Union City High School

Union City, NJ
RSC Architects

Union City High School features a 960 seat proscenium theatre and a 99 seat black box theatre. The great challenge in designing the proscenium theatre was limited height because the school’s football field covers the roof. There was no possibility of gaining height for a proper balcony or a stagehouse with a fly system. The resulting is a modified fan-shaped auditorium with a shallow slope to the orchestra seating, tiered parterre seating, and a shallow balcony with only a few rows of seats. Quality sightlines were preserved through careful sectional studies of floor and tier slope, stage height, and seat distance from stage. At the rear of the orchestra, wooden sound diffusing panels scatter sound to counter the focusing effect of the curved wall. Overhead, sound reflecting panels maintain the acoustics for the rear seating sections.

The stagehouse, with its limited height, is outfitted with a tension wire grid over the entire stage. The grid provides a safe walking surface while the grid hangers support hardware for flexible placement of lighting and sound, and hanging of drapery and scenery. Additional lighting positions in the house include two full stage width catwalks, one set of box booms, and a balcony rail. The theatre is equipped with 200 dimmers, a full set of stage lighting fixtures, and a full set of stage draperies.

The black box theatre has seating and staging platforms for four predetermined layouts - end stage, alley, thrust, and arena. There is an overhead pipe grid for lighting, sound, drapery and scenery. The theatre is equipped with 100 dimmers, a full set of stage lighting fixtures, and a full set of stage draperies.