Scéno Plus: 37 Years In The Theatre

Scéno Plus, a performing arts and entertainment design firm providing a complete range of integrated specialized services, was founded in Montreal in 1985 by Patrick Bergé and Lorraine Berthiaume, a young couple who shared the vision to enhance the quality of theatrical installations across the province of Quebec and make artists, crew, and guests’ lives easier. In the beginning of 2020, Patrick and Lorraine’s sons, Olivier Berthiaume-Bergé and Vincent Berthiaume-Bergé, who were immersed in the Scéno Plus brand from a young age and joined the company respectively 15 and six years ago, took over the helm of the company and are striving to pursue their parent’s legacy.

Live Design: In a nutshell, can you talk about some of your big projects?

Scéno Plus: After cementing the reputation of the firm locally for more than the first 10 years, Scéno Plus began exporting its expertise worldwide, starting in Las Vegas with Cirque du Soleil's first permanent venue, for Mystère at Treasure Island. Through the years, Scéno Plus has worked with many of the biggest names in the entertainment industry including MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock, Resorts World Las Vegas and AEG, to name a few. Specific theater projects include the “O” Theater at the Bellagio, The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Dolby Live at Park MGM, MGM Theater at MGM Cotai ,and Hard Rock Live at the Hard Rock Seminole Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.  

LD: For the new theatre at Resorts World, what was the program and design brief from the client?

SP: In 2019, Resorts World Las Vegas reunited Scéno Plus with long-time partners AEG, tasking us with completing a theatre we had started together in 2006 on the former Echelon project. The vision of the client was to create a venue that would welcome multiple residencies by world-famous performers under one roof. Therefore, the stage and backstage amenities had to grant each artist a canvas and an environment they could make their own, while the front of house and the audience chamber would reflect the good taste, elegance and high standards of the Resorts World Las Vegas banner and provide a glamorous framework for the performers.

seen from center stage

LD: Where/how does it "sit" in the building?

SP: The Resorts World Theatre is steps away from the property’s bustling casino floor and adjacent to the popular sports bar, Dawg House.

LD: Size of stage, height of grid, rigging, technical systems, shape of auditorium?

SP: The Resorts World Theatre is a 4,700-seat fan-shaped venue, with a capacity of 5000 offering an intimate and unique experience between the audience and the artist. The theatre offers unparalleled comfort, no obstructed sightlines and the farthest seat is only 150 feet from the stage. The design approach for the space is picturesque, with a stage wall which extends itself toward the audience in a gradient from black to champagne, formed by a myriad of shimmering bronze tiles. In contrast, the seating area is sculpted by a magnificent play of curves in lighter tones and framed by lit arches, adding dynamism and structure to the space.

The space, with the furthest seat only 150 feet from the stage, features unobstructed sightlines, fully configurable high-definition LED screens totaling over 5,000 square feet, and an unmatched immersive audio experience through more than 200 L-Acoustics speakers powered by L-ISA Hyperreal Sound technology.

The stage is 13,550 square feet with 95 feet of height below the gridiron.

 There is an Extreme Network backbone over 30 Switches for 14 vLAN; just for CCTV a 25Gb network.

 LD: What are the biggest challenges facing theatre consultants today?

SP: The pandemic has been a challenge, but it’s something that will be overcome with time, as the appetite to gather and witness live performances is anchored deeply in human nature. There might be some slight changes in the habits of how we consume live entertainment but a return to “normality” is to be expected.

Theatre is deeply rooted in traditions but nowadays, technology evolves so fast and is omnipresent in every sphere of our life that keeping up with it will always be an ongoing challenge. It is true both in the way that live entertainment integrates more and more of it but also design practices are now widely dependent on design software that is more and more evolved whether it is computer assisted drawing (CAD), sound prediction modeling and so on. These tools are incredibly powerful and bring efficiency on another level, but they also necessitate constant research and improvement.

The competition in the design industry is very fierce and theatre projects are prized among designers as they get a lot of exposure and are somehow associated with an elitist vision of design. However, they are also very specialized buildings that require knowledge in many areas and therefore regrouping all the required expertise under one roof to offer turnkey solutions to our clients can be challenging. At the same time, it makes us who we are at Scéno Plus; architects, interior designers, systems designers, AV specialists, etc, who all strive for one single purpose—to create the best entertainment venues in the world.

Lastly, the ever-increasing construction costs in this very niche market can create challenges. We aim for a return on every dollar spent and focus on creating venues that are flexible and adaptable with design.  We also keep programming in mind, to make sure the operational aspect of the venue is considered at the early stage of the design process.

LD: What's next on the drawing board for Scéno Plus?

SP: We are working with Hard Rock at the moment. Many of their projects are in development or in construction, both in the US and around the world. We also have two theatres under construction in Thailand and a potential project in Japan and many developing business opportunities.

We spend a lot of time researching and thinking about what the future of entertainment will be. E-Sports is growing in popularity and only a few dedicated venues exist. We are working on concept venues integrating new technologies and streaming capacities that could be equally used for traditional forms of live entertainment or next generation live entertainment such as E-Sports.