The Royal Theatre will hold the Glass Court that is the centre of the Championships
The Royal Theatre seats 1,700 people in permanent, theatre-style tiered seating. It can hold over 2,000 if the flat floor around the court is also used for seating. For the first time in Australia, we believe we can cater in style for the pent up demand to be able to see World Class squash.
With the lights turned down low in the Arena and the all-glass court lit brilliantly in the centre of the floor, the atmosphere is electric. When players walk out onto the court and the first 'thunk - thunk' of the hit up with the dazzling white ball begins, you will truly realise that you are in a championship arena. From the furthest seats in the far top corners of the Arena, you can clearly see the elegant strokes and speed of the ball. The anticipation and excitement begins as the Arena falls to a hush. The referee's call of 'Play' focuses the attention.
The first few rallies are greeted with polite applause. This builds as the game gets closer to the 11 points. A dead nick - and the Arena erupts to calls of "Hoo-yeah...'. By the time we get to the last and crucial game in the match, the spectators are cheeting and applauding every desperate retreival or brilliant attacking shot. The cries of 'hoo-yeah...' are coming thick and fast. Thunderous applause and cheering great the winner after match point and we all rise as one from our seats to show appreciation for a great match - applauding until our hands start to hurt.
Don't miss this chance.
The Glass Court
The court we use has 42 large glass panels held by brackets so that no panel touches any other panel - or the glass will chip and break. It takes between one and a half and three days to assemble the court. Each panel weighs about 85 kilograms and has to be lifted into place using scaffolding and scissor lifts. The floor is like a normal squash court floor, only more portable and lighter. It probably has a life of only a few years in an exhibition court.
Each glass panel produces a one-way vision effect. On the inside surface of the panel there are a series or screen of light coloured dots baked onto the glass. This provides not only a friction surface for the ball, but under stong, television studio standard lights, they create the illusion of a solid, coloured wall. Under each dot is a black dot that can only be seen from outside the court. When you look into the court from the outside,at the brightly lit players, your eyes disregard the black dots as irrelevant and let you look straight into the court - a miracle of science and technology.
Surprisingly, the further you are from the court and the greater the difference between the lighting in the Arena and the lighting on the court, the clearer you can see into the court through the glass side and front walls. Of course, the back wall is always clear and provides the sort of view that is needed by television cameras that don;t work like the eye and can't ignore the dots.
You may also notice some clear glass panels on the front wall just above the tin - this allows television and still-photography cameras to capture clear images of the play without upsetting the players. We keep the lighting low in the area behind the front wall and ask photographers and camera operators to wear black clothing to assist in keeping the court playable.
In 2011, we are installing a lighting system for the Centre Court that is attached to the ceiling of the Arena - some 6-7 metres above the court floor. As a result, there will be no need for the three aluminium light poles on each side of the court - making the viewing of the play even better.
Seating in the Arena
All of the tiered seats are arm-chair-like in comfort - and numbered for your individual ticket. If you buy a Premium or Gold Season Ticket, you will have the same seat for each session of play in the finals series. Seats are padded and have arms between each seat - just like an upmarket cinema - for your comfort.
There are entry and exit doors on two levels in the Arena making it easy to access your seat at any time. There may be some restrictions on moving to your seat in the middle of a game - you might have to wait until the break at the end of each game to ensure the comfort and enjoyment of the other spectators.
In the areas next to the court on the sides, we may install extra seating depending on seat ticket sales. This can either take the format of seating around large round tables - with table service for sponsors - or rows of seats with a clear view of the court.
As a professional theatre, squash can take advantage of the professional lighting, sound and audia visual systems available. Working with Staging Connections, we aim to make the Arena an excellent place to view squash. Some of the things we include are
- Pumping music between play,
- Arena commentary and announcements,
- Interviews with players after each match
- Scores and replays on large Plasma screens or projections.
Book your tickets early to avoid missing out on the Squash Experience of the Year