Theatre Style Seating

This is the simplest style, reflecting the seating found in a theatre or cinema with chairs aligned in consecutive straight rows. Positives: – All of the seats are facing forwards towards the front of the function room.

Theatre style seating, as the name implies, mimics the seating of a movie theatre. Chairs are placed in parallel straight rows with aisles between them. Attendees face forward toward the stage or main speaker. This seating arrangement is one of the easiest to set-up and therefore one of the most common.

For meetings where guest speakers or long presentations play a key role, theatre-style layouts are one of the most effective ways to keep attendees focused.

Therefore, many professionals use theatre style seating arrangements for their most important meetings. Not only are participants facing forward, making them less likely to talk amongst themselves, but the seating arrangement also allows everyone to see presentation materials easily.

There are a few disadvantages to using this seating arrangement. Narrow access in and out of seats is one of the biggest issues with theatre seating. Care must be taken to arrange the aisles and rows so that they are not too narrow. Additionally, non-digital notetaking is difficult due to the lack of tables or desks.


When To Use A Theatre-Style Seating Arrangement

When the purpose of your meeting is to capture your audience’s attention, using theatre style seating helps reach that goal.

Theatre style seating is used in a variety of venues and for meetings of all types. Because a theatre-style layout lacks tables, it is best suited for meetings that will not require extensive note-taking. This style of seating lends itself well to informational or promotional meetings.

The following types of meetings lend themselves well to a theatre-style meeting room setup:

  • Annual review meetings
  • Product launches
  • Team briefings
  • Presentations

Theatre style seating is also one of the most frequently used room layouts when trying to maximize space. Due to the lack of tables, there is more space available for attendees. Attendees can still easily use laptops or phones to take quick digital notes as well. Due to this, many meeting planners prefer theatre-style seating over classroom-style seating.


The Importance of Your Seating Layout

The seating layout of your meeting room sets the tone for the entire meeting. A cramped seating layout leaves attendees feeling uncomfortable and unfocused. A well-planned seating layout allows you to keep your attendees focused on the purpose of your meeting.

When planning your meeting, consider the purpose of your meeting before selecting a layout. For many traditional marketing or business meetings where attendee engagement will be limited, a theatre-style seating arrangement makes the most effective use of your space. In addition, this style of seating keeps attendees facing forward toward the presentation or speaker. These subtle benefits of this type of seating arrangement, when combined with the ease of setting it up, make it a popular first choice for many business meetings.