Interior Architecture (MSIA) Student Research | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

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Assessing Pittsburgh’s Theaters

Author: Samantha Sadock
Date: 2010
Program: Master of Science in Interior Architecture, Chatham University

The purpose of this study was to assess the design characteristics of the theaters of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. More specifically, the study looked at the theaters in the city's Cultural District and those considered to be in the city but not directly in the downtown area. It was intended that this evaluation would provide insight into how diverse Pittsburgh's Theaters are. Additionally, the study included an assessment of the attributes that attract patrons to the theater. With the collected information, it was anticipated to reveal the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth and improvement of Pittsburgh's theaters. To conduct this study, a content analysis was used to assess each venue. There were originally eighteen venues in total, which became fourteen after four were eliminated as they did not fit the profile of theater venues being theaters in the Pittsburgh Cultural District, and six in the surrounding vicinity. The survey looked at style, purpose, and age in addition to an area assessment including design programming characteristics. By comparing the features of these theaters, it was found that the theaters of the Pittsburgh Cultural District have more to offer patrons, such as accessible parking, dining, and a historical benefit. It was also discovered that throughout the city, a proscenium style stage was predominant. Theaters found in the cultural district had a greater seating capacity than those in the surrounding vicinity, yet the smaller venues were considered to have adaptable stages that can transform between proscenium and thrust stages.