A Sanctuary for the Study of Healing through the Arts

Theatrical Engineering Notes

The Conference Center and the Cabaret Restaurant domes are designed to be capable of offering the full range of presentations from traditional, sacred ceremonies to live satellite broadcasts of highly theatrical performance extravaganzas. There are no other such spaces in the world. With a stage of 6,505 square feet, the Cabaret Restaurant will accommodate up to 400 people banquet style or up to 800 people theatre style. The Conference Center will accommodate up to 600 people banquet style or up to 1,200 people theatre style. The scale of the facilities is certainly expandable, however it is our experience that spaces of larger capacity begin to lose the intimacy that is necessary for a presentation to have its full impact. Presentations without a certain degree of interaction between the audience and performer become mere spectacle and content often becomes compromised. The following is a brief description of capabilities inherent in the spaces:


From subtle accentuation of the architecture to the creation of surreal, mysterious environments, proper lighting is a most essential design element for successful presentations. Using the latest in lighting technologies, combined with the multiplicity of recessed fixture locations that are inherent within the domes, the visions of the most creative artists become possible.


It has often been said that the best sound system is the one that the audience does not notice. These spaces have been designed to require no vocal reinforcement at all. The rooms are so acoustically “live” that even someone talking in a whisper will be audible to the last row of the house. For those moments, however, when live music or speech is not desired, when the source of the audio should be unknown, or for the playing of sound effects or background music, a full, five channel (plus sub-woofer channel), surround-sound audio system is available. Coincidentally, the recently announced international digital video disk audio standard is defined as providing for this exact configuration. The five main trusses of the structures were specifically designed as resonant chambers as a means of causing the entire structure, and thus the bodies of all attendees, to resonate harmonically. The transformational power of such capabilities is only beginning to be explored.


Designed solely of non-combustible materials and with powerful, yet silent, ventilation systems, these domes are ideal for elaborate and extensive indoor pyrotechnic displays. It is our experience that there is no more powerful way to activate the emotions of an audience than with carefully timed and synchronized explosives. Safety is always the primary consideration and these facilities are designed specifically with that safety in mind.


An enhanced form of lighting, projection as well is a very powerful tool. The clear polycarbonate glazing, transformed electronically to opaque surfaces (see “The Dome Technologies”) and flush with the structural trusses, becomes an empty canvas upon which the designer can project his imagination. Live video broadcasts, on-line, Internet graphics or elaborate, three-dimensional computer renderings and animations are just some of the types of images that could be projected to create a surrounding environment as either a primary focus or to enhance a live presentation or performance.


The facilities are designed to require little or no scenery for successful presentations as the surrounding views will often be the preferred backdrop. In those cases, however, where an alternate setting is desired, the space offers maximum flexibility. In the Cabaret Restaurant, for example, the entire stage floor is sectioned into platforms that can be raised, lowered or removed as desired.


From the subtle use of fragrances to swirling clouds of mists and fogs, atmospherics are the final element in the creation of a complete audience-based, surround-sensory experience.


The structures are designed to be the strongest possible. Capable of supporting a minimum of ten tons (9,072 kg) of equipment, the spaces become ideal for extreme acts of aerial acrobatics as well as moving scenery and staging. The value of a strong, versatile and reliable rigging system cannot be overstated.

From these brief descriptions we trust that a preliminary understanding of the possibilities inherent in these structures can become clear. Although the technical capabilities are immense, at no time has the primary focus of a human audience interacting with human presenters (and with the living planet surrounding us all) been compromised.



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