Event Planning: Using Theatre Space

View from stage of Theatre at Meydenbauer, Bellevue, WA

Performances of the arts, industry seminars, and academic presentations are a great match for theatre space. Learn more about theatre event planning in a venue like Bellevue’s Theatre at Meydenbauer Center and how to take your event out of the standard meeting room or banquet hall and bring it to the stage.

Event Planning with Theatre Features

Put the spotlight on a keynote speaker, set the scene for a casual panel discussion, or host a pre-performance reception on the stage. Unlike an open event hall, sloped theatre seating allows every ticketholder to receive the same experience.

The Theatre at Meydenbauer has 410 seats and spans over three thousand square feet for a size that offers both closeness and a high-quality sensory experience from every angle.  From community theatre events to corporate affairs, many different groups enjoy the intimate and flexible environment.

Catering and Concessions

Take advantage of a private area devoted to your event. The theatre and lobby are the only spaces located on the second floor of Meydenbauer Center, giving special events exclusive access to both. Host a pre-event cocktail reception or a special VIP dinner on the stage.  Meydenbauer Center offers full-service catering and reception packages or simple concessions for a quick snack option. Click here for  catering menus.


Dressing rooms can be used for more than a quick costume change—they’re perfect as staff break rooms or presenter-ready areas and can accommodate up to 75 people. Prepare rooms in advance for presenters to access for quick breaks during seminars, and offer them to additional staff involved with event production.

The Theatre at Meydenbauer rental includes access to a green room and kitchenette too. Planning tip: Creating backstage areas for specific groups can help cut down on high traffic behind the scenes; post signs to let everyone know which space is theirs.

Pitch Perfect Sound
UW Foster School of Business Theatre at Meydenbauer Reception

Sound is paramount, and if your event calls for perfect pitch, theatres are capable of disseminating audio without losing a beat. Take advantage of professional in-house lighting and sound technicians who will help design and execute your program.

The necessity for superior sound is not limited to musical performances: a speaker’s impact can be greatly enhanced by clear sound quality as listeners catch every word. Similarly, effective lighting can help keep an audience’s focus onstage.

Professional lighting and audio technician services are included in The Theatre at Meydenbauer rental, with an acoustic shell and piano tuning as available add-ons.

Go on Tour

Before you choose to book a theatre space, view it in person. Sample the seating throughout the auditorium, walk the stage, and look at the lighting options. Also ask to see backstage to determine how it will accommodate any props or pieces your event will need.

Tour The Theatre at Meydenbauer by calling 425.450.3810 or email theatre@meydenbauer.com to set up an appointment. Find theatre event planning resources, including a seating chart, here.

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Top 5 Reasons for Hosting Your Next Event at Meydenbauer Center

Where will you hold your next big event in Washington? As you plan your upcoming conference, training, or benefit dinner, take a look at why Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Convention Center is an optimal choice. The biggest benefit of hosting at Meydenbauer Center is convenience. Think great location and great amenities all in one space.

Bellevue skyline

1. The perfect proximity

Enjoy the ease of being close to Seattle and in the heart of the Puget Sound Region.  Sea-Tac airport is only 17 miles away, so traveling professionals can quickly reach the event venue. Accommodations are a breeze to find, with 2,500 nearby hotel rooms in downtown Bellevue to choose from.

Meydenbauer Convention Center is located in the hub of downtown Bellevue. Event attendees will have access to The Bravern’s luxury shops and restaurants, Bellevue Square’s premier retailers, and an array of restaurants. In between presentations, attendees can unwind in downtown Bellevue’s 20-acre park with a peaceful waterfall.

2. In-house tech teams and one point of contact

You don’t want a detail to go unnoticed at your event. Meydenbauer’s power and internet team and audiovisual team are both in-house, so you have go-to resources that are efficient and responsive. Working with in-house teams means access to technical professionals who not only know their industries—but they’re well-versed in your venue. You can rely on them to not miss a beat of your production plans, from internet to overhead lighting. Your Guest Services Manager will function as your first point of contact, so you can spend less time tracking down solutions and more time watching your event come together.

Pan seared chicken, roasted fingerlings, brussels sprouts

3. Discounts that tie in food and room costs

Meydenbauer Center’s savings will help your event budget: 20% of the amount you spend on food and beverages will be subtracted from your room rental. And with a full menu by in-house catering that sources many items locally and features Washington and Oregon wines, you’ll be able to select just the right flavors for your event—while saving on convention center space rates.

Meydenbauer events

4. Versatile floor plans

Meydenbauer Convention Center has 54,000 square feet of event space to choose a floor plan from. We’ll help you analyze floor plans, seating and room layouts and recommend which space is the best fit for your event, whether it’s an annual kick-off meeting or a new training.  If you want to add an elegant touch, there’s also a 410-seat performance theatre. With the help of Meydenbauer’s technical teams, you can continue to customize your event space with visual elements like lighting.

5. Ample parking

You’ll likely need accessible areas for supply load-in, and you’ll definitely need parking for your event’s attendees.  Meydenbauer Center’s garage has 434 stalls, with six overflow lots in downtown Bellevue available if the convention center reaches capacity.

When is your next event? Take a moment let to our team know how they can help and what type of space you’re looking for. You may not have all the answers yet, but we’ll help you find them so your conference, trade show, training, or presentation fits your vision.

(Bellevue skyline photo by Marv Heston via Meydenbauer Center)

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5 Ways to Impress Your Attendees

We know that your goal as a meeting planner is to ensure that your attendees leave your event not merely satisfied, but thoroughly impressed. So what is it that makes an event so memorable that your attendees can’t help but walk away thinking “Wow, now that was a cool event!”? Here are five ideas that are sure to make your next event stand out:

1. Use Interactive Technology

Tint Interactive Technology

Create social hubs and engage your audience with interactive technology such as Tint

We all want to capture the attention of our attendees, but how can you take it to the next level and encourage them to participate? Interactive technology is one of the best ways to engage audiences, and create an experience that leaves a lasting impression. Interactive apps and games encourage your attendees to create, ask questions, share ideas, and have fun. A few great examples of new technology are Tint, Poll Everywhere, Instaprint, and video projection mapping.


2. Brand the Building


An elevator at Meydenbauer Center wrapped to brand the building for a convention

Creative branding will keep your message at the top of attendee’s minds, and make them feel like VIPs too. Hang banners outside to greet conference goers. Help them find their way from break-outs to the exhibit hall with unique directional signage. Wrap the elevators with a big image or print your logo on the coffee sleeves. All of these touches will extend your message and make your conference memorable.


3. Themed Menus

Sushi Snocone

“Sushi Snow Cones” add a fun, creative twist to the menu for an event at Meydenbauer Center

Satisfy your attendees’ appetites for experience by engaging the senses. One of the best ways to do so is with your food and beverage. Choose a menu that supports your event theme or adds an exciting twist; this will reinforce your message and create a lasting memory. Planning a circus themed event? Serve classic finger foods with a creative twist, like gourmet flavored popcorn or cotton candy. Ensure guests have a roaring good time at your 1920’s themed gala by mixing up a signature cocktail representative of the speakeasy era. If you don’t see a menu item that meets your needs, your caterer will gladly get creative and put some custom menu options together for you – let them work their magic!


4. Custom Lighting

Center Hall Luncheon YWCA 2013-3

A combination of colored up-lighting and gobos brightens up a luncheon at Meydenbauer Center

Skip the linen and spend your décor budget on lighting. Lighting can create an ambiance and transform a space. Using the same room for multiple functions? Change the scenery with just a few quick adjustments. Set the mood with a flood of colored up-lighting or use custom gobos to add texture and company branding. Let your expert audio visual techs help create a custom lighting package for a big wow factor.


5. Event Wi-Fi


Purchasing event wi-fi keeps your attendees happy and encourages engagement

Don’t skimp on Wi-Fi! Purchasing event WiFi is worth it for your attendees and exhibitors. Providing fast, reliable internet for your attendees encourages engagement and ensures that they won’t leave the conference to go check their email or post to social media. It’s a big draw for your exhibitors and shows that you understand and cater to their needs.



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