Strategically located in the Los Angeles basin, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA) took the performing arts world by storm in 1993 with the opening of the world's most innovative theater. Known as the "City of Dairy Valley" from 1956 to 1967 and home to the world's largest auto mall, few suspected that the City of Cerritos would be responsible for producing a theater of international acclaim. In three short years, the CCPA has become the City's icon and for the past three seasons, has been ranked among the top theaters in the nation.
What is the secret behind the success of the CCPA? What makes it so attractive to artists and audiences alike? The lineup of performers is among the best, featuring the highest caliber of entertainers from music, dance and theater - from the inaugural performances by Frank Sinatra to the command performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company for His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales. The CCPA's commitment to customer service is outstanding, offering personalized ticketing and a courteous staff that caters to every detail. The CCPA is centrally located, drawing audiences from Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Inland Empire. These facts alone could be why the CCPA has been ranked the No. One venue in California since its opening. But there is something far more unique about the CCPA that has made it a magnet for success: The CCPA is the most flexible theater in the world.
The foremost experts in the field of theater design, Theatre Projects Consultants teamed with award-winning architect Barton Myers to create a facility like no other. The result was an innovative concept: one theater spacewith moveable components that could be arranged into six different theater configurations.
Inside the 6,000-square-foot auditorium are the basic elements required for a theater: a stage, floor, ceiling and seats. But this is where any similarities to other theaters end. The CCPA is a designer's dream, where all the pieces can be rearranged to create a number of different configurations. While balcony seating remains fixed, floor seating is adjustable on wagons with air casters, enabling them to be raised, lowered, or even removed. The stage can be transformed into various sizes either manually or by electronic controls. The towers, which hold the CCPA's distinctive box seating, are also equipped with air casters and can be angled to face the stage in any one of a number of positions. One of these towers is the 300,000-pound rear tower, which holds the boxes located behind the stage. This massive seating tower can be pushed out for In-the-Round and Concert seating or hidden behind the stage for the Lyric configuration.
The CCPA's moveable components are not just limited to items that can be shifted on the floor. Three ceiling panels hovering overhead can be deployed to create the appropriate acoustical environment. This is accomplished by use of a 27,000-pound ceiling panel called the "flipper" that adjusts to various positions.
One may think that rearranging the theater would take weeks. Surprisingly, as massive as these pieces are, the Cerritos team is able to move from one seating configuration to another in eight or fewer hours.
The six basic configurations (Arena, Concert, Lyric, Cabaret, Recital, and Sierra Cabaret), enable the CCPA to provide the ideal theater setting, audience sight lines, and sound quality for each performance. This offers audiences a new experience with every visit.
The theater isn't the only state-of-the-art element in the CCPA. The Sierra Room, the larger of two conference rooms, is equally flexible. Equipped with a technologically advanced grid system, moveable partitions, hidden retractable seating, and audio-visual equipment, the room is ideal for meetings, banquets and smaller performances.
A center as innovative as the CCPA is bound to be recognized for its technological achievements. In 1994, the CCPA received the United States Institute of Theater Technology's (USITT) highest honor, hailing the theater as "the most sophisticated project we've seen in terms of architecture, technology and urban design." Performance Magazine also acknowledged the CCPA's accomplishments, naming it the No. One theater in California (under 3,000 seats) for the third consecutive year.
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