The University of Southern Indiana’s 300-seat teaching theater is a thrust stage, with the audience wrapping 180-degrees around the performers. Acentech provided acoustics consulting for room acoustics, sound isolation, and mechanical systems noise control for the theater, lobby, dressing rooms, green room, box office and offices. Acentech also provided audiovisual systems design consulting, including sound system design, the overall production communication system, as well as video monitors and projectors that are routed all around the theater.
The main challenge of a thrust theater is to provide clear, intelligible sound to the entire audience, even though the actor will invariably be facing away from some portion of the audience much of the time. Sound-absorbing and sound-reflecting materials were carefully located in the room to control reverberation for maximal speech intelligibility, and to redirect sound to the audience. The location, extent, and specification of the sound reflectors and sound-absorbing surfaces is critical to this; these were designed in careful coordination with an extensive lighting catwalk scheme and other features. Interestingly, some of the acoustical reflectors are made from car parts which were manufactured at a local Toyota factory.
In addition, noise control was a critical concern; the project features double-walls between the mechanical room and the stage, an under-floor supply air scheme designed to deliver air noiselessly, careful noise and vibration control measures, and other features.