Audience Seating

Wooden nogaku stage with theatre style seating to the front and the side of the stage
The Yokohama Noh Theatre in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

The audience is seated both in front and to the left of the stage. The seating to the front of the stage is referred to the as the “front-stage seating” and the seating to the left is referred to as the “side-stage seating.” Actors play to audiences on both sides. In many theatres, the audience chairs are standard folding theatre seats fixed to the floor. However, the more traditional theatres, such as the Ōe Noh Theatre in Kyoto (below), seating is comprised of terraced box seating, covered with tatami (straw mats) and zabuton (flat floor cushions), with movable folding chairs at the front on ground level. Seats at the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo (below) are equipped with screens on the back of chairs that display titles (in a choice of languages) to enhance audience enjoyment of the plays. Nōgaku theatres usually seat between 400-600 people.

Side seating of a nogaku stage comprised of tatami terraces and metal folding chairs.
Ōe Noh Theatre in Nakagyō Ward, Kyoto
Audience seats at along the front and side of the nogaku stage with small screens for title viewing.
National Noh Theatre in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo