Working With Venues

When looking for a venue, try to research places that have hosted similar projects before or places other people have used. These venues are more likely to be properly equipped for the kind of work you are doing. Most venues will charge a hiring fee. They may ask you pay a damage deposit and sign a contract to ensure capacity limits are not exceeded. Sometimes venues will support your project when it is included in their programme. In this situation, approach venues early on in the planning of your project. Leave room for the partner venue to contribute and collaborate in the production.

Ensure the venue understands the project and what technical equipment or support you will need. Depending on the project, a venue could be a concert hall, auditorium, theatre, pub, museum or gallery etc. Make sure you know what is available at the venue and what you may need to source. This includes lighting, seating arrangement, tables, cables and technical equipment (ie. sound system and projector). Know what equipment the artists need and ask for tech specifications. You may need to hire any equipment they cannot provide. You can also speak with the technicians at the venue to help with the arrangement. Make sure everyone is kept in the loop of how the project is progressing. Send them the press release for proofing. Get in touch with the marketing person (if there is one) and see how you can collaborate on promotions.

Work out an agreement with the venue on dates and responsibilities. Ensure clear communication and understand any rules or regulations for using the space. Check opening hours, security, bathroom access, fire exits, equipment storage, and artist area of the venue. Consider the audience numbers and how they will enter and leave the space and where they will be seated or expected to stand. Consider the set up for the artists and where they will be situated within the space. If it is a concert venue, consider the bar and food services and how people can make purchases either from tokens or cash. Also consider the placement of merchandise (if any).

Words of Advice

Any partner likes to be involved from the get go, otherwise it’s someone else’s project. Conceptually, it’s always more desirable if you’re going to be a co-commissioner or a co-partner to work together from very early on, especially if someone else comes along with another proposal

– Irene Revell, Electra

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