Auerbach Pollock Friedlander has completed work on the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona. The Center is a new 212,755 sq. ft. performing and visual arts complex with four performance venues: the 1,582-seat Ikeda Theatre, the 553-seat Repertory Theatre, the 200-seat Playhouse, and the 150-seat Studio Theatre. In collaboration with DWL Architects + Planners and BOORA Architects, Inc., Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre consulting services for the facilities and systems that support them.

In each space, ETC Sensor dimmer racks are used, and an ETC Unison architectural processor controls house lighting. A complete ETCnet DMX over ethernet system is also installed for each theatre, as well as a full complement of theatrical lighting fixtures.

For the Ikeda, the Repertory, and the Playhouse, structural systems were designed for scenic loading over the stage and audience. Electrical systems are designed to support touring company needs with a variety of switches and equipment power distributed throughout the theatre. K-rated transformers were installed for lighting and audio power in these three spaces, and working areas over the stages and audience were equipped to support motorized spot winches.

TOM AND JANET IKEDA THEATRE

The Ikeda Theatre is a performance space for a wide variety of touring productions including symphony orchestra, dance, musical theatre, drama, film, and lecture in proscenium seating configuration. Lighting positions, control booths, and technical support are seamlessly integrated into the architecture of the room. A computer controlled motorized variable acoustic system fine tunes the audience chamber for the specific acoustic requirements of the various types of events.

The orchestra enclosure includes an overhead canopy including integral concert lighting and a motorized proscenium reflector. Manually configured shell towers may be set up in various configurations to meet the needs of different orchestral configurations. An orchestra pit lift supports audience seating, pit orchestras, or stage extension.

The fly tower has a grid height of 92’ above the stage floor. A fly gallery is located 24’ above the stage floor, and there are two loading galleries at 76’ and 84’ above the stage floor.

Fifty-five general-purpose counterweight linesets have 72’ battens using seven lift lines each with a load compensating system for smooth operation. A network of front of house catwalks allows technicians access to lighting and forestage rigging positions over the auditorium. A full complement of stage draperies is included in the base systems package. A full stage gridiron has a load-bearing floor for flexible point-load rigging at any point over the stage.

Seven racks of ETC Sensor dimmers are installed. Dimmer racks include 564 20A performance lighting dimmers, 10 50A performance lighting dimmers, and 49 20A high-rise time house light dimmers. Forty-five Ethernet network taps are installed throughout the theatre. An ETC Obsession II dual processor system is provided with a designer’s remote console.

A wide variety of computer controlled motorized electro-mechanical devices deploy and store over 12,000 sq. ft. of acoustically absorptive draperies for acoustic tuning of the hall to the specific needs of each performance type. Pushbutton control makes this operation easy and economical for a single technician to achieve.

A push-chain orchestra pit lift enables rapid changeover from musical, drama, or concert setup via the forestage area. The lift stops at stage level, house seating level, orchestra pit level, and chair wagon storage level where 64 seats on three tracked seating platforms are stored. Controls for the orchestra pit are located in the production control panel on-stage and via a hardwired umbilicus, which plugs into a floor pocket on the lift. Safety features include dead-man pushbuttons for lift controls, door and railing interlocks, as well as astragal pressure tape switches at all shear points.

VIRGINIA G. PIPER REPERTORY THEATRE

The Repertory Theatre has a proscenium opening of 40’x24’ and is designed for local and touring drama, dance, film, lectures, and modest musical performances. The orchestra pit lift adds flexibility, playing in several positions including orchestra pit level, audience seating level, and stage level.

The fly tower here has a grid height of 56’ above the stage floor. A fly gallery is located 24’8” above the stage floor, and there are two loading galleries at 43’ and 51’ above the stage floor. Fifty general-purpose counterweight linesets are installed with 56’ battens using six lift lines each.

Theatrical lighting control and distribution includes three full racks and one half rack of ETC Sensor dimmers. Dimmer racks include 286 20A performance lighting dimmers, 2 50A performance lighting dimmers, 13 20A house light dimmers. Thirty-seven Ethernet network taps are installed throughout the theatre. An ETC Expression Emphasis Series console is provided along with an Emphasis server and 3Dvisualization software.

A push-chain orchestra pit lift is similar to the one in The Ikeda Theatre. The lift here also stops at stage level, house seating level, orchestra pit level, and chair wagon storage level where 33 seats on shoes and stretchers are stored. Safety features include dead-man pushbuttons for lift controls, safety interlocks, and astragal pressure tape switches at all shear points.

NESBITT/ELLIOTT PLAYHOUSE

This space is primarily for drama, musical theatre, children’s theatre, and lectures, as well as the resident space for “Stageworks at Mesa Arts Center.” With a proscenium opening of 30’x18’, the audience chamber features steep tiered seating for children’s sightlines over adult heads.

The pro-proscenium zone is configured flexibly to allow scenic elements to extend beyond the arch into the audience environment. The fly tower has a grid height of 51' above the stage floor. A fly gallery is located 23’ above the stage floor and the loading gallery is at 42’-6”’ above the stage floor. Thirty-seven general-purpose counterweight linesets are installed with 44’ battens using five lift lines each.

The lighting and control system includes two racks of ETC Sensor dimmers. Dimmer racks include 180 20A performance lighting dimmers, one 50A house light dimmer, eight 20A high rise time house light dimmers. An ETC Unison architectural processor controls house lighting in the Playhouse Theatre and the Signature Theatre. Twenty-three Ethernet network taps are installed throughout the theatre. An ETC Expression Emphasis Series console is provided complete with an Emphasis server and 3Dvisualization software.

ANITA COX FARNSWORTH STUDIO THEATRE

This studio "black box" incubator theatre is designed as a flexible, multifunction space for various uses including drama, receptions, rehearsals, and classroom functions. The space includes masking legs and borders, cyclorama on a curtain track, and black backdrop. Walls include lattice of channel for attachment of scenic elements.

Rigging features a pipe and uni-strut grid dead-hung 16’ above stage floor. Dimming and control includes one full rack and one half-rack of ETC Sensor dimmers. Dimmer racks include 132 20A performance lighting dimmers and five 20A high-rise time house light dimmers.

A portable seating and riser system for various audience configurations including: endstage, thrust, two sides, and arena.

PROJECT TEAM

Theatre Consultants: Auerbach Pollock Friedlander (Steve Pollock, ASTC, principal in charge, principal designer; Michael McMackin, ASTC, principal and project manager; Kent Conrad

Prime A/E: DWL Architects + Planners - Jeremy Jones

Architect: BOORA Architects - Michael Tingley

Structural: Paragon Structural Design - Kurt Kinderman

Mechanical: Lowry Sorenson Wilcoxson - Paul Sorenson

Electrical: Lowry Sorenson Wilcoxson - Lance Jones

Civil: CMX Group - Don Dillon

Acoustician: McKay Conant Brook - Dave Conant