Fringes and Festivals

As happens in a lot of cities, there is a major festival. This of course is great for the public, they get to see cutting edge theatre and riotous comedy. But let us look at the other side of the coin. You have a multitude of venues and a finite number of quality technicians. Now often there is not enough of these techs and the less well trained, under experienced or performers mates then get roped in to be lighting,audio and AV. Can you see the problem? As there are likely to be performers from across the globe and they are expecting a professional experience, but are going always going to receive that. Not according to some of the stories I have recently heard. There seems to be a perception that anyone can operate a lighting or audio desk with a few minutes tuition. Well unfortunately this is not the case, I have been guilty of training people to operate equipment, and you can tell they really have no idea of what it is really about and they are just there to help. So is there a solution to this? The only way around this would be to limit the amount of productions staged during the festivals or shows will have to travel with their own techs. The one thing that could be a problem is with found spaces being turned into venues, here you do need very experienced techs, in fact the ones that set up the space are the best in these types of venues. They know the space and can trouble shoot the set up easily. It also would be much better id the productions used the venue tech as well, these know the venue really well and they might cost a bit more but if they want a quality production that is the way to go. But you are still going to get a varying quality of techs and for that there is no real solution

The other is problem is the productions that seem to have forgotten that they might need to have a tech operate the show for them. I have recently come across this particular problem myself. They have this wonderful show, but they want a tech to work for next to nothing if not nothing, as they have not thought about this when they put their budget together for their production. Hey guys we do not work for nothing, we do need to eat and sleep like Directors and performers and we are a just as important to your production. So if you are thinking about putting a show on during a festival, do think about the technical aspect before you arrive, asking for students or work experience people to operate your show is an insult to professional techs. Leaving it to the last minute is just a joke and shows how little to respect the technical aspects of your show and the skills of a tech.

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