Traditional Event Seating Arrangements


Making optimal use of your available space and positioning your audience to connect with speakers often requires choosing the best layout for your needs.

The Best Seating Arrangement for Your Event

Like many coordinators, you probably put a great deal of thought into the staging rentals for your Las Vegas event. After all, the stage is the focal point, but it’s also important to consider the positioning of your event seating. The right choice can make an event stage, and there are about a dozen traditional layouts to consider. The four most prevalent of those styles are theater, herringbone, u-shape and banquet.

Theater Layout

The theater layout for audience seating is among the simplest approaches. Seats are aligned into consecutive straight rows, and this grid helps us get as many seats as possible into the space available. Another advantage is that all of the seats are facing the stage directly. Audience members further back may experience reduced visibility, but that problem can be overcome using seating risers.

Herringbone Layout

The herringbone layout is similar to the theater or classroom style except that the rows are angled in toward the stage. In cases where the audience is large and there are many rows, theater layout is sometimes used for the central rows while herringbone is used for the outer rows. Any distance issues can be overcome with risers, but special consideration must be paid to aisles and seating access.

U-Shape Layout

The u-shape layout is often a highly effective choice when seating can be organized around the stage itself. The horseshoe layout is an alternative that’s similar in principle to u-shape but wraps the stage in a rounded rather than squared-off manner. Note that these approaches do require an experienced speaker who knows how to work all sides, but it provides excellent engagement opportunities for those that do.

Banquet Layout

Banquet or cabaret layouts are appropriate when food and/or drinks will be served or when the audience will take notes but you want to avoid the rigidness of a classroom format. An advantage of this approach is that audience members face each other and become engaged in that manner. Although not the focal point at all times, an effective speaker can use this interaction to his or her advantage. Great care does have to be taken to seating access, however.

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