Choosing a venue – points to consider.
Location, location, location,
These days a wide variety of venues are available to hire from village halls to city centre theatres but it often comes down to a choice of two or, if you are really lucky three.
Although the audience only need to access the theatre once, you and your dance school pupils will need to go several times including dress rehearsals for the dance show.
If the venue is too far away from your usual classes it may be difficult for parents to get the children there on time especially if they have to use public transport.
Does the theatre have easy, and preferably free parking, not only for you and boxes of props and costumes but for the performers, audience and helpers of the dance school? That includes the technical crew who may need to unload scenery, lights, video equipment etc.
Size is everything
You need to consider the size of the stage, backstage facilities and seating capacity of the auditorium.
If you teach in a small room the children will need practise to fill a large stage. Consider how many performers need to be onstage for the big finale.
If you have 200 pupils in your dance school, there maybe 150 families, making potential ticket sales to each family about 8 or more including grandparents, aunties and uncles.
That’s 1200 potential tickets. If your theatre only seats 220 per performance you will have to hold 5 or more performances or limit seat purchases. HOWEVER you have the opposite problem if your school is small and the theatre seats 800 +. Do the maths before booking as performing to empty houses is costly financially and not great for the performers.
Behind the scenes
Before booking take into account how many dressing rooms there are for use by your dance school.
You need to put your youngest performers far enough away from the stage so you cannot hear their chatter and seniors need to be nearer for their costume changes.
Is the changing area in the wings large enough for performers and scenery? How many wings are available ? That’s important to know before finalising your choreography.
Does the venue have adequate lighting or will you need to hire it in? Village halls may only have basic lights on stage but theatres are usually better equipped. There maybe an extra charge for the theatre lighting technician but it’s well worth it as they should know the system inside out.
How good are the sound desk and acoustics? Is it insulated or immune from external noise (not right next to an airport, for example). What restrictions are there on sound levels emitting from within the venue? Venues in residential areas often have restrictions on the start and finish time of the performance if there is to be loud music.
Do check if you are allowed to film your show or whether the management will make an extra charge.
Where can you put the video camera? As soon as you have booked your venue allocate a filming space before selling your seats.
Wherever you decide to hold your show, it will be a very exciting time for performers and the audience alike.
Careful forward planning will ensure YOU enjoy it too.