Planning for the Fringe – Part 1


Well in Adelaide it is that time of the year that venues are thinking about the rigs that are going to be installed for the Adelaide Fringe 2014. For some venues there is a lot to take into consideration. Some of them will be starting from scratch and others will be working with a least some sort of infrastructure in place, like theatre and other venues that often host events and performances. Similarly the same could be for any Festival type event, like Edinburgh. The aim is to present great theatre smoothly.


Most venues will try an accommodate  as much the artist requirements, but the more performers putting on shows the harder it becomes to give everybody what they would love. So it then becomes a time of compromise for the performers. In fact one idea would be for the performance groups are to actually see if they are going to use anything in common. This could be from props to a lighting special. You will often find that venues will have very fast turnaround times between several performances each night, so the production needs to be able to cater to that technically. Such as a well-rehearsed crew who can bump in and out a production in 10 to 15 minutes, often the cast will also get involved in this change over as well. The venue should make sure that everybody knows who each of the performing groups are and get them to talk. If the various acts are working together it will make the venues job easier and the shows will flow seamlessly from one to the other.

To make things happen fast the venue needs to put into place a few guidelines that all companies will need to follow. Certainly there can be no favouritism on the part of the venue to any artist; they all need to be treated the same way. The venue needs to have a versatile standard lighting rig in place that hopefully can cope with several different types of show. This is best designed by a designer familiar with the venue and who has an understanding of all forms of the performing arts. They should talk with the companies that are going to perform at the venue and get some idea of what they would like. It is at this stage that the designer may be able to incorporate some design elements from all of the performing companies.  The sooner the design is completed the sooner everybody knows what is going on, the plan can be forwarded to all the relevant people within the companies along with patch charts, magic sheets, colour list and anything else relevant. Other elements need to be taken into consideration as well, such as audio and AV. More and more these days’ performers are requiring projections as part of their show so a projector and a playback device are going to be needed and who will supply? Some venues have projectors, but often they might expect the artist to bring a laptop to play back their source material or they might expect it as only one or two types of media file – like Powerpoint. This all needs to be discussed early on and not left until bump in day. Audio is also a major part of shows, some artist bring CD’s but more and more are turning up with USB sticks with the audio in a variety of formats, this means the venue is going to need a computer to play them back and the right sort of software to make that magic happen.

Other documents that can be very useful are things such as stage measurements, but even more important could be measurements for the limited storage areas that most venues have. Storage space is always a premium in a lot of venues and when you have several companies it is doubly so. The companies need to be aware that they need to keep their props and sets to the minimum. Measurements of the storage areas will be useful. Photographs are also a useful tool as well, the giving the visiting artists an idea of what to expect. The more information that a venue can give a visiting artist to more comfortable the artist will be and the more smoothly the event will happen.  The venue needs to also come up with a schedule for bump in’s and rehearsals, this needs to be sent out as soon as it is completed to see if it will work with the visiting artists. It has to be remembered that it is likely that some companies are coming from interstate or overseas and this schedule needs to tie in with them arriving. As some artists are getting straight off a plane and heading to the venue.

An information package is a great way of giving the artist a lot of information, and it can also be a welcome pack and in this you can include:

Lighting plans
Audio plans
Equipment lists
Venue plans
Venue rules
Venue WHS policy
Venue contacts
Emergency contacts like doctors etc
Local business like food, restaurants, hotels dry cleaners
Map of how to find venue

Well that is part one part two will follow in the next day or so.



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