Planning for the Fringe – Part 2


Welcome back, now on to the second half were we look at things more from the artist side. We all need to remember the artist is often arriving in a strange city and a venue they know very little about. There are things an artist or performance group can do to make their time in the venue runs smoothly and reduce the stress.


So how do you make it run smoothly as the visiting company and crew? Well the first thing is to be on time. Also be totally aware that the venue and staff are actually under pressure not just from you but other groups and all at the same time. So when you arrive make sure you know what you want and are ready to get into the task of bumping in straight away. Listen to the venue staff in regards to safety and other venue requirements. You should already be familiar with what you need to set up, so make sure you have a plan of attack. Have multiple copies of your script, lighting notes, audio notes etc.  You may have already emailed this to the venue and the venues technician but it is still a good idea to bring copies with you. Make sure you have read all of the information before you arrive.

If you are as the artists are supplying the computer to playback the audio, there is plenty of reasonable software out there to use on PC’s and MAC’s. Just stay away from iTunes and Windows Media player, these are fine for home us but avoid them like the plague. For MAC’s I would recommend Q-LAB a professional piece of software. For PC’s use something Multiplay or similar Google is your friend. If then venue is supplying playback gear inquire what they use and what file format they require and then make sure you can supply exactly what they want. Also bring your audio on a CD as a backup, and make sure it is burnt as an audio CD not an MP3 disc. MP3 are not your friends when you require quality audio.

The bump in needs to run smoothly, so get your props out, your set assembled and then be ready to plot your lights and sound. If you are the one’s supplying the tech operators this is the time to get familiar with the equipment and make sure you know how it works and is it going to do what you need it to. This is the time to ask the venue technician those questions that only occur when you are on site. As we all know pictures, plans don’t always reveal the true story, things could change. Hopefully the venue has kept you up to date but equally you need to also keep the venue up to date with your production.

As a team you will need to work efficiently, there may be another group doing the same thing as you are straight after you have finished. Do not take too long in making decisions, we know they are probably important and may affect the way a show looks or feels, but sometimes you don’t have the time to be precious. You may get time later on to finesse the show but for the initial bump in you need to plough on and make it work. Now don’t forget if you are using the venue technician as your operator you will need to remember that they do not know your show. It is new to them. Make allowances for this, if you can make sure your cues can fall on a word cue. If the cue is a visual make it real obvious and remember the tech maybe looking at your script as this happens. You need to forgive if on the first performance or so if they make the odd mistake. It might be a good idea not to have the critics in on the first night if possible, your show will need to settle in and everybody get comfortable. Everybody wants your show to work and be successful so give them a chance; you have had weeks if not months of rehearsal and living with it.

Once you have it all up and running make sure that you thank the variety of outside people that have helped you get it up and running. Remember the venue is as interested as you in making your production a success as your accomplishment also has a flow effect for the venue.

You do need to remember that above all else you need to enjoy yourself and therefore the audience will also enjoy themselves, so go out there and make theatre.


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