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.
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 presentations by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The CCPA’s commitment to customer service is outstanding, offering personalized ticketing and a courteous staff that caters to every detail. 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 space with 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.”