The development of Cherry Hill Village in the heart of Canton, MI is planned to be the largest traditional neighborhood community in the Midwest. As of September 11, 2004, the community has its own cultural center thanks to the opening of the Village Theater at Cherry Hill, a performing arts center that will be home to diverse local arts groups, such as community theater and chamber orchestra. Kirkegaard Associates designed the acoustics of the theatre space to support a wide range of functions through the use of variable acoustical elements.
The fundamental shape of the theatre is defined by the curved geometry of the side walls that support both speech and music. Curtains on two areas of the upper side provide sound absorption to vary the reverberation time and control loudness; this allows the theater acoustics to be varied to support both amplified and non-amplified performances. The forestage reflectors provide communication from pit to stage and also project sound from the stage into the audience. An orchestra shell was designed and will be incorporated into the project at a later stage.
Sound amplification is provided by a Left-Center-Right loudspeaker system, which is architecturally integrated into the proscenium arch. Front-infill loudspeakers mounted under the forward edge of the stage provide clarity for audience members in the front rows. The sound mixing position is a "porch" located at the rear of the theatre with clear visibility to the stage to optimize live-mixing of amplified performances. The audio and video systems for the theatre include a full range of monitor/page, intercom, network, audio and video distribution and recording, and video projection capabilities. The auditorium systems are also connected to a dedicated video editing and recording suite.
The facility also houses a multipurpose rehearsal room for music, theatre, and dance groups. Similar to the theatre, the rehearsal room has been designed with moveable acoustic curtains to vary liveness and control loudness in the space. The room may also be used for intimate performances, receptions and meetings. Performer support spaces and a classroom comprise the other major spaces in the complex.
Kirkegaard’s team for the Village Theater at Cherry Hill consists of Dawn Schuette, lead acoustician; Anthony Shou, project manager; Eric Rosenberg, mechanical noise and vibration control consultant; and Jonathan Darling for audio and video systems design. Together with architects TMP Associates from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and theatre consultants Jerit/Boys from Chicago, the design team comprises an experienced group of people who have worked together on a number of projects in Michigan, including the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, Lake Superior State University Fine and Performing Arts Center, and the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.