Types of Theater Seats

Written by heather lacey
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Types of Theater Seats
Most theatres have several seating sections. (theatre image by Luisafer from Fotolia.com)

Enjoyment of a theatrical event can depend on perspective, and theatres take this into account. Most theatres are built so every seat faces the stage, and seats are tiered to allow attendees to have a clean view of the stage, even when seated behind rows of people. There are several types of theatre seating sections, and each has its benefits.

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Orchestra seating is floor-level theatre seating, named because of its proximity to the orchestra pit. This section includes the seats closest to the stage. Some theatres also feature pit seating, which is on an area over the orchestra pit at the base of the stage. Pit seating can be permanent or temporary, depending on the theatre. Dress circle seating is available in some theatres and features a raised section of seating at the back of the orchestra section.


Mezzanine seating includes the first-level balcony seats. The first few rows of mezzanine often overhang the back rows of orchestra seating. The word "mezzanine" is French, but based on the Italian "mezzano," meaning "middle." This name is appropriate because theatres often have more than one balcony, and the mezzanine section hovers between the orchestra section and upper balcony seating.


Loge seating in a theatre refers to box seats. The word "loge" comes from a French word meaning "lodge" or "enclosed area." This seating may be the front section of the mezzanine or small, independent balconies that overhang the sides of orchestra rows. Loge seats are generally considered the best seats in the house, and are often reserved for season ticket holders. These box seats are more private and may have a special entrance or food and beverage service. Large theatres have upper and lower loge seating, and the upper loge is generally located above the lower loge section.


Balcony theatre seating includes seats in the upper balconies. This area overhangs the mezzanine and is farthest from the stage. Due to the vertical height of this seating area, it is often nicknamed nosebleed seating, as a reference to nosebleeds cause by high altitude. Because the distance from seat to stage is great, balcony seating is usually the most inexpensive seating option.

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