Setting up a successful assembly show for your school is a multi-step process, but there is one thing you need to know before signing a contract. It’s this: How many kids can comfortably fit into your gymnasium?
If you have a standard or small sized gym of about 2400 square feet then you do not want to try to seat more than 400 elementary kids into a performance. Of course, if your school consists of just older grades, 3-5th, then that number will drop quickly to about 300 kids because they are much larger.
Another consideration when scheduling a school show performance is how much space will the assembly presenter require. Some larger productions will take up 750-1000 square feet of space. This could leave just 2/3rds of your gym available for seating. Some performers also require an aisle down the middle for ease in getting volunteer or to provide a walkway for the performer to carry objects or animals for an up close view.
In the video below you’ll see what it looks like when 400 students in grades K-5th are seated for our Diversity Circus Assembly show. Teachers are seated in chairs along the perimeter, but in this case, not enough room is allowed for an aisle down the middle. While this is not an optimal situation for the performers, it is still manageable. Also, having a show set up along a short wall in a room instead of in front of one of the longer walls actually allows more square footage for seating. Kids in the back are seated further away from the action but when large props are used, this usually is not a concern. Or seating kids in bleachers, if you have them, always provides the best viewing for performance style assembly shows.
A good rule of thumb is to always add a second performance if you have more than 400 kids needing to attend the school show. If you have a larger gym then you may be able to comfortably accommodate your entire school in just one assembly performance. The best way to know is to ask the principal for former assembly coordinator about what’s worked best in the past. Some schools can’t afford an encore performance so packing their gym is sometimes the only option.