Stage Types – Thrust
Greek Amphitheatre

Greek Amphitheatre

Hang on… that’s a photo of a Greek Amphitheatre! Yes… it’s the amphitheatre at Hierapolis in Turkey (part of Greece in ancient history) and it’s also a thrust theatre.

The Thrust configuration is the oldest known fixed type of staging in the world, and it is thousands of years old!

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Thrust Stage – Basic Configuration


Thrust Theatre Groundplan

Thrust Theatre Groundplan

As you can see the basic shape of a modern thrust is not too different to the ancient Greek. Thrust staging gives a good all-round and closer view of the action, however this better view also comes at a cost – large scenic elements can only be placed at the rear of the stage.

Thrust Stage with Proscenium Arch

Thrust Stage with Proscenium Arc

Thrust Stage with Proscenium Arc

However there are ways around the sight-line problems a thrust stage offers – in the 1960s and 70s new thrust theatre buildings started to incorporate a shallow proscenium style recess in the back wall. This enabled designers to include scenic effects such as large scale flying and larger structures in designs.
This Hybrid Thrust-Proscenium has also been approached from the opposite direction with many traditional Proscenium Arch theatres building Aprons that thrust out into the auditorium.

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