Author Topic: VENUES: Questions to Ask a Venue  (Read 4008 times)

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VENUES: Questions to Ask a Venue
« on: Jul 23, 2007, 11:01 pm »
I'm currently working on Helmet which is going to the NYCFringe in August. Yay!

We're going to the city on Wednesday to look at our venue for the first and only time before we tech there. I want to make sure that I ask all the right questions. Anyone have any good ideas? Things that one might typically not think about?

This checklist is certainly pointing me in the right direction.

I've been used to having people come in to use a space I've been working in, but not as much the other way - and definitely not for an entire run. When I worked on a college-orientation piece last summer we didn't see the space until we were in it and getting ready to perform, so I got pretty used to flying by the seat of my pants.


Edit : HTML doesn't work here, swapped it for for BBCode. -- PSMK
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 03:18 am by PSMKay »

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Re: Questions to Ask a Venue
« Reply #1 on: Jul 23, 2007, 11:26 pm »
The main ones are covered in that check list, however find out if the venue will be supplying a Technician On Duty aka Venue Tech. If not (which IMO is rare) then you will want to be told the location of things like patch points/tie lines/access equiptment/dimmer land etc.

I would find out if the venue has pneumatics plumbed to the stage (a pneumatic ratchet and nail gun can make the bump in so much faster), where hard power (non dimmed) can be found and just ask the general "Are there any tips you can give me for the venue?" question.


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Re: Questions to Ask a Venue
« Reply #2 on: Jul 24, 2007, 12:49 pm »
Not exactly questions but:

stage dimensions
stage depth in front of main curtain
stage depth behind main curtain
proscenium height
clearance of lights
what battens can be flown
any dead-hung battens
intermediate curtains
locations of battens
loading dock, doorway size



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Re: Questions to Ask a Venue
« Reply #3 on: Jul 25, 2007, 08:04 am »
I’d ask about what else is going on in the space the day or week of your tech and performance, and how that may affect you.  If other groups also use or have access to the venue, they might leave props or set pieces that will be in your way.  It could also limit the amount of time you have in the space.  Beware of other groups being booked right up until your scheduled start time; if that happens, they may still be cleaning up when you’re ready to get started, so you may want to call actors a bit later.  Whatever the venue tells you about space sharing, I’d check in a few times prior to tech to makes sure their answer, or the schedules of any other group, hasn’t change.  Other questions…
-Is there anywhere to store your props/costumes/set pieces?  Can you bring a lock and a box and leave that in the venue with your stuff?
-How is the house setup?  Are the chairs moveable?  Who decides on where the chairs are set, and who actually sets them up? 
-Who is your main point of contact for the days you will be at the venue?  Will that person be at the venue while you are working there (if not, get the name and number of the person who will be there, if anyone).   If your group is on its own in the space, what are the procedures for locking/unlocking the building?  Who do you call with technical problems?
-Ask specifically about house lights; they may be separate from the light board
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)


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Re: Questions to Ask a Venue
« Reply #4 on: Jul 25, 2007, 01:06 pm »
In addition to all of the great questions already posted, I would also ask if there is a space that can be used as a "production" office, that you would be able to have some where to plug in your computer, hang your coat, etc.

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Re: Questions to Ask a Venue
« Reply #5 on: Jul 26, 2007, 12:52 pm »
With Fringe, you'll want to find out how early before the show you are allowed to be in there (sometimes it's very, very tight from show to show), and how long you'll get to tech.  And the spaces vary a lot.  When I did Fringe 2 years ago, quirks of our venue included:

*a 4th floor walk up with an elevator in the other space across the hall, that could only be used when that space didn't have a show
*dimmers (of the non-permanent type) that were powered in such a way that usually normal loads caused half the lights to go out.
*a VERY limited amount of lighting
*curtains set up to enclose the stage area that left about 4' to the wall on ether side, in which to store the set pieces for all 4 shows that were using that venue, as well as my actors during the show
*No access to the "dressing room" once the show had started

Like I said, though, the spaces varied wildly.  I saw some shows in gorgeous spaces.  We weren't an Equity showcase, so we got one of the absolute worst.


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