Theatre Consultants Collaborative

Connecting art with architecture.

The next time you walk into a theater or concert hall, take a moment to think about the space around you: the way the lights come up and dim, the way sound carries or doesn’t. Theatre Consultants Collaborative, or TCC, uses iPad to design and build performing arts spaces around the world. The group helps clients establish engineering specifications, plan infrastructure, and arrange interiors to accommodate lighting and sound systems, sight lines, stage rigging, and specialty equipment.

One of our priorities on every project is to connect the architecture and the art that will be performed in a space, with the audience,” says Josh Allen, principal consultant. “iPad helps us do that.”

Sharing ideas

iPad has become an important part of TCC’s daily operations. “Collaboration is how we work internally, and also what we do every day with our clients,” explains Curtis Kasefang, principal consultant. “We collaborate with a larger group to find the appropriate solution for the problem in front of us.” Depending on the project, that group may include anyone from engineers to musicians.

In meetings, TCC consultants can pull up information on iPad — documents, budgets, or architectural drawings — and hand the device around the room. “The physical size of the screen is a sweet spot between being very portable and light and yet big enough to allow you to see what you need,” says Kasefang.

For example, the group recently worked on a 100-year-old theater restoration. At an early meeting, the client brought out a set of original blueprints that were literally falling apart. “iPad came to the rescue,” says Allen. “We were able to stand over the documents, take photos on iPad, pull those into Adobe Ideas, and literally mark up our ideas on top of the photos.” Meeting participants each took a turn sketching suggestions, and once everyone had contributed, TCC found the common ground.

iPad even facilitates collaboration across the miles. The GoToMeeting app allows multiple conference call participants to see presentations and other documents on one person’s computer desktop, making notes and corrections as they discuss together. “GoToMeeting on iPad allows me to do the same thing I’m used to doing on my desktop, whether I’m standing on stage in a theater, or sitting in an airport trying to make use of some downtime,” says Kasefang.

Traveling light

TCC consultants travel a lot — sometimes to several cities in one week. iPad helps them carry less equipment and paper everywhere they go. Architectural drawings, the primary tool of TCC’s trade, are generally printed on 36-by-48-inch paper, and a set for a big performance space may have as many as 200 pages. “They’re almost impossible to drag around with you on the road,” says Kasefang. With iPad, the paper stays home.

In the office, TCC consultants regularly use AutoCAD, design software that architects and engineers use, to design spaces, to look at drawings, and mark them up and make changes. AutoCAD WS, a mobile version of the software, makes it possible to do all these same things using iPad. “AutoCAD WS allows us to take drawings — just like we would on a desktop — and work directly on iPad,” says Allen. “It’s very easy to open AutoCAD WS, plug iPad into a projector in a conference room, and actually view drawings with the design team, and make changes on the fly,” he says. Kasefang agrees. “Having drawings in electronic form wherever I go makes it much easier to do my job,” he says.

iPad also fills in for specialized equipment. The AudioTools application helps TCC analyze the sound frequencies of an environment, identifying any noise interferences that could disrupt a performance — and where they’re coming from. “Using iPad with AudioTools, we’ve been using only the native microphone on iPad when we’re onsite. We get an appropriate level of information without having to juggle lots of parts,” says Kasefang. “Lately, I’ve been leaving my sound rig at home.”

Anywhere and everywhere

“We find ourselves using iPad anywhere and everywhere in the theater,” says Allen. “From the control booth talking with a technician, to up on the catwalk testing a circuit, to climbing in tight spaces and on ladders, there are just so many things that iPad allows us to do in the theater and on a construction site.”

“One of the wonderful things about using iPad is that it’s been sort of an accumulation of great moments,” says Kasefang. “Having my files appear in multiple devices, knowing it’s all backed up, discovering that I could use inexpensive applications to record some very complicated information. It’s almost magic in the fact that it’s so thin and so light and gives me everything I need.”

Company Snapshot

  • Founded in 2003
  • Offices in New York, North Carolina, Toronto, Los Angeles
  • www.theatrecc.com

“iPad saves me an enormous amount of time and gives me a real sense of organization and peace of mind.”

Josh Allen, Principal Consultant,
Theatre Consultants Collaborative


“It’s very easy to open AutoCAD WS, plug iPad into a projector in a conference room, actually view drawings with the design team, and make changes on the fly.”

Josh Allen, Principal Consultant,
Theatre Consultants Collaborative

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