Every building hereafter erected so as to contain an audience hall and a stage, with curtain, movable or shifting scenery and machinery, adapted for the giving of plays, operas, spectacles or similar forms of entertainment, and of a size to provide seats for more than 500 spectators shall be a theatre within the meaning of this act. No existing building not now used as a theatre shall be altered and used as a theatre, unless it conforms to the provisions of this act for a new theatre.
Every theatre hereafter built shall be of fireproof construction throughout, except that the floor boards may be of wood, and the steel work of the stage, of the fly galleries, and of the rigging loft need not be fireproofed.
Every theatre built in a block not on a corner shall have an open court or passageway on both sides extending from the proscenium line to the line of the street on the front, or, in case the building abuts on a street both in front and rear, these passages may extend from the line of the front of the auditorium to the line of the rear street. These passages shall be at least 6 feet wide throughout their length, and shall not be closed by any locked gate or doorway. They shall immediately adjoin the auditorium, or a side passage or lobby directly connected therewith. These passages shall be open to the sky opposite the whole depth of the auditorium, but may be carried out to the street front or rear through passages inclosed by brick walls or other fireproof material equally efficient, and covered by a solid brick vault at least 8 inches thick, each passage to be not less than 8 feet wide and 10 feet high throughput.
Every theatre built upon the corner of two streets shall have one inner court on the side of the building away from the side street, such court to be of the same description as the courts provided for in the preceding paragraph.
Nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit the use of any part of a theatre building for stores, offices, or for habitation, provided that the parts so used shall be built with exits to the street entirely distinct from the rest of the building and shall be separated from the rest of the building by solid partitions or walls, without any openings in the same.
In all theatres, the entrances shall be not more than one step above the level of the sidewalk of the main street, and the stage shall be not more than 5 feet above the said level.
The stage of every theatre shall be separated from the auditorium by a wall of fireproof construction, which wall shall extend the whole width of the auditorium and the whole height to the roof of the portion occupied by the stage. There shall be no openings through this wall except the curtain opening, one doorway each side behind the boxes, and one doorway which shall be located at or below the level of the stage. The doorways shall not exceed twenty-one superficial feet each, and shall have standard fire-doors hung in a manner satisfactory to the commissioner. The finish or decorative features around the curtain opening of every theatre shall be of fireproof material.
The proscenium or curtain opening of every theatre shall have a fire-resisting curtain reinforced by wire netting or otherwise strengthened. If of iron, or similar heavy material, and made to lower from the top, it shall be so arranged as to be stopped securely at a height of seven feet above the stage floor, the remaining opening being closed by a curtain or valance of fire-resisting fabric.
The part of the stage floor, usually equal to the width of the proscenium opening, used in working scenery, traps or other mechanical apparatus, may be of wood, and no flooring used thereon shall be less than 1 1/8 inch in thickness.
There shall be one or more ventilators near the center and above the highest part of the stage of every theatre, of a combined area of opening satisfactory to the commissioner, and not less than 1-10 of the area of the undivided floor space behind the curtain at the stage floor level. The openings in every such ventilator shall be closed by valves or louvres so counterbalanced as to open automatically, which shall be kept closed, when not in use, by a fusible link and cord reaching to the prompter's desk, and readily operated therefrom. Such cord shall be of combustible material, and so arranged that if it is severed the ventilator will open automatically.
Skylight coverings for ventilators shall have sheet metal frames set with double-thick glass, each pane thereof measuring not less than 300 square inches, or shall be protected with wire glass. If wire glass is not used, a suitable wire netting shall be placed immediately beneath the glass, but above the ventilator openings. Illuminating fixtures over the auditorium shall be suspended and secured in a manner approved by the commissioner.
Glass on illuminating fixtures over the auditorium shall be secured from danger of falling as the commissioner shall require, but in no case shall any glass more than 6 inches in diameter or length be hung over the auditorium unless protected from falling by a wire netting or similar device satisfactory to the commissioner.
All seats in the auditorium excepting those contained in boxes shall be spaced not less than 30 inches from back to back, measured in a horizontal direction, and shall be firmly secured to the floor. No seat in the auditorium shall have more than six seats intervening between it and an aisle, on either side.
The platforms for seats in balconies and galleries shall nowhere have a greater rise than 21 inches, nor be less than 30 inches from back to back.