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MCA Stage Technical Specifications

The Edlis Neeson Theater is a multi-use facility for performance art, theatre, dance, music, film, video, and educational events. The theater has 296 stadium-style seats. The stage is a proscenium layout.

Seating from stage

Photo: Michael David Rose, © MCA Chicago


Photo © MCA Chicago

Stage left

Photo © MCA Chicago

Grid and stage left

Photo © MCA Chicago

Stage right

Photo © MCA Chicago

Grid and stage right

Photo © MCA Chicago

Upper stage wall from stage left

Photo © MCA Chicago

Grid and catwalks

Photo © MCA Chicago


Stage dimensions

  • Width of opening: 52’ (15.8 m)
  • Total depth: 34’ (10.3 m)

Wing space (each side): 13’ (3.9 m)

Stage height is 36” above the floor level of the first row of seating. The house is raked at 12 degrees.

The clear height from the stage floor to catwalks is:
Height to grid: 26.5’ (8 m)
Height to underneath of catwalk: 22’ (6.7 m)

There is no fly space or flying pipes, but scenery or pipes can be rigged to fly on a per show basis with consultation of our theater manager. The back and side walls are concrete cinder block, painted black. There are double-wide stage doors on the back wall offstage left and right.

The stage floor is a black sprung wood, which can be covered with black, gray, or white marley.

Load-in dimensions

Freight Elevator
10’ wide x 17’ long x 16’ high (3 m wide x 5 m long x 4.8 m high)
Smallest opening
6’6” wide x 10’ tall with doors on sill (1.9 m wide x 3 m tall with doors on sill)

Soft Goods


There are three full-stage curtains and two sets of legs; the curtains are front/downstage, intermediate, and back/upstage. All curtains are a heavy black velour material, and are on travelers.

The curtains and legs, when fully open, compress to about 5’ wide on each side.

There is a cyclorama hung against the back wall. You may also use either a black or white scrim. There are two additional #1400 I-beam type tracks for the scrims or light scenery.

See the ground plan for the typical configuration of soft goods.

Spare Borders

Quantity Size
1 2’ x 50’
1 4’ x 50’
3 6’ x 50’
1 4’ x 36’

Spare Legs

Quantity Size
2 8’ x 20’6”
1 8’ x 20’

Seating and sightlines

The facility provides seating for 296 persons and is wheelchair-accessible. The seating upholstery is black with light padding. The house is laid out in 14 rows with two side aisles and no center aisle. The rake of the house is fairly steep, placing one row per level. The stage floor is 36” above the floor of the first row of seating—for persons of average height seated in the first row, the stage floor is at chest height. The audience floor is concrete with a clear sealcoat. The audience walls are wood paneling, with adjustable acoustic panels.

View of stage from last row

Photo © MCA Chicago

View of movie screen from back of house

rows of theater seats viewed from aisle

The theater provides spacious and comfortable rows of seating.

MCA Chicago

View of box booms and downstage edge from house-left

Photo © MCA Chicago

View of stage from mid-house right

Photo © MCA Chicago

There are four catwalks and a pipe grid for hanging positions. The grid and two catwalks are above the stage; the other two catwalks are above the house. There are also 8 booms at 12’ each. The light board is an ETC Element 40. The theater has 206 dimmers at 2.4 kw, and 6 dimmers at 6 kw. The theater is also equipped with a service panel that is rated at 400 amps 3 phase. Equipped with Cam locks standard theatre style.

Quantity Type
154 Source Four Bodies 575 w
4 Source Four Caps 750 w
17 50° S4 Barrels
56 36° S4 Barrels
51 26° S4 Barrels
30 19° S4 Barrels
10 10° S4 Barrels
4 5° S4 Barrels
20 S4 Par-575 w
39 Par 64 (can lamp all with wide or MFL), 1 kw (also have 20 NSP 1 kw, and 10 VNSP 1 kw)
38 8” Fresnels, 1 kw
2 5 kw Fresnels (Altman 5000L)
8 Strand Iris 3 cell/3 circ cyc units, 1 kw/ea circ (note frame size: 12” x 15.75”)
36 Par 16 wide (birdies)
8 Pin spots
  • ETC Element 40/250 Channels
  • ETC Expression 3/800 Channels
Quantity Type
216 Dimmers @ 2.4kw
6 Dimmers @ 6kw
4 Leprecon ULD360DMX


The acoustics of the room are relatively live and fairly even.

Mix Position: Sound is controlled either from an enclosed booth at the back of the house, or from a table in the last row.

Patch bays for microphones and audio/video are downstage center and offstage left.

A 13" Macbook Pro with Qlab is available for playback.

A Steinway Model M 6’ grand piano is available. Contact the theater staff to arrange for tuning.

The following equipment is available on an ongoing basis:

L / R CLUSTER - 2 chnl bi-amplified for moderate level playback.

The stage left and right cluster consist of (1) 15” woofer and (2) stacked and splayed 60 x 40 and 90 x 40 degree Optimized Aperture Mid-sized Bi-Radial horns per side.

See additional equipment below.

Quantity Type
1 Shure SCM810 8-ch mic mixer
1 Soundcraft MPM 12/2
Quantity Type
4 Shure UR2/Beta 87 Handheld
3 Shure ULX/SM58 Handheld
6 Shure UR1 Bodypack
2 Shure UR1M Bodypack
1 Shure ULX Bodypack
Quantity Type
1 8 ch. Shure UR4D
1 4 ch. Shure ULXS4
Quantity Type
2 Shure WL184/185 lavalier
3 Shure WL50 lavalier
2 Countryman B3 lavalier
2 Shure WL93 lavalier
2 DPA 4066 headworn
4 Shure WH10 headworn
1 Shure WCM16 headworn
Quantity Type
8 Shure SM58
9 Shure Beta 87
11 Shure SM81
1 Shure SM57
6 Shure SM98/Beta 98 with horn and drum mounts
2 Shure VP88
6 Shure Beta 56
1 Shure Beta 52
3 Audio Technica PRO 45
3 Crown PCC 160
1 Shure Microflex MX418D/C on podium
8+ Direct box (various)
Quantity Type
1 Base station
1 Rackmount sub station
7 Wired belt packs
4 Wireless belt packs
9 Headsets
Quantity Type
MIXER Avid S3L or Yamaha DM1000
MONITORS 12” coax biamp wedges, EAW JF 260, Apogee SSL

Additional mixing and PA equipment is an internal rental, subject to fees and availability.


The motorized projection screen provides a projection surface of 30’ wide and 23’ high. The screen is located at an intermediate stage depth, so that good sightlines are available from front row seats.

Masking is provided for various aspect ratios.

The projection equipment consists of:

Quantity Type
GENERAL PURPOSE Projection Design WUXGA 10k lumen 1920x1200 Standard lens 1.7-2.8:1; Short Throw .8:1
DIGITAL CINEMA NEC NC 2000C 2048x1080 18k lumen
PLAYBACK 13" Macbook Pro (shared with audio) or AJA KiPro Rack
FILM 2 Simplex projectors (35 mm), 1 Eastman projector (16 mm)


Quantity Type
21 Music stands
13 Music stand lights
8 Littlites


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