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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Spaces used by community theatre groups in British Columbia Long, Gordon Arthur

Abstract

This thesis comprises a description and analysis of selected theatre spaces used by community theatre groups in British Columbia. Following preliminary research, sixteen examples were chosen from the approximately one hundred spaces used by these groups, as being a typical cross-section of the available facilities. These examples were surveyed by the author and, where possible, interviews were conducted with those people responsible for their design and/or operation. For purposes of analysis, theatre spaces were divided into five classifications: 1) found space, 2) conversion, 3) gymnasium box, 4) multi-purpose auditorium, and 5) buildings designed exclusively for theatrical production. In the final stage of investigation one example was chosen from each category for a more intensive survey. These five spaces were then analyzed as to their suitability for amateur production. The method used was comparison of the data was surveyed with criteria established by: 1) literature on theatre architecture, 2) professional theatre personnel, and 3) community theatre personnel who had worked in the sample building. It was possible to reach, from this research, some general conclusions regarding spaces used by community theatre groups. The general conclusion was that, in most cases, the spaces used were not suitable for theatrical production. This problem was attributed to a lack of funds and to a lack of theatrical knowledge on the part of designers of these spaces. A corresponding factor which was found to influence the quality of community theatre production was the improper use of the spaces available. Again the problem could be traced to lack of knowledge of alternatives. From the information gathered, it was possible to make general recommendations for those wishing to improve their theatre space or to construct a new building, and also for government agencies wishing to be of assistance to community theatre groups.

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