Having a school become theater or media room ready is something that students must anticipate. Just imagine all the school plays and musicals that will be held in that huge room! Theaters bring about student’s love for drama and the arts so this is a room that must have ample space allocation.
But where would you begin? There are just so many variables to think of when putting up a theater for school use. There could both be technical and financial aspects that need to be addressed. For instance, simple home theaters can cost as much as $1,000 to $25,000 USD depending on the equipment used. With this budget given for mere home use, how much more would be required of a bigger theater, right?
There are literally hundreds of options when it comes to theater speakers and other equipment. Don’t lose hope, though, you can still maximize your theater or media room experience even when you have a limited budget.
Here are the things that you need to prepare –
You have to know where the school theater will be situated. This should be away from the sports’ arena as noise could seep through especially when acoustics is not properly addressed.
Consider also the room shape. Keep in mind that square rooms have a tendency to produce harmonic distortions. As for the windows, the rule of thumb is to have as few as possible. Windows are hard surfaces that can only reflect sound; hence, the students will hear audio distortions. Windows also admit light into the room, which means the viewers will find it hard to concentrate on the play or musical that is being staged. Heavy shades and curtains can help; you can just close them once the play has commenced.
If you have to, it is better to opt for blackout style window treatments. These can effectively seal the area from stray light.
When it comes to the walls, do not be tempted to have the construction workers staple egg cartons all over them. While these inverted egg cartons do muffle sound, regular drywall is more than sufficient. Just make sure to break up flat surfaces with drapes or seats; never add any artwork framed in glass; this can reflect both light and sound and the spectators are sure to complain.
Ask for acoustic wall panels since these have effective sound absorbing properties. Echoes can be prevented if you use these simple panels. If you do not know how or where to install them, ask an interior designer.
As for the flooring, be sure to invest in carpet tiles. This is the best option for budget-conscious school personnel. There are now peel-and-stick carpet tiles that can be bought for as little as $2 to $4 per tile.
If the school has more budget, then wall-to-wall carpeting will always be a better option. These carpets now come with cushy pads beneath them, hence, they can absorb ambient sound while contributing to the overall hominess of the place. Students can even sprawl on the floor if the seats become limited.
Of course, the theater color should be as dark as possible. Bright or bold colors can only reflect light and this can cause distractions once the stage plays begin. Say no to semi-gloss sheen or gloss paint. Choose flat paint or eggshell paint instead so that there will be zero reflections. Opt for tans, browns and olive. Red, blue and other strong colors will only affect ambient light so steer clear of them.
Invite theater directors, architects and designers over to the school so that they can give necessary advice prior to beginning the project. Allow these experts to concoct their ideas while you sit down and choose the elements that you can work with.