- Clarify all times and dates (of rehearsals, pack in and out, performances, how long you get in the space before and after) and whether you will be penalised if you happen to over-run.
- What are the venue charges?
- How many people does the venue hold (capacity)?
- What is their emergency procedure?
- What equipment does the venue have available?
- Does it have everything you'll need or will you need to hire extra equipment?
- Is your event the only production to be using the venue during this time?
- Is there somewhere you can store your gear (e.g. props, set etc) that is safe and out of everyone's way? Does your venue have insurance that will cover you in the event of theft, loss or damage, or is this something you need to investigate yourself? This may apply if you are hiring additional gear.
- Do they have seating available? How many can they seat? If your show is cabaret style, do they have tables? How much will it cost to hire these fixtures?
- Do they have box office/FOH staff, or will you need to provide your own? Where will they sit/be to greet the audience? What tools do they need?
- Can the venue help with publicity? What do they do already that you can piggyback (e.g. social media, email lists, regular listings in gig guides, and access to their database/website)?
- Is there anyone the venue wants to give complimentary tickets to? Is there anyone that normally gets in for free or a discounted price? normally gets in for free?
- Do they have security? When does it start?
- Will they be handling payouts? What is the expected amount of time this will take?
- What safety measures are in place relating to Covid-19? What are they at each level of restriction? Who is in charge of ensuring these are in place? Please make your whole team aware of any and all restrictions, as these can come rapidly.
A venue contract is a formal agreement between your group and your venue. This will ensure that both parties are clear on any arrangements you have made and safeguard both parties in the event of any change in circumstances.
Your venue contract should include:
- Venue hire charges
- Performance and rehearsal dates and times
- Liability of each party relating to damage, theft, loss, debt, costs etc
- Responsibilities of each party regarding expenses, venue use, stage management, and front of house.
- Responsibilities of each party regarding performances, administration, facilities, and marketing.
- Insurance details
- Ticket sales, booking fees, complimentary tickets, who will provide the hard tickets, who will provide a float and bank the door sales takings, whether box office income will be split between the venue and group with any applicable minimum figures.
- Alterations and termination of the agreement (notice to be given, costs incurred, etc).
Ask for a floor plan of the venue with the stage marked on it in perspective. If you have to, measure the place yourself. You may want to ask:
- How big is the stage in metres? Make sure you know exactly how much space you need
- How high is the stage from the floor?
- Are there steps up from the floor to the stage?
- If the stage is made of rostra, are they heavy enough not to move when jumped around on? Can they be bolted together?
In terms of the location of the stage, you could ask:
- How far is the stage from the dressing room?
- What is the access between the stage and the dressing room?
- Where is the stage in relation to the majority of the audience?
- Are there any impediments to the sightlines
You’ll also need to know lots of information about the backstage area:
- Is there any room at the side or back of the stage for a stage manager/props/cast to be hidden?
- Is there a dressing room space?
- Is it big enough for your cast and crew?
- Are there other spaces in the venue that you could use for this purpose?
- Does it have costume racks?
- Does it have mirrors?
- How long does it take to get from the dressing room to the stage?
- Where is it in relation to a toilet and sink?
- Will anyone else have access to the dressing room, Is it lockable?
LIGHTING & SOUND
Make sure you have a good handle on what the venue has available in terms of technical equipment. You may want to check if they have a technician around who knows the venue/equipment and can help you out. Sometimes, having a house tech is a compulsory part of your venue contract and comes with a fee. Make sure you check this when you book your venue.If you’re not across the ins and outs of technical theatre equipment, find someone who you can take with you or give us a bell - we can help decipher the lingo for you.
It pays to look around if you are intending to hire equipment. Different hire centres can vary in available equipment, conditions of rental, and price. Here are some local hire centres for you to consider:
Grouse Lighting. - grouse.co.nz
MJF Lighting. - mjflighting.co.nz
Hire Pool. - hirepool.co.nz
Oceania Audio. - oceaniaproductions.co.nz
AV Services (audio visual). - avservicesltd.business.site
Propeller Studios (props). - propellerstudios.co.nz
Peak Audio Services. - peakaudio.co.nz
Vidcom (audio visual). - vidcom.com
APRA is the Australasian Performing Right Association. It licenses people for the public performance or authorisation of public performances of music. APRA is a non-profit association of NZ and Australian music writers, together with affiliated overseas societies who have pooled their repertoires (2.5 million works) so that the organisation can collect license fees on their behalf and distribute them as royalties. APRA royalties help keep musicians working so that everyone can enjoy the music as it is often the only way some musicians get paid.
If your show is a public performance containing music not written by you or members of your show, you will need to have a music release signed by the composer or an APRA license. This is because composers have a number of rights under the NZ Copyright Act 1994, which allows them to make a living from their creativity. These include the right to control the public performance of their music. This means any performance occurring outside the domestic or private environment and includes radio, TV, DVD, CD, Karaoke, DJ or live music.
Some premises will already have an annual Live License with APRA, if your venue does not ordinarily play music and you will be using music for your show you will need a Casual License with APRA. Licensing information and forms are available from APRA
The team at APRA have worked with independent artists and festivals for a long time and are very friendly. We definitely suggest getting in touch with them as soon as you know you want to use licensed music as part of your event. It can sometimes take a long time (month even) to lock in licensing.
Freephone 0800 69 2772 x 797