The Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater came to Navy Pier in 1999 after performing at the Ruth Page Theater since 1986. Since then they have offered over 650 performances that are available year-round. They engage and cater to local students and guests from around the world. Last year they unveiled The Yard in which we, High Rise Security Systems, had the pleasure of being a part of. It is a state-of-the art theater unlike any other. It can hold up to 850 guests and has three story tall seating towers which are totally flaccid. The seating towers can be transformed into whatever the performance calls for. This is unique because no matter the configuration of seating, the fire alarm system can supervise and provide emergency communication in any configuration.
While working on this project, four elements of fire protection and notification came into consideration:
- Optimizing reliable fire protection requirements without causing false alarm signals, especially with the use of theatrical smoke during performances.
- Maintaining proper heating and cooling of 10-ton HVAC units without shutting down HVAC fans during performances.
- Supervising the position of three story seating towers for proper sprinkler fire protection connections when the towers were being repositioned.
- Providing direct line of sight of ADA strobes without interfering with show props based on selected seating positions.
In summary, both the City of Chicago, ADA, NFPA, and the Shakespeare Theater’s needs were met to everyone’s satisfaction. As it has been said, “The show must go on!”