    I've always assumed that the names are somewhat interchangeable. My school's theatre is formally referred to as the Performing Arts Center, but I'll commonly call it an auditorium. I think that an auditorium typically has more functionality to it than just being a theatre, such as being a lecture hall, concert hall, etc.

    In my opinion, a performing arts center can be an auditorium, but an auditorium typically isn't a performing arts center (if that makes any sense.)
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,795
    Likes Received:
    3,363
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    I've always maintained that a Performing Arts Center, or Center for Performing Arts, must include more than one performance space, and provide for all aspects of the performing arts: drama, music, and dance.

    As was debated here Auditorium, or Theatre? the definitions are vague and ambiguous among:
    auditorium
    hall
    theatre/theater
    showroom
    cabaret.
     
  4. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    3,342
    Likes Received:
    1,573
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    I see an arts center as a building that has multiple expressions of art. That may be multiple performance spaces, but a venue with a single performance space would qualify in my mind as an arts center if has a sizable art gallery. To be a performing arts center, it would need to have either multiple performance spaces or, in addition to at least one performance space, a dance studio, musical lesson rooms, or other facilities that promote the performing arts. They can promote additional expressions of art as well, but the emphasis on performing arts is the qualifier.

    But when I think "auditorium," I think of a single, large room with seats in it that all focus the audience towards one, centralized location.
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,557
    Likes Received:
    2,038
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Auditorium can be anything from a lecture hall on a college campus to a 3000 seat road house. I agree that a PAC is a multi venue facility that houses more then one type of performance art. In college we had a fine arts center that had art studio space, gallery space, rehearsal spaces, and a 2,000 seat theatre all in one building.
     
  6. NHStech

    NHStech Active Member

    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    We have a couple of local school districts that opened new 750-seat theatres, and they both call them performing arts centers (both proscenium stages). One district is laid out in such a way that the PAC joined the middle and high school. The new building itself has the theater, but also dressing rooms, and classrooms for band, choir, visual arts. But, there is just one actual performance venue. My guess is they call it a PAC because of the extra classroom space in there. Thoughts?
    My school calls our performance venue the auditorium, but I don't see how there is much of a difference between our school and the aforementioned district, as our choir and band classrooms are adjacent to the auditorium as well.
    The other PAC I have never been to, so I am not sure of the layout or if the PAC is just the theater, or if there was extra spaces built. No other performance venues, though.
    My personal thought is the two school districts called them PACs because "auditorium" sounds so 50s, and "Performing Arts Center" sounds more regal and up to date.
    So, in case you haven't figured it out, I am looking for a rationalization/justification to call our auditorium a performing arts center.
    Does this whole discussion seem somewhat akin to library/media center?
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,557
    Likes Received:
    2,038
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Media center actually has a reason.... schools don't have books anymore, or at least what they used to. When I was in HS, our library was getting rid of books to put in more computers. At the HS I taught at there was not enough books in the library to write a decent research paper.
     
  8. firewater88

    firewater88 Active Member

    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    West Michigan
    I work for a public school system and ours is called a Fine Arts Center. Like the quote above, we have gallery space, art studios, a dance studio and various class rooms for various events/meetings. We have a 1221 seat auditorium, which is of course the main point of this facility. We have school concerts (vocal/band/orchestra/play/musical) as well as local ballet company and symphony. Some have deemed is a PAC, but it truly is a FAC since we cater to wide range of art.

    ....it's all a play on words
     
  9. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    565
    Occupation:
    Acoustical, audio and audiovisual consultant
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    It is common for "theater" to refer to the building overall and "auditorium" to refer to the audience area. The terminology applied can also potentially be legal or code driven, some codes may use specific terminology where "performing arts center", "theater" and "auditorium" may be looked at differently, much like "stage" and "platform" often are.

    In the case of publicly funded projects, the title can also be related to a real or perceived funding issue. Voters or a Board may not feel that a Theatre is justified but a, at least perceived, more general purpose Auditorium or a, again at least perceived, more grandiose Performing Arts Center that cost the same may be. I have some school and university clients I work with that for their funding have to justify a certain percentage of the use as academic use which may be difficult with a "theater" that could be perceived as being a dedicated performance space and precluding more general academic use compared to an "auditorium" that seems to lend itself to being perceived as, and may actually serve as, an academic space.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice