Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Designed by Chicago’s Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture with the British theater consulting firm Charcoalblue, The Yard’s bleachers were a technical challenge for Show Canada. In fact, Charcoalblue gave us the mandate to finish the design and fabricate this complex structure while having a simple and easy to use operation system.

Each tower seats about fifty audience members on three gallery levels, tiered to maximize sightlines. Audiences access the gallery seating through a series of platforms and walkways from six sound and light locks, two on each level. To achieve a full 850-seat configuration, the Yard also features modular main-floor seating risers, with seats fabricated by Kirwin & Simpson in the United Kingdom.

To move the towers into a new configuration between productions, specially trained crew members insert air skids beneath each tower, and pressurize them to lift the towers a scant 3/8-inch off the ground. In this “floating” position, a three-person crew can move the towers.