Many artists dream of performing in front of the biggest audiences they possibly can. Others prefer an intimate setting where they can interact with their patrons more closely and feed off their energy. Performance venues come in all shapes and sizes from the Pasadena Rose Bowl to a ny cabaret, but there are a few general guidelines about their basic types and functions.
A club is usually a bar or nightclub/dance club, though larger cities with thriving theater scenes may have cabarets where people can see shows while having drinks and light food. A club usually has a small stage or dance floor that can be used for performance and is great for stand-up comedy or monologues, solo, duo, or musical performances by a band or hip-hop artist.
Black-box theatres (named for their minimalist and utilitarian designs) usually seat under 100 people and are configured in the round or with a thrust stage setting for theatrical and musical performances. Many of these spaces house off-Broadway productions, experimental theatre, or one-man or woman shows.
Performance halls range greatly in size from a few hundred seats to a few thousand seats in the great early 20th century Orpheum theatres. These are the types of spaces most associated with Broadway productions, and the spaces that touring groups mount their shows in. They will typically have proscenium stages and large lobbies and backstage areas. They are also optimized for great acoustics and are a favorite of touring bands and singers for this reason.
The lucky upper echelon of superstar rock bands, pop groups, and singers perform in arenas and stadiums that can range from 5,000 to 75,000+ seats! In an arena show, you trade intimacy and acoustics for spectacle, often including video and lavish productions.
Now that you know a little more about types of performance spaces, set your sights for the stars and practice your way to the stage!