About Venus Cabaret Theater
Mercury Theater Chicago’s newest performance space, Venus Cabaret Theater, offers intimate theatrical experiences enhanced by theatrical lighting and AV theater design complemented by unique culinary masterpieces and specialty cocktails. All of your senses will be delighted at VENUS CABARET THEATER where theatrical lighting and stunning audiovisual complement the storytelling, music, dance, comedy and variety acts. Furthermore, the environment and entertainment pairs perfectly with their food and drink.
Venus Cabaret Theater (located next to Mercury Theater Chicago) celebrated its grand opening in April 2018 with an intimate and immersive inaugural production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company. This versatile, state-of-the-art performance space offers unique dining and intimate theatrical experiences, seating 80 people in a flexible theater/dining space.
The challenge in this theater design was making both a fully-modular theatrical blackbox space, as well as an efficient restaurant space. The AV also needed to be simultaneously flexible and hidden. This is challenging because in order for the room to be used in such a wide variety of different ways, the control systems needed to be highly streamlined for use by both restaurant staff and production staff alike.
We needed a system that was comprehensive enough to provide a full theatrical production but accessible enough for a restaurant manager to operate the lights for regular service. Everything from the house lighting to the video system needed to be able to be used in the day to day operation of a restaurant space and that day’s big shows.
With the equipment we provided ranging from the Meyer Sound PA, Shure and Yamaha hardware, Elation, ETC, CueServer lighting control and fixtures, AMX video distribution and control, and Ketra House lights, we were not short on high quality equipment within the space.
With the high caliber equipment in place there, the first real obstacle was tackling the user interfaces. We first developed tailored control surface settings and simplified power on/off procedures. This provided ease of access for all restaurant employees and production staff. We installed the AMX video distribution and control system for its versatility and ease of use. This allowed for far greater flexibility with video programming and utilization within the theater.
Beyond the ease-of-use, we also needed to focus on maximizing space in this theater design. For example, the (4) 75” TV’s hung along the walls are rotatable from portrait to landscape. This allows the space to change from watching the “big game” during the day to customized angles for theatrical productions.
In regards to theatrical lighting design, not satisfied with standard can or pendant lights, the LED fixtures in the ceiling can be individually controlled and changed. This full space lighting control allow theatrical lighting designers to fully immerse the audience in the show anywhere in the venue.
As a ground floor partner, involved from the very ideation of the space, we were able to fully guide our client to the final result. The earlier you can engage with SPL for your project, the better. Allowing us early access within the space setup can greatly effect the final available production quality. Things like room orientation, building material choices, even down to the orientation of our sun, all matter with theater design and when building your perfect AV solution.
Ultimately, we provided a seamless AV integration between the food service’s and theatrical production’s needs. To date, they have already hosted countless cabaret shows and provided top level food service without issue or alteration. Our vast theater design and theatrical lighting and AV production experience allowed us to implement a practical and creative solution to please all sides.
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Designing Your Perfect AV Setup
We were brought in at the beginning of this project to provide comprehensive theater design consultation from ideation to installation.
With our extensive theatrical lighting, production and restaurant AV system integration experience, it resulted in a perfect fusion between theater and restaurant.