Venue Layouts

A Guide to Conference Layout Styles

Venue Hire

Confused by classroom, cabaret, theatre, boardroom, and other unfamiliar terms? If you are not regularly arranging conferences, the terminology used in the industry can be confusing. Some layouts require more floor-space than others, and involve more furniture and labour to prepare. The choice of layout can therefore affect the price. The diagrams on this page are not to scale , they are simply intended to illustrate the different layouts that are commonly used.

Theatre Style

Chairs in rows, all facing in the same direction, speaker at front

Theatre style layout has chairs in rows, all facing the same way. Nobody, except perhaps the presenters at the front, sits at a table. This layout style is best for presentations where delegates are not expected to work together in groups, or debate topics with each other. Often there is a screen at the front. We can host up to 150 delegates seated in this layout, all with a view of the screen.

Cabaret Style

Three round tables, with chairs around one half, and speaker at front

Cabaret style requires more floor space, with delegates sitting at round tables. Generally part of the table is left unusued so that nobody has their back to the presenter. However if it is acceptable for delegates to be asked to turn their chairs during the presentation, this enables more delegates to be accommodated. We can host 60 delegates, cabaret style, at six to a table, or 80 at 8 to a table, with some chair-turning needed.

Circle Style

round formation of chairs only, speaker at front

Chairs in a circle is an informal style often used for discussion meetings and training, where tables are not needed, and informal interaction between delegates is desired. We can usually provide clip-boards for note-taking if requiested in advance. A variation of this is to have two concentric circles, but this of course means that some delegates have their backs to some others. In our small conference room there is space for 14 delegates. In our first floor gallery,, around 40 in one circle, or 60 in two.

Boardroom Style

Oblong table, with chairs to all sides

Boardroom style is when delegates are all seated around a table. We don't always use a layout exactly like the diagram, the style varies according to the numbers and in our small conference room there is a central space between tables, where 10 or more delegates are expected. This style is the most popular layout for board and committee meetings. We can host up to 12 in this style in our small conference room, up to 30 in the main first floor gallery.

U-Shape Style

U shaped table formation with chairs to 3 sides

A U shape layout is more often a square U than a rounded one. As with boardroom all delegates sit at tables, but one end is left clear. There is usually a projection screen at that end and speakers can present from there. This style is often used for training and for more formal conferences. It takes up a lot of floor space. In our small conference room there is room for 8 delegates, in our first floor gallery, for 25.

Other Styles

Other possibilities include: