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A Versatile Venue

You probably already know that The Apex is an award-winning music and entertainment venue in Bury St Edmunds.

But you might not know about the innovative behind-the-scenes technology that enables the unique auditorium to be reconfigured to suit pretty much any event.

The Apex offers a wide variety of shows; the diverse programme of music, including classical, pop, rock, jazz, blues, world, country and folk, sits alongside talks, comedy, dance and community events.

Consequently, the auditorium needs to be flexible and adaptable, switching from an all-seated concert to an all-standing mosh pit, and pretty much anything in between. There could be a dance floor in the middle and seats all around, or seats in front of the stage and dancing at the back and sides. It can have a completely flat floor for exhibitions, dinner dances and other social functions, like the recent Beer Festival. The stage can also be set up ‘in the round’, or as a catwalk, as seen at Fashion Fusion.

The technology to facilitate all this shape-shifting is hidden under the floor. The main auditorium floor goes up and down on six screw-jacks (just like big versions of the one you would use to jack up your car to change a tyre). The orchestra pit is also a scissor lift, which goes down approximately 6 metres from stage level. The seats are built onto twenty-five ‘wagons’; each block can be plugged into the electricity supply and a trigger switch activates blowers which makes the seats hover on a cushion of air, enabling them to be glided into place. The orchestra pit can be used as a lift to take the rows of seats down to be stored under the stage and dance floor when they’re not needed.

A seating turnaround from flat floor to full seats takes 4 technicians approximately 3.5 hours to complete.

You can see a highly speeded up example in this video (from 1.21-1.28)

Apex – Promoters video from Paul Cook on Vimeo.

You can explore the building here (you can even stand on the stage),0.7101995,2a,82.2y,136.17h,107.59t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbxM5nwNIAsJ5-B68h9DiGA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

See for more details.