Last weekend was my first time conducting at the Kirkland Performance Center in Kirkland, Wa. I led a 14 piece orchestra for Lyric Light Opera of the Northwest production of Annie Get Your Gun. The show had previously run for three weeks at McIntyre Hall in Mount Vernon, WA – so the whole set was moved over to the Kirkland PAC. Visit the Kirkland Performance Center website for more info and technical specs.
Kirkland Performance Center has a very intimate feel. It seats 402 in 13 rows with a house rake of 3 feet horizontal to 1 foot vertical. Distance from back row to front of house is 40 feet.
The orchestra pit is mainly situated underneath the front of the stage. We had the lid down on the sides of the pit and I would conduct from a roughly 6×6 hole at the front of the stage. Took a little bit to get used to. I am six feet tall and my eyes just about matched the bottom of the stage – so watching the pit below and keeping track of stage action was quite a lot like wearing bi-focal glasses.
The downside with the limited room was that I didn’t get a panorama view of the orchestra and stage, so aesthetically was lacking a bit. But for functionality it worked fine. A couple spots I had to lean to one side to conduct certain groups like a couple male choruses that needed clear visual direction. And was a little awkward when actors were at the very front of the stage, because I was looking at their toes. My cues had to be very high, don’t know if it was distracting for the audience or not.
For any downside caused by the limited square footage, it was made up for by the control of the audio and the intimacy of the room. Because the orchestra was completely covered like in a sound booth, the audio engineer was able to have greater control over the final mix. It was also a lot of fun to be so close to the audience – I think myself and the cast really connected with the audience interaction,
Backstage was well equipped with four dressing rooms, ample rest rooms, a main “green room” and laundry facility. The sound system at Kirkland PAC was very good. Overall I enjoyed our run in Kirkland very much. A very nice concert hall that this Eastside community should be proud of.
The staff at the Kirkland Performance Center is very professional and friendly, well stocked refreshments available before show and at intermission, and the lobby is very classy and clean. Seats are comfortable. Only side aisles for seating, no center aisle.
I just read a blog posting by the Cowboy Junkies who said they loved their double header shows at the Kirkland Performance Center – it is well suited for both stage shows and band performances.
Our full orchestra at McIntyre Hall was 18 pieces, we downsized to 12 for the Kirkland run. I would roughly estimate the maximum number of players for this orchestra pit to be about 15 people, maybe a couple more if they don’t take up too much space, like clarinets or flute.
Outside front view of Kirkland PAC
Outside Ticke Booth
Outside billboard at Kirkland PAC
Three visitors peering into the pit conductor’s podium
View during show looking up from conductor’s podium
Inside front doors of theatre lobby
Looking down at stage at top entrance of theatre
Front of audience, standing peering into orchestra pit, sides closed
Bottom corner of theatre looking across theatre seating, seats 402
Curtains from conductor’s podium
Down in the orchestra pit
Part of the Annie Get Your Gun orchestra between shows at
TGIFriday’s, a couple blocks from theatre.
Orchestra pit dimensions: Width: 40