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Policies and Regulations for a theatre

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by ETCspot, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. ETCspot

    ETCspot Member

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    I'm updating our Policies and Regulations document for the performing arts center I manage. I would love to get CB member's input on this. Please take a look and let me know your thoughts. I know there is alot to it, but in this litigious age, one can't be too careful. Please let me know of any suggestions you may have. THANKS!

    Here is the link. Note that it is hosted on a .edu.
    http://www.gadsdenstate.edu/lfa/wallacehall/stageanevent/policiesdraft.doc
     
  2. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    I can't believe I read that entire thing...
    Personnally, it seems that everything needed is there, just one word needs to be removed from a sentence. #15 under general policies. "Wallace Hall staff have has no direct control over the heating and cooling systems."
    Did you get Lost and Found items in there somewhere?

    I'm probably missing something...
     
  3. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a lawyer, and people will probably disagree with me on this, but my initial thought is to actually see if you really need everything there. If I were renting your space, I would be a little turned off by all that verbiage. For example, I'm pretty sure I saw something that said that any show longer than 1 hour and 15 minutes MUST have an intermission. If there's a specific reason for this (local rule/law, a club wants to sell concessions, etc.) then it makes sense. But if not, then is it really necessary? Obviously protecting your theatre from damage and liability is a big deal, but there is a thin line between reasonable protection and overkill.
     
  4. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    So then, tell us about the problem event you had most recently that prompted this...

    And do tell, this Stage Manager, is whom?
     
  5. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    I don't know what type of events are planned but that will directly conflict with most band riders. I have to admit that the use of the word "control" rather than something like coordinate would concern me if I was coming in, especially as it also encompasses equalization. I personally think you would be much better off to have defined sound level limits than to basically make it sound like it is at the whim of whomever is there.
     
  6. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    I will send a bunch of comments by PM.

    Joe
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    You need to get a lawyer to look over some of that contract, because many of the sections will not stand up in court.

    I bring in a show into your venue, and your power surges or rigging point falls due to your negligence, I am coming after you.
     
  8. ETCspot

    ETCspot Member

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    Hey guys,

    Thank you so very much for your honest opinions. This is exactly the reason I wanted to post this. It appears I might have gotten into "stage nazi" mode when I added some of these.

    This is a venue that is used for over 140 events annually ranging from theatre, ballet, concerts, dance shows (yes the "Miss Whoever School of Dance shows we all despise), graduations, small touring shows, and even body-building competitions.

    Most of the policies are a direct result of the "Schools of Dance" events. It never fails. They have a dangerous amount of kids on stage and backstage. They mistreat the facilities, are rude to staff, and the list goes on. Regretfully we are not in position to deny them rental of the hall because of the revenue generated. I'm considering creating a "School of Dance" Addendum and slice the Policies and Regulations page by half. The addendum would cover us on the issues that are created by only a select few renters.

    To rochem:
    We typically require an intermission (one) to increase the sale of concessions (a major source of revenue for the tech department) and (two) to cut down on the bathroom trips during certain events. In reality we would be very flexible in this I'll likely just remove this provision.

    To waynehoskins:
    Hahahaha! You found me out. Dance Shows are horrible and I can barely get staff to agree to working them. The stage manager in this facility is the Technical Director... bizarre titling I know.

    To museav:
    This is another "nazi" remark on my part. In reality, a touring show can use their own rig and have pretty much total control. The only time we would be involved is if the level of sound became "unsafe" (i.e. db'ss through the roof). I'll change this to be less overlording.

    Footer:
    The renter signs a Lease Agreement which refers to this document. This document must be notarized and signed in view of an agent of the college. While verbage like this is vague, it is simply designed to protect the college in the event of utility failures that may be outside of anyone's control. Thanks for your comment and I'll be researching further into this.

    Thanks again guys. Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated!
     
  9. ETCspot

    ETCspot Member

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    So I just went through and removed things that are a result of only one or two events. I've cut nearly half of the original document and clarified things. Let me know if you'd like me to repost it.

    THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR COMMENTS.
     
  10. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    MUCH nicer. Now that is something I would read when casually looking for a venue for my next show. Just a couple of things:

    I would recommend removing this completely. While I do see your purpose behind it, this can apply to anything if you're not careful. You reserve the right to set final intensity levels on the lights to conserve lamp life, you reserve the right to limit use of the rigging system to save on wear-and-tear, you designate specific seats that the group can use to prevent over-wear of a certain seat, etc. Obviously those are somewhat over-the-top, but they get the point across. I would think that this statement:

    would cover that, so you would not need to include it. As someone else said, if I was looking for a theatre to use and I find out that all my intensity values on channels need to be approved by the House Lighting Staff, who then submits a "Request for Change in Lighting Values" form to the VP of Lighting at the theatre, who then either accepts or denys said change, and then the outside group has 60 days to submit a formal appeal in writing, then I would not be using your space. (For some reason, I seem to be using lots of vast overstatements tonight. Don't read anything into it.)


    To sum it all up, just be careful where you draw the line between reasonable protection and overbearing. You can't possibly list everything that could go wrong in this document. For example, according to those poicies, I would be totally within the rules if I walked in without pants on (only shirt and shoes required) and started up a game of tackle-duck-duck-goose with a group of over-age-18 cast members. Again ignoring the absurdity of that statement, my personal thought would be to stick with more general statements and let the on-site house personnell determine what can and what cannot be allowed.

    Although as someone who's spent hours on a floor scraping up tiny confetti paper, I applaud your inclusion of statement :).

    (Disclaimer: I am most definitely not a lawyer, so don't take my advice and then try to blame me when you get a group of over-age-18 adults who want to hold a tackle-duck-duck-goose party in your theatre.)
     
  11. ETCspot

    ETCspot Member

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  12. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    A couple of things that jump out at me:

    "safe db levels" - technically incorrect. The unit is abbreviated dB, but it's not a unit, it's a ratio. The dB is used to compare all sorts of measurements: voltage, power, audio signal, radio signal strength, signal-to-noise, and no on. What you're talking about are safe sound pressure levels.

    the "throwing of objects or substances from stage or elsewhere" - This I don't get. This means an actor can't throw a prop to another actor. Why is this in there?

    It also still says that if you screwed up the tie-in you did to my dimmer rack and blew up my rack, it's not your fault.

    Specifics aside, it looks better, but it still seems a little over-the-top. Especially in perspective: you're a junior college, right? I understand that you need to protect your facilities and your time, but it seems just a little bit more in line with the performing arts center at the university (architecturally and financially independent of any departments) than with the auditorium at the junior college.
     
  13. ETCspot

    ETCspot Member

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    "safe db levels" - technically incorrect. The unit is abbreviated dB, but it's not a unit, it's a ratio. The dB is used to compare all sorts of measurements: voltage, power, audio signal, radio signal strength, signal-to-noise, and no on. What you're talking about are safe sound pressure levels.

    You are exactly right... I'm a LD first and foremost... how should I word this?


    the "throwing of objects or substances from stage or elsewhere" - This I don't get. This means an actor can't throw a prop to another actor. Why is this in there?

    We occasionally have youth rallies or concerts. In the past, performers have thrown CD's, and other merchandise into the crowd. Certainly a liability although I'm not sure having a warning on the document helps in any way.


    It also still says that if you screwed up the tie-in you did to my dimmer rack and blew up my rack, it's not your fault.

    What specifically are you addressing? How can I rephrase it?


    Specifics aside, it looks better, but it still seems a little over-the-top. Especially in perspective: you're a junior college, right? I understand that you need to protect your facilities and your time, but it seems just a little bit more in line with the performing arts center at the university (architecturally and financially independent of any departments) than with the auditorium at the junior college.

    I certainly understand your point. However, this is not a tiny 1,500 student junior college. It is a large 8,000 student college with a 4-year university center on campus in a mid-size market for the southeastern US. The number of events and patrons annually at this facility is far greater than the typical two year college facility. That said, we operate a bit differently and offer bigger, and better services in our center than most community colleges can afford or present. The Fine Arts Center operates virtually independent from the academic affairs of the college. I'm trying to find that fine line of appropriate policy that protects the interests of the school and also makes us an organization that is easy to work with and cooperate with.

    Thanks again for your input.
     
  14. ETCspot

    ETCspot Member

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    So I just figured out how to
    . Sorry if my reply was difficult to read.... one learns new things every day.
     
  15. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    The correct way to measure sound pressure levels is db SPL. If you want to get picky, and some groups will, you should either specify A, or C weighted, and where it will be measured at. Maybe something like....For the safety of our patrons, a 105 db (A weighted) limit will be enforced, measured at the mix position, or back of house, or wherever. As mentioned this may cause some conflict with bands whose riders ask for total control over the volume. If you are going to put this in, get a meter so you can accurately measure it, and be prepared for a show to ask you to see it if there is a conflict.
     
  16. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    On the sound levels, many facilities will state a maximum level (dBSPL, A-weighted is pretty typical) at some location (FOH is also pretty typical as long as it is a fixed location, otherwise some other defined position in the listener area) and then have an inexpensive meter to be able to verify the levels, it doesn't necessarily matter that the meter is extremely accurate as long as it is consistent so that everyone plays by the same rules. This is probably the best approach as it is objective and gives renters some idea in advance of what levels they will be able to run. Alternatively, if you don't want a numerical criteria then you might say something like that if multiple complaints are received regarding the sound levels, the college reserves the right to reduce or limit the sound levels to more acceptable levels as determined by the comments/complaints received.

    Terms like "safe" can get into a areas you may not want to enter. For example, on sound levels your only real criteria for what defines "safe" might be local noise ordinances regarding noise to neighboring properties or OSHA, which doesn't really apply to an audience but someone could argue should be followed. The problem with those is that they can get into much more complicated and comprehensive monitoring that would have to be done for every event and may not really even be directly relevant. Another facet is that if you ever define something as 'unsafe' then you would also probably need to apply that same criteria to any of your own events and activities.

    In general, I feel that objective criteria is usually preferable to subjective decisions as it gives the renter a basis to work with and avoids it coming down to personal opinion. You may also want to consider using some language such as "beyond the college's direct control" in some cases, for example that might help with addressing system failures or outages that you can't control while not leaving the renter at risk for problems that could have been avoided.

    I would definitely get an Attorney to review it and probably also the party responsible for liability insurance for the college, they may have some specific concerns or requirements.
     
  17. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    An example of this would be our 2600 seat amphitheatre. We have an 85 db cap measured at the back of the house. This is an area where we cannot budge, as our lease with the city of Laguna Beach specifies that db limit. As such we are required to enforce it on any outside group using our facilities.
     
  18. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Just a different view - what is the goal? I have about a four page document that sounds exceedingly grumpy, which was written after my facility was continually abused by renters, and primarily dance groups. It does sound hostile, but I would gladly reduce the number of renters, and I need renters coming in to understand that we are a high school, and not a rental house. I want mine to sound serious and severe, or we get trampled.

    A professional theater with a professional crew, in the business of making money, can handle things differently.

    I forget the exact wording, but our agreement says that renters must use house supplied crew. The facilities director has the discretion to override this if a rental wants to bring their own people. It gives us the leeway to keep control, unless we feel the group is bringing in professionals.
     

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