US20060150530A1 - Modular theatre system - Google Patents

Modular theatre system Download PDF

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US20060150530A1
US20060150530A1 US10/905,280 US90528004A US2006150530A1 US 20060150530 A1 US20060150530 A1 US 20060150530A1 US 90528004 A US90528004 A US 90528004A US 2006150530 A1 US2006150530 A1 US 2006150530A1
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stage
modular
theatre
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Mark Davey
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Mark Davey
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H3/00Buildings or groups of buildings for public or similar purposes; Institutions, e.g. infirmaries, prisons
    • E04H3/10Buildings or groups of buildings for public or similar purposes; Institutions, e.g. infirmaries, prisons for meetings, entertainments, or sports
    • E04H3/22Theatres; Concert halls; Studios for broadcasting, cinematography, television or similar purposes

Abstract

A versatile modular theatre system for providing large-scale entertainment or for use in the home. In accordance with various exemplary embodiments, the present invention provides families and consumers with an alternative to conventional home theatre entertainment systems and commercial and educational presentation systems. The present invention provides a multipurpose, multi-venue, modular set and stage that seeks a full-sensory approach to entertaining, educating, informing, and uplifting audiences. In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, the present invention comprises at least one of a modular set, a stage, a control room, a green room, a storage space, an audience area, and one or more accessories. Preferably, one or more of the rooms are configured to be customizable and/or removably attachable to the set and/or stage. In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, the present invention provides a commercial presentation theatre system comprising modular components. Theatre systems in accordance with present invention preferably feature linkable walls that allow the user to customize the size and shape of the modular components of the system and to facilitate assembly, disassembly, and transport.

Description

    FIELD OF INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to multipurpose entertainment systems. More specifically, this invention relates to portable, small- to medium-sized multipurpose entertainment theatres with modular components.
  • BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
  • Entertainment and presentation theatres are commonly used to present speeches, plays, puppet shows, talent shows, karaoke, and numerous other productions to audiences. Such theatres as they currently exist tend to be large-scale and of limited adaptability and versatility. In addition, even when such theatres are configured to be transportable (such as, for example, stage or theatre configurations for commencement exercises, concerts, and arena-scale entertainment events), they are difficult to construct and dismantle and generally require a crew of specially-skilled individuals to erect, tear down, and transport.
  • For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,469,669, issued Nov. 28, 1995 to Alter (“Alter”), discloses a permanently-fixed film projection theatre. This invention has a pit area with a screen, a seating region with an angled floor and tiered rows of seats, and a projection room containing a projector. However, the projection theatre disclosed in Alter is “permanently fixed” and does not have a set or stage structure, and as such, it offers only limited possibilities for non-film uses, such as acting and dancing.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,669,346, issued Dec. 30, 2003 to Metcalf (“Metcalf”), teaches a panoramic film projection system designed for large audiences. The screen displays are positioned to be exteriorly viewable, or may be positioned to be both externally and internally viewable. U.S. Pat. No. 6,253,494, issued Jul. 3, 2001 to Shaffron (“Shaffron”), discloses a stage and motion picture screen arrangement that includes an upper stage with an opening for raising and lowering scenes onto and off the stage and a lower preparation area for set design, dressing rooms and storage. The deconstruction and reconstruction of the Metcalf and Shaffron systems take several workmen and several days to complete. Furthermore, the systems taught by Metcalf and Shaffron are not easily adaptable to small audiences and alternate uses.
  • Other related prior art is intended for specific purposes and therefore lacks versatility and sophistication. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,261,849, issued Nov. 16, 1993 to French (“French”), discloses a puppet/marionette theater. French teaches a rectangular configuration with a removable panel which may be used to affix various backgrounds. Although the invention taught by French can be easily assembled and disassembled, it lacks a stage and cannot be easily adapted to larger productions or alternate uses, such as home theatre productions, audio/video presentations, and the like.
  • Moreover, in recent years, family entertainment options have drifted toward more mature, adult-themed programming in television and film. As such, fewer options are available for families that desire quality home entertainment in addition to more enriching television and film choices for their children. An entertainment system that offers a wide variety of family entertainment options that are wholesome, uplifting and positive, educational for children, and easily accessible is desirable.
  • Therefore, a need exists for a modular, versatile theatre system that can be customized to serve a wide variety of entertainment functions.
  • In addition, a need exists for a modular, versatile theatre system that can be customized for commercial and educational functions.
  • SUMMARY OF INVENTION
  • In accordance with various exemplary embodiments, the present invention provides families and consumers with an alternative to conventional home theatre entertainment systems and commercial and educational presentation systems. The present invention provides a multipurpose, multi-venue, modular set and stage that seeks a full-sensory approach to entertaining, educating, informing, and uplifting audiences.
  • In one embodiment, the present invention provides a home entertainment system comprising modular components. In accordance with various aspects of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a home theatre system includes a modular set and stage. The set is configured to allow one or more customizable configurations. The stage may be removably attachable to the set using hinges, bolts, and/or any other suitable fastening devices now known or hereafter devised. The set preferably features linkable walls that allow the user to customize the size and shape of the set and to facilitate assembly, disassembly, and transport.
  • In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, the present invention comprises at least one of a modular set, a stage, a control room (or, as sometimes referred to herein, a “manager's room”), a green room, a storage space, an audience area, and one or more accessories. Preferably, one or more of the rooms are configured to be customizable and/or removably attachable to the set and/or stage.
  • In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, the present invention provides a commercial presentation theatre system comprising modular components. In accordance with various aspects of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a commercial presentation theatre system includes a modular set and stage, as well as one or more peripheral devices suitable for commercial presentation, such as, for example, one or more video displays, computer systems, sound systems, and the like. The set preferably features linkable walls that allow the user to customize the size and shape of the set and to facilitate assembly, disassembly, and transport.
  • These features and other advantages of the system and method, as well as the structure and operation of various exemplary embodiments of the system and method, are described below. It should be noted that while the various exemplary embodiments of the invention described hereinbelow generally relate to home entertainment systems, other embodiments of the present invention will be suitable for use in connection with commercial presentations (such as, for example, trade show presentations), dance and theatrical productions, parade floats, workplace presentations, educational presentations, and the like. The modularity, portability, and versatility of the present invention make embodiments thereof suitable for a wide variety of commercial and non-commercial applications.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The accompanying drawing figures, wherein like numerals depict like elements, illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present invention, and together with the Detailed Description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
  • FIG. 1 is a frontal view of a modular theatre system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a top view of a modular theatre system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary method for using modular components in accordance with various aspects of the present invention;
  • FIGS. 4A-C illustrate aspects of modular theatre system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIGS. 5A-E illustrate aspects of a stage in accordance with exemplary aspects of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary manager's room module in accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary electrical system in accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 8 illustrates an exemplary green room module in accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 9 illustrates an exemplary linkable wall with attachable hinges for easy assembly and disassembly in accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention; and
  • FIG. 10 illustrates an exemplary method for configuring a modular theatre system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention for one or more different uses.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The detailed description of exemplary embodiments of the invention herein makes reference to the accompanying drawing figures. While these exemplary embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable one skilled in the art to practice the invention, it should be understood that other embodiments may be realized and that logical and mechanical changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, the detailed description herein is presented for purposes of illustration only and not of limitation. For example, the steps recited in any of the method or process descriptions may be executed in any order and are not limited to the order presented.
  • Moreover, it should be appreciated that the particular implementations shown and described herein are illustrative of the invention and its best mode and are not intended to otherwise limit the scope of the present invention in any way. Indeed, for the sake of brevity, certain sub-components of the individual operating components and other functional aspects of the systems may not be described in detail. Furthermore, the connecting lines shown in the various figures contained herein are intended to represent exemplary functional relationships and/or physical couplings between the various elements. It should be noted that many alternative or additional functional relationships or physical connections may be present in a practical system.
  • A modular theatre system in accordance with the present invention may be accomplished through the combination of various stage venues. In accordance with various aspects of the present invention, a modular theatre system introduces a combination of venues that seek to entertain and/or inform through the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Each venue may make use of at least one of these senses and may make use of them all using the desired venue configuration. In accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a modular theatre system provides entertainment to audience members by enabling the showcasing of, for example, a variety of performing talents. As used herein, talents may include, but are not limited to dancing, singing, acting, musical instruments, magic, speaking, presenting, fashion, and/or talent ensemble.
  • In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, the present invention offers an integration of functional modules and peripheral devices into a multipurpose, modular theatre system that provides, among other things, a way for families to uplift, educate and entertain by showcasing the talent of others. A multipurpose, modular theatre system configured as a home entertainment system may combine quality entertainment venues, may educate by stimulating the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch, and may entertain by showcasing talent and performing arts.
  • In accordance with another exemplary embodiment, the present invention provides a commercial presentation theatre system comprising modular components. In accordance with various aspects of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a commercial presentation theatre system includes a modular set and stage, as well as one or more peripheral devices suitable for commercial presentation, such as, for example, one or more video displays, computer systems, sound systems, and the like. The set preferably features linkable walls that allow the user to customize the size and shape of the set and to facilitate assembly, disassembly, and transport.
  • With initial reference to FIG. 1, in accordance with one exemplary embodiment, a modular theatre system (MTS) 100 is provided, which may be used in the home, in local and regional entertainment, in the theatre industry, and/or in any other venue. MTS 100 may be configured to enable the user to make one or more changes to the decorative and/or functional modules of the theatre to facilitate customization. As such, MTS 100 may be configured with one or more modular components 105 and/or accessories 125 and/or peripherals 150.
  • In accordance with one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, MTS 100 may be configured to combine various technologies into one modular, multipurpose theatre system. Preferably, MTS 100 combines modular components 105 and one or more peripheral technologies into a single system. Each modular component 105 may be coupled with one or more other modular components 105 or one or more peripheral technologies. Unlike full-scale stage systems that require significant effort to assemble and disassemble, and which generally require heavy equipment to transport, MTS 100 is configured to be readily transportable and easily assembled and dissembled, with its modular components 105 requiring little or no assembly independent of their attachment to the other modular component(s) of the system.
  • In accordance with another aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, MTS 100 includes one or more peripherals 150. Peripherals 150 may include any component designed to enhance the media experience and/or be peripherally added to MTS 100. Peripherals 150, may include, for example, a music system, a lighting system, one or more speakers, a Dolby Digital sound system, DMX fixtures, stereos, digital cameras, computers, LCD screens, snow machines, non-DMX controllers, wireless headphones, bubble machines, video, robotics, HDTV, wireless web servers, televisions, DVD players, CD-ROMs, karaoke players, marionettes, fog machines, scent machines, projectors, slide machines, computer software, computer hardware, strobe lights, vending machines, popcorn machines or any other peripheral devices chosen to suit the user's likes and/or needs. In accordance with this aspect of an exemplary embodiment, MTS 100 may be customized for enhanced functionality with respect to visual presentation, audio presentation, or other sensory presentation of MTS 100 using one or more peripherals 150.
  • In accordance with an optional aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, MTS 100 includes one or more accessories 125. Accessories 125 may be functional, ornamental, or both, and may include, for example, one or more curtains, roofing, stairs, doors, columns, background decorations, furnishings, pilasters, walls, poster boards, architectural millwork components, ornamental fixtures, or any other accessories chosen to suit the user's likes and/or needs. In accordance with this aspect of an exemplary embodiment, MTS 100 may be customized to change the look and/or “feel” of MTS 100 using one or more accessories 125, without altering the modular aspects of the system.
  • FIG. 1 further depicts an exemplary stage 110 in accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Stage 110 comprises an exemplary module of MTS 100 and is preferably configured to be removably attached to the front 102 of set 115 or may be integrated into set 115. Stage 110 may be configured in any size and/or shape, including, for example a semi-circle (as depicted in FIG. 1), a circle, a square, a triangle, a rectangle, a polygon, and/or any other regular or irregular shape. Additionally, stage 110 may be removed and replaced by any number of stages with any desired configuration, depending on the desired use.
  • In accordance with another aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, MTS 100 further includes a façade (not illustrated in FIG. 1). When utilized, a façade may be configured to be removably attachable to the set and/or the stage, or may be adapted to stand alone. A façade may be utilized in connection with various venue configurations, such as, for example, when MTS 100 is configured as an acting stage, to simulate a dramatic environment, to introduce special visual effects to a production, or, in commercial applications, to display advertising, marketing, or promotional materials. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, various façades adaptable to be used in connection with a desired venue configuration exhibit similarities in dimensions, structure, and materials of construction, such that they are readily interchangeable in connection with the overall system. In accordance with one exemplary embodiment, a façade may be used as an alternative to the set, to give MTS 100 the desired look and feel for the production, but potentially allowing more stage surface for the production itself.
  • As used herein, the phrase “removably attached” refers to being linked and/or coupled to any other component by one or more quick-release couplings, hinges, bolts, hook-and-loop fasteners (such as, for example, VELCRO brand fasteners), dovetail fittings, ball-and-socket devices, or any other fastening devices now known in the art or later devised, such that the components may be assembled and/or disassembled with relative ease.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary theatre with modular components 105 in accordance with the present invention. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention, modular components 105 include at least one of a set 115, a stage 110, an audience area 130, a control room (or “manager's room”) 135, a green room 140, and a storage are 145. All modules 105 are configured to be optional and, preferably, are interchangeable by the user. Modules 105 may comprise any size and/or shape compatible with the desired function of the modular system and the degree of interchangeability desired. In accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a stage 110 module serves as the central unit of the modular system, and other modular components 105 are configured to exhibit similar dimensions, attachment mechanisms, materials of construction, and/or other characteristics such that their placement and arrangement in the overall system may be changed Furthermore, modules 105 may be arranged in any configuration according to the needs of the user, and modules 105 should not be limited in functional scope by their names. For example, storage area 145 may be used as a preparation area, a rehearsing area, and/or it may serve any other purpose. Modules 105 will be discussed in further detail below.
  • An exemplary method for configuring modular components 105 is illustrated in FIG. 3. For example, the user first selects one or more uses for MTS 100 (step 301). Some exemplary uses include, karaoke, dancing, acting, puppet shows, marionettes, magic, mime, light shows, fashion shows, animatronics shows, movie shows and/or any other form of entertainment. Next, the user selects modular components 105 he/she wishes to incorporate (step 303). For example, the user may choose to incorporate any or all of the following: any configuration of set 115, any configuration of green room 140, any configuration of manager's room 135, and any configuration of storage room 145. The user may then choose stage 110 that will best suit the desired use (step 305). For example, if the user is producing a fashion show, he may choose to use a T-shaped stage, although any other stage may be acceptable. Any or all of these modules 105 may then be removably attached together in any desired configuration using quick-release coupling, a hinge, a bolt, a hook-and-loop fastener, a dovetail fitting, a ball-and-socket device, or any other fastening device now known in the art or later devised (step 307). Next, the user may choose one or more peripherals 150, such as, for example, the type of lighting and music (step 309). The user may then choose to operate the lighting and music from a particular component 105, for example, manager's room 135 (step 311). The user may then connect any desired wiring for MTS 100. For example, the user may connect the wiring by creating the necessary wire pathways through the linking walls, by using Bluetooth enabled devices, by using wireless devices, by draping wires above components 105, by connecting wires below components 105, and/or by any other means for connecting the wiring for MTS 100 (step 313). Preferably, modular components are pre-wired such that the coupling mechanisms also connect electrical circuits, power supplies, fiber optics, data cables, digital data transfer lines, telephone lines, and the like, which generally are required in connection with the chosen peripheral devices included within the system. The user may also select any number of optional accessories 125 to use with MTS 100 (step 315), and, if desired, choose a configuration of audience area 130 to accommodate the size of the audience (step 317). While FIG. 3 illustrates a specific method for configuring modular components 105 in a specific order the method contemplates performing less than all steps and/or performing one or more of the steps in a different order than that presented herein.
  • In accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the theatre system modules are designed to be easily maneuverable and, preferably, durable through multiple assemblies and disassemblies. Once the user has acquired the desired components 105, MTS 100 may be assembled by one or more people. Preferably, assembly of modular components 105 does not require specialized skill or experience and MTS 100 may be assembled in a relatively short period of time. Depending on how elaborate the user desires MTS 100 to be, assembly may be completed in a matter of minutes (for small-scale systems, such as home puppet theatre systems), up to several hours (for medium-scale modular systems or systems with a large number of peripherals and/or accessories). In accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment, however, the elements of MTS 100 are chosen and configured such that assembly is possible by a single individual in less than one hour, and preferably, by a single individual in less than thirty minutes.
  • FIGS. 4A-C illustrate exemplary embodiments of MTS 100 in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 4A depicts set 115 configured with three linkable walls 450. The three linkable walls feature may be used to create a single room theatre (SRT) 405. SRT 405 may be used to facilitate, for example, acting and karaoke.
  • Each linkable wall 450 may be removably attached to one or more other linkable walls 450 to facilitate construction of SRT 405 and/or MTS 100 in any desired size and/or shape. Linkable walls 450 may comprise one or more rigid materials to facilitate construction, portability and/or assembly. For example, linkable walls 450 may comprise plywood, particle board, plastic, cardboard, plasterboard, fiberboard, fiberglass, metal, metal mesh, and/or any other rigid and/or semi-rigid material suitable for the desired function or MTS 100. Linkable walls 450 also may comprise one or more holes and/or may be configured to allow the user to use a jigsaw to create holes and/or punch-out spaces for the passage of electrical wires, fiber optics, data cables, telephone wires, conduit, pipes, and/or other utility devices necessary or desired to enable the use of peripheral technologies and/or accessories. In accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment, linkable walls 450 are configured to be severed and/or adapted by the user to facilitate construction, assembly and/or use of MTS 100. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention, linkable walls 450 comprise both mechanical couplings for structural connection and electrical couplings for connection of electric, fiber optic, data, and other utilities. Preferably, linkable walls 450 are outfitted with both male and female electrical coupling devices to facilitate interchangeability among the linkable walls when MTS 100 takes on different functional venue configurations, and to facilitate rapid assembly and disassembly of modular components outfitted with peripheral devices and accessories that utilize electricity, fiber optics, digital data, cable, telephone, piping, conduit, and other utilities. Embodiments of the invention applying this preferred approach may be especially suitable for modular theatre devices where multimedia applications are most desirable, given the relatively large number of electrical and other connections that generally are required.
  • One or more curtains 425 may be added to MTS 100 to facilitate the creation of a specific theatre feel. For example, FIG. 4B illustrates exemplary MTS 100 configured with linkable walls 450 and different-styled curtains 425 that add depth to set 115. For example, Austrian curtains 425 may be added to set 115 to facilitate a show that requires more than one background 430. Columns 435 and/or other accessories such as curtains 425, backgrounds 430 and lights 415 may also be added to set 115 depending on the desired use.
  • FIG. 4C illustrates another exemplary embodiment of MTS 100 in which a user may add one or more linkable walls 450 to create one or more additional rooms for dramatic performances. For example, the user may desire to add one or more linkable walls 450 to create multiple sets 115 so that each set 115 may have a different background 430. Multiple sets 115 may be desired if the user does not wish to stop in the middle of a performance to change backgrounds 430. MTS 100 may be configured in one or more additional permutations by adding and/or changing linkable walls 450, curtains 425, columns 435, backgrounds 430 and/or any other accessories.
  • FIGS. 5A-E illustrates exemplary embodiments of stage 110 in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 5A depicts stage 110 configured in a rectangular shape, however, stage 110 may be configured in any shape, such as, for example, a circle, a semicircle, a triangle, a hexagon, a polygon, and/or any other regular or irregular shape. Stage 110 may be configured to facilitate acting, karaoke, dancing, magic shows, and/or any other use. For example, in accordance with one exemplary embodiment, the user may configure stage 110 to facilitate karaoke performances by adding a visual prompter, an amplification system (comprising, among other things, a microphone), a lighting system, and a sound system.
  • FIG. 5B illustrates one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, wherein stage 110 comprises a marionette stage 110, which may be configured to facilitate a marionette show. Marionette stage 110 may be configured with two sides supporting a horizontal, elevated platform 525 where one or more individuals may sit or lay down to control the marionette strings. Platform 525 may have slots or any other type of opening to allow the user to operate the strings of the marionettes.
  • FIG. 5C illustrates one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, wherein stage 110 comprises a puppet stage 110. Puppet stage 110 may be configured with a square-shaped façade. However, puppet stage's 110 façade may be configured to be semicircular, hexagonal and/or any other shape. The back and/or interior of puppet stage 110 may be configured to be hollow (i.e., it may not comprise linkable wall 450 and/or it may comprise a door) to facilitate user access and/or puppet operation. The top of puppet stage 110 may be configured with one or more slots and/or other openings to facilitate inserting the puppets into the performance area below.
  • FIG. 5D illustrates one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, wherein stage 110 is configured to be T-shaped to facilitate the creation of a runway 530 suitable to be used, for example, for a fashion show, a pageant, and/or any other desired use. Runway 530 may be configured to be any length and/or width appropriate for the desired use. When utilized, runway 530 preferably is configured to be removably attached to stage 110 to facilitate assembly, portability and/or storage, or, alternatively, may be integrated with stage 110, depending upon its dimensions and other structural characteristics.
  • FIG. 5E illustrates one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, wherein stage 110 is configured as a semi-circular stage 110, which may be further configured to facilitate karaoke, acting, singing, talent shows, fashion shows, magic, mime, and/or any other desired use. Optionally, when used, semi-circular stage 110 may feature trap doors to facilitate performing magic shows and/or any other type of show. Semi-circular stage 110 and/or any other stage 110 configuration may be configured with one or more columns, lights and/or other accessories 125 and/or peripherals 150 to facilitate one or more decorative effects, special effects, and the like.
  • In accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, MTS 100's modular components 105 may be configured to be readily adapted for one or more uses without the user disassembling other components 105. For example, if a user has configured MTS 100 for acting, the user may transform MTS 100 into a puppet theatre by unattaching and removing the acting stage and attaching a puppet stage in its place. As described elsewhere herein, quick connecting mechanical and/or electrical couplings preferably are integrated into the linkable walls of modular components 105 and into stage 110 to facilitate the adaptability, versatility, and interchangeability of the various components chosen to comprise MTS 100. Additionally, stage 110 (and, indeed, modular components 105 and larger peripheral devices and accessories) may configured on rollers to facilitate assembly, disassembly, movement, transport, and the like.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a control room or “manager's room” 135 module in accordance with the present invention. The user may customize the size and/or shape of manager's room 135 by adding and/or removing linkable walls 450. Manager's room 135 may be configured with one or more computers, desks, chairs, power grids and/or control bays to facilitate operation of the curtains, lights, monitors, screens, music and/or any other accessories 125 and/or peripherals 150. Manager's room 135 may also be used to control animatronics such as flowers, butterflies, stars, special effects such as fog, snow, bubbles and/or any other desired effects. When used, the special effects may be run from a DMX-512 based controller and/or from the computer or any other suitable device. Embodiments of the present invention in which a manager's room 135 may be most preferable include, for example, a modular acting theatre, a karaoke theatre, a puppet theatre, a parade float theatre, a “haunted house” or other fantasy configuration, and other applications utilizing a large number of peripherals and/or accessories.
  • The computer may be configured with any number of hardware and/or software components configured to perform to specified functions. For example, the present invention may employ various integrated circuit components (e.g., memory elements, processing elements, logic elements, look-up tables, and the like), which may carry out a variety of functions under the control of one or more microprocessors or other control devices. Similarly, the software elements of the present invention may be implemented with any programming or scripting language such as C, C++, Java, and the like. The computer may also be configured with an interface such as Windows XP, to facilitate user access and/or use.
  • An exemplary embodiment of the electrical system 700 is illustrated in FIG. 7. Electrical system 700 may be configured with the power grid 705 attached to an external power source 710. The user may determine the required voltage necessary for electrical system 700 operation and add a sub panel from the home or building's main electrical panel to provide power to system 700. The user may also use a generator and/or any other power source to provide power for electrical system 700. Wiring 725, such as standard 14 AWG (American Wire Gauge), may be routed out from power grid 705 through holes in linking walls 450 to facilitate providing power to accessories 125 and/or peripherals 150. For example, power may be routed from a control bay to provide power to lights, curtains, a movie screen, an abyss fixture, animatronics, electronics and/or other electrical accessories or peripherals. System 700 facilitates user control of one or more electrical features from manager's room 135 and/or any other module 105. The electric schematic of system 700 may be customized and/or created by the user for automated operation of accessories 125 and/or peripherals 150. MTS 100 may also be configured such that the user may operate accessories 125 and/or peripherals 150 manually. In accordance with one aspect of a preferred embodiment of the invention power grid 705 is configured such that one or more linkable walls may be moved within the system or removed from the system altogether without affecting the electrical connections between and/or among the other linkable walls, peripherals, and/or accessories.
  • FIG. 8 illustrates exemplary embodiments of green room 140 module in accordance with the present invention. Green room 140 may be configured with linkable walls 450 as a room of any shape, such as, for example, a square or a rectangle. Green room 140 may be configured with a door to facilitate privacy, if desired. Green room 140 may also be configured with one or more costume closets, make-up counters, chairs, lighted mirrors, puppet shelves and/or other amenities. Green room 140 may be configured for any use, for example, exemplary green room 140 may be used as a costume room, make-up room, dressing room, and/or for any other purpose.
  • In accordance with one aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, an audience area 130 is included as part of MTS 100. When provided, audience area 130 may be configured to be customized by the user to suit his/her needs. For example, depending on the size of the production, the user may choose to incorporate any number of columns, curtains, strobe or spot lights, ticket booths, decorations, advertisements, popcorn machines, beverage machines and/or any other decorations and amenities known in the art or hereafter devised that add to the look, feel, sensory perception, and/or functionality of the overall system. Audience area 130 may also be configured with a movie projector for use in conjunction with a screen on stage. In another embodiment, audience area 130 may be configured with one or more speakers to create the effect of “surround sound.” In yet another embodiment, audience area 130 may be configured with a video recorder, and audio recorder, and/or any other recording device to facilitate recording a production or presentation.
  • As described elsewhere herein, MTS 100 may include one or more accessories 125 in accordance with various embodiments of the present invention. In accordance with one exemplary embodiment, accessories 125 include a plurality of columns 435. For example, columns 435 may be made of aluminum, plaster, wood, and/or any other rigid or semi-rigid material. Columns 435 may also be configured with a base for support. In one embodiment, the base may be configured in a cube format, however, the base may be configured in any shape and with any decoration desired. Columns 435 may be configured for decoration and/or columns 435 may be configured to serve a functional purpose, such as, for example, supporting a roof, a movie screen, curtains and/or any other accessories 125.
  • FIG. 9 depicts an exemplary linkable wall 450 with attachable hinges for easy assembly and disassembly. While linkable walls 450 are described herein as being configured with hinges, linkable walls 450 may be configured with any mechanism to facilitate assembly and/or disassembly. For example, linkable walls 450 may comprise a ball and sockets, interlocking structural features, hook-and-loop fasteners, snaps, clasps, quick-connect/disconnect fasteners, and the like.
  • FIG. 10 illustrates an exemplary method for configuring MTS 100 for one or more different uses. For example, MTS 100 may be configured with standard components such as set 115 and stage 110 (step 1001) to create a puppet theatre. One or more linkable walls 450 may be added to MTS 100 to create one or more components 105 (step 1003). For example, linkable walls 450 may be added to create storage room 146, green room 140, and manager's room 135 modules. If the user desires to transform the puppet theatre into a dancing stage, for example, user may leave storage room 146, green room 140, and manager's room 135 modules in place and change set 115 and/or stage 110 only (step 1005). The user may also customize MTS 100 by adding one or more accessories 125, peripherals 150, electrical systems 700, and/or any other desired features (step 1007).
  • Multi-use, preconfigurable MTS 100 may be preconfigured into any number of stage venue configurations. MTS 100 may be preconfigured for a particular venue and may remain in the same configuration throughout the entire production, or MTS may be easily adaptable at point within the production, highlighting the advantage of the modularity and easy assembly and disassembly of systems configured in accordance with the present invention.
  • Many different productions may be achieved using multi-purpose stage 110. For example, any combination of venues can be achieved and different productions may be obtained for each configuration. For example, Table 1 sets out in reference format a variety of venue configurations that are possible in accordance with various aspects of the present invention.
  • Table 1:
    Functionality 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
    Movie X X x x x x X X X X X
    Theater
    Karaoke X x x X X X
    Acting/ X x x X X X
    Drama
    Dancing X x x X X X
    Hand Puppet X x x X
    Marionettes X x x X
    Magic Show X x x X X
    Mime X x X
    Theater
    Surround x x x x x x x x x X x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    Sound
    Music
    Intelligent x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    Lighting
    Music Video X
    Making
    Video X X
    Games
    Internet X X X
    Anima- x x x x x x x x X x X x x x
    tronics
    Pre-Show x x x x x x x x x x x x X x x x x x
    Refreshment x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    Lobby
    Presentation X X
    Speech X x
    Kids' Movie X X
    Making
    Light Show x x x x x x x x X x x x
    Talent X X X
    Theater
    Fashion X x X
    Show
    Model X x x
    Maker
    Intermission x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    Parade Float X x X x x x x x x x x x X x x x x
  • Table 1 illustrates in graphical form various exemplary venue configurations that are contemplated by embodiments of the present invention. Table 1 is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather provides examples of ways in which various aspects of exemplary embodiments of the present invention may be combined to accomplish different functional objectives. In Table 1, the “X” designation indicates that the functionality is the major role in the exemplary venue configuration, whereas the “x” designation indicates a supportive role, such as, for example, lighting effects, surround sound, and the like. Venue configuration 1 is that of a movie theatre, featuring a movie projection device, a movie screen, a sound system, and, optionally, a refreshment center and/or intermission presentation devices, such as, for example, a light show device. Venue configuration 2 is that of a karaoke system configuration, including a voice amplification system, a sound system, and, optionally, one or more of a lighting system, a sound recording system, special effects devices, and a refreshment center. Venue configuration 3 is that of an acting stage, and venue configuration 4 is a dancing stage. Venue configurations 5 and 6 are a hand puppet stage and a marionette puppet stage, respectively. Venue configuration 7 is that of a magic show theatre, and venue configuration 8 is that of a mime theatre. Venue configurations 9 and 10 support kids' movie making and music video making capabilities, respectively, while venue configurations 11 and 12 support surround sound music and internet applications. Venue configuration 13 is that of an animatronics theatre. Venue configurations 14 and 15 are kids' talent and adults' talent theatres, respectively, while venue configurations 16 and 17 support fashion shows and modeling shows. Venue configuration 18 comprises light show effects, and is often used in combination with other venue configurations. Venue configurations 19-26 are exemplary “combination” venues, generally featuring more advanced lighting, sound, and other special effects in combination with more traditional stage and sound configurations. Venue 19, for example, is that of an acting stage that is further enhanced with various movie projection capabilities. Venue 20 comprises a karaoke and acting stage configuration, and may also include such advanced features as animatronics and pre-show effects. Venue 21 combines a puppet and marionette theatre, and venue 22 combines dance, magic, and mime for an exemplary configuration ideal for both educational and entertainment contexts. Venue 23 combines vocal presentation, acting, dance, and magic, and is an exemplary configuration ideal as a multipurpose home entertainment theatre, multipurpose theatre for an educational setting, or a presentation arena for performances by, for example, dance troupes or fuller-cast programs. Venue configuration 24 combines movie projection capabilities with modeling and fashion show support. Venue configuration 25 combines movie projection, video games, and internet for a multimedia entertainment center. Venue configuration 26 features a combination of movie projection, internet, and presentation support for educational and commercial applications. Of course, various aspects of any two or more of the above exemplary configurations may be combined to fashion a venue for other desired purposes, and other features not mentioned in these examples may, of course, be combined with one or more features of one or more of the above configurations to arrive at a customized configuration within the scope of the present invention.
  • This short list illustrates some possible combinations of a movie theatre venue using MTS 100. Many other possibilities are also available. For example MTS 100 may be configured into a variety of venues including, for example, a movie theater, karaoke, acting, dancing, puppet shows, marionettes, magic shows, mime, surround sound, lighting, music videos, video games, Internet, animatronics, pre-show, refreshments, presentations, speeches, kids movies, light shows, talent shows, fashion shows, modeling, and/or intermissions.
  • The preceding detailed description of exemplary embodiments of the invention makes reference to the accompanying drawings, which show various exemplary embodiments by way of illustration. While these exemplary embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, it should be understood that other embodiments may be realized and that logical and mechanical changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the steps recited in any of the method or process claims may be executed in any order and are not limited to the order presented. Thus, the preceding detailed description is presented for purposes of illustration only and not of limitation, and the scope of the invention is defined by the preceding description, and with respect to the attached claims.
  • Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described above with regard to specific embodiments. However, the benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element(s) that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of any or all the claims. As used herein, the terms “comprises,” “comprising,” or any other variations thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. Further, no element described herein is required for the practice of the invention unless expressly described as “essential” or “critical.”

Claims (20)

1. A modular theatre system comprising:
at least one stage;
at least one modular component, wherein said modular component comprises at least two linkable walls; and
wherein said stage is removably attachable to said modular component, and wherein said at least two linkable walls are removably attachable to one another.
2. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one set.
3. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one peripheral device.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein said at least one peripheral device comprises at least one of a video display, an audio playback device, a computing device, a light, a photographic device, a robotic device, an animatronics device, a video projection device, an internet device, a wireless device, a controller, an audio recording device, a food vending device, a scent-generation device, and a fog machine.
5. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one power grid.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein said stage is configured to be removably attached to said modular component using at least one of a quick-release coupling, a hinge, a bolt, a hook-and-loop fastener, a dovetail fitting, or a ball-and-socket device.
7. The system of claim 1, further comprising at least one electrical coupling device.
8. A modular theatre system comprising:
at least one set, said set having a plurality of customizable configurations;
at least one stage, wherein said stage is removably attachable to said set; and
at least one modular component, wherein said modular component is removably attachable to at least one of said set and said stage.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein said at least one modular component comprises at least one linkable wall.
10. The system of claim 8, further comprising at least one peripheral device.
11. The system of claim 10, further comprising a power grid configured to deliver power to said at least one peripheral device.
12. A modular entertainment system comprising:
at least one set;
at least one stage removably attachable to said set;
at least one control room removably attachable to at least one of said set and said stage;
a green room removably attachable to at least one of said set, said stage and said manager's room; and
at least one peripheral device, wherein said at least one peripheral device comprises at least one of a video display, an audio playback device, a computing device, a light, a photographic device, a robotic device, an animatronics device, a video projection device, an internet device, a wireless device, a controller, an audio recording device, a food vending device, a scent-generation device, and a fog machine.
13. The system of claim 12, wherein said control room and said green room comprise a plurality of linkable walls.
14. The system of claim 12, further comprising a storage space removably attachable to at least one of said set, said stage, said control room and said green room.
15. The system of claim 12, further comprising at least one of accessory.
16. The system of claim 12, further comprising at least one power grid configured to deliver power to said at least one peripheral device.
17. The system of claim 12, further comprising an audience area.
18. The system of claim 12, wherein said stage comprises a puppet stage.
19. The system of claim 12, further comprising at least one façade.
20. The system of claim 19, further comprising at least one façade, wherein said façade is removably attachable to at least one of said set and said stage.
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