LETTER: Improve view from the stalls

Further to Professor Pick’s excellent letter [Herald, April 15], the part of the Congress that needs redesigning and reconstruction is the stalls.

The Congress architect had obviously not studied theatre design thoroughly enough. In order for each member of the audience in the stalls to have an adequate view of the action on the stage the floor of the stalls needs to be raked, or sloped, consistently from front to back of the stalls area.

The front stalls at the Congress are either not raked at all or raked insufficiently, so that the view of the stage is impeded by the people sitting in front. Each child sitting in the front stalls has to be issued with what appears to be a large washing-up bowl which the child then places upside down on the seat in order to provide a view of the stage. The best view of the stage is from the rear stalls which are raked like a cliff face. Where did the architect learn his craft?

Regarding orchestral concerts – incidentally, Professor Pick, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, not the LSO – while the Congress is the only venue capable of accommodating an orchestra it is acoustically unaccommodating because it is a theatre. Some if not much of the musical sound travels up into the fly-tower and sideways into the wings, so ‘fortissimo’ sounds more like ‘mezzo-forte’, and one needs the hearing of a dog in order to appreciate ‘pianissimo’.

How about the £2m given to Eastbourne by the Prime Minister going towards new stalls for the Congress and a properly designed concert hall?

Arnold Beck

Fairlight Close, Polegate

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