So where do we think theatres will be in 20 years? Will seats continue to widen at the same pace? Will the American public still be getting bigger? We think that seat widths will stay about the same, or perhaps even get smaller. This may sound optimistic, especially with what we’ve presented here, but we’re hopeful that two other trends will make smaller theatres a reality.
The first is the growing movement to educate the public about healthy diet and the importance of exercise; let’s call it America’s fight against obesity. The second is society’s growing awareness of the importance of sustainability, both environmental and economic. Larger theatres use more materials when they are built and cost more to construct and operate. The imperative to create sustainable and efficient theatres will eventually counter the current desire for more room.And of course, we have our own reasons for seeing the future a little smaller. Theatre is about communication between the performer and the audience, and between members of the audience. It’s important that the audience be close to the artist, and aware of each other. In the theatre, smaller is almost always better.