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Starting a theater (Technically)

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Oobleck1441, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. Oobleck1441

    Oobleck1441 Member

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    Hello all, I work out of a suburban High school where I moved into as a job two years ago as a technical director.
    AS part of this I work with our younger school, we pack up all of our sound equipment and move to the other building adn set up there. What a joke!
    Anyways, now that the direct is seeing that we are getting somewhere production wise, she would like to make our younger buildings stage into a full blow theatre where all we would need to do is bring a crew and get to work.
    My problem... When I moved into this new spot, the guy before me had everything designed, created, and set-up so I have no idea what goes into creating a theatre.
    Does anyone know if there are any websites, book, or anything anyone would be able to help me get a list going of the necesties to start a theatre.
    I have an idea of all the basics but as far are specifics, Im clueless.. Thanks for any help ahead of time!
    Oobleck1441
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Yep, there is a book out there, its called the yellow pages. Call your local sound shop/theatrical supply house or go to ESTA.org and look up some local companies in your area. If you are looking to just bring in sound, call a local sound installer, if you are wanting audio, lighting, soft goods, and all that good stuff get a consultant in. I would highly suggest not trying to do this yourself, be involved but make sure you bring in someone that has done this many times before.
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    First off, it is worth talking to your local theatre supplier or contacting a theatre consulting firm as they can be valuable resources.

    I think we can probably help you out, but some more details are probably useful. It sounds like you are trying to revamp an existing space that is part of a school, yes? What kind of space is it? What is already in place? Is part of this project a renovation? Is there space for a scene shop? Do you have any existing gear? What is your budget? What do you want to be able to do, what kinds of shows are you producing?

    I know those are a lot of questions, but it will help us point you to the most helpful sources.
     
  4. Oobleck1441

    Oobleck1441 Member

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    Its is an old place that we used to use many years ago, that happens to be everyones favorite, A Cafe-torium But on the higher end of them.
    Currently we have no sound system, which si why we move everythinf from our highschool to the younger building adn start from scratch
    This is not apart of a state bond renovation nor district reno.
    Our existing gear, all we have is an old, not even grounded system that is breaking our fire codes and bulilding codes, but we happen to be grandfathered in.
    Our budget.. Ha well by no means are we trying to go all LED lighting, which is what we got a quote on becuase we were told it would be the best. But the disrict would not let a bill of $61,000 fly
    and the shows we run are basc. all musicals, on the lower end with younger groups, but the disrict has planned if we get this up and running, the area can be rented out.

    I kno that was alot of answers at one time, just trying to get anything that would help me out.. Thanks
     
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    So you are looking to do a decent lighting and sound package for a cafetorium. Probably the best thing to do is talk to your local theatre supplier. They should be able to consult on a project of that scale. You will need to know what your approximate budget is, or people will always try to push the most expensive gear on you.

    As footer mentioned, you really don't want to take this project on without some kind of professional consultant. Yon need someone who can look at electrical requirements and the electrical constraints of your space. You need someone who can recommend appropriate gear and install or teach you to install it properly. Establishing a good relationship with your local dealer is a very good thing as they will be the first people that you go to when you have problems.
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    First, the second you touch that system with any type of change, its no longer grandfathered and has to be brought up to code. And all LED Lighting.... wait 10-20 years and we'll talk. It sounds like they already have some bids out, might want to stay in contact with whoever did the bids initially. Re-doing a theatre is a huge investment, make sure its done right.
     
  7. Oobleck1441

    Oobleck1441 Member

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    Alright, thanks for the insight
     
  8. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    So, in what way(s) are you breaking fire/building codes?

    If you're saying the portable sound gear is unsafe, there is no "grandfathering" if you're moving it between spaces. "Grandfathering" is typically a way of dealing with older buildings that may not, for example, be ADA compliant.

    Are you a paid staff memeber? What is your background, if you're the TD?

    What kind of infrastructure is in the "younger school" now? Is there a room where amps could live? Is there a booth of any sort? Soft goods?

    Maybe some pictures would help.

    --Sean
     
  9. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    I think you need to determine what the other venue will be used for. Some questions that you and the director and/or administration* need to discuss:

    What kind of shows would be put on?

    Who will staff the venues? (that is, if something is going on at the main venue, how will the second be staffed?)

    How many shows per year?

    Will there be school and school-sponsored shows only, or will you rent the space out?


    [*I’m wary of school administration – you may not want to bring them in too early because they may dismiss any new expenditures. But a formal proposal/design will at least be properly discussed.]

    Joe
     

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