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Orchestra Pit

Amphitheatre Stage and Orchestra Pit, 1979



The MSU Amphitheatre used to have an orchestra pit in front of the stage, as can be seen in the photo to the left, as well as some of the photos on other exhibit pages.  The pit limited the the size of the stage that the actors could work with.  Its below ground location limited the circulation of air around the musicians, which was especially problematic when the orchestra was large.  Also, since the Amphitheatre was built inside a natural bowl, mud slides were an on-going problem, requiring the crew to spend a lot of time and energy cleaning mud out of the pit.

New Amphitheatre Orchestra Pit, 2014



In the mid-to-late 1990s, Summer Theatre decided to solve these problems by closing the existing orchestra pit and replacing it with a new one built to the west side of the stage (stage left, in theatrical terms).  This new pit is built around a tree and sheltered.  While this is the most frequent location for the orchestra, for some shows, the orchestra has been placed within the performance area of the stage.