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Your Perfect Venue

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Jezza, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    As part of my LONG TIME goals, I want to own/operate a venue somewhere in the US. After I'm sick of touring, want to settle down and have kids, all that jazz. I've been thinking about the actual venue itself a LOT lately -- I really want it to be as perfect in every respect possible -- hence the question:

    What are the most important parts of a venue for you? What set ups or systems have you seen that work really well that you would like to see everywhere else? What are some specific things you think could be implemented to create the perfect venue?
     
  2. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    The perfect venue would have a great crew and unlimited amounts of cash...
     
  3. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Must be historic.
    In my dreams it is this gem that sits near the banks of the Hudson River in Troy,NY.
    She is perfectly sealed with a new roof and windows, plaster repair and polish are all that's required.
    http://cinematreasures.org/theater/3113/
     
  4. Techiegirly

    Techiegirly Member

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    More than anything the perfect venue will have a TD/head honcho who isn't a complete jerk. My favorite house to work in doesn't pay the best and doesn't even have a fly rail system (we hang everything with chain motors that are moved around from event to event). The reason it's the best is that the TD is one of the nicest most understanding people I've worked for. He'll show you how to do something if you're not sure without making you feel like an idot for not knowing.
     
  5. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    I live about an hour south of Troy -- I'll have to go check this theater out.

    I know what you mean though. I feel a venue has to have some sort of history, some purpose, some character. I hope for my venue to be of the caliber of the venues that I lose and respect. Places like The Gorge, Red Rocks, SPAC, MSG etc have this sort of majesty and respect throughout the industry. I hope for my venue to someday be of that caliber. It will also be the 1st 100% sustainable venue in the country I'm hoping.
     
  6. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
    Stagehand/ Production Company Owner
    Location:
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    I'm about 3.5 hours West at the beginning of I88.
     
  7. cvanp

    cvanp Active Member

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    At first glance I thought that was Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady (which is relatively close to Troy). Kind of confusing since the one in Schenectady is a fully operating theatre, and just had a big expansion too. It is interesting that F.F. Proctor felt it necessary to have two theatres with the Proctor name so close together... but nonetheless it would be pretty cool to run a venue.
     
  8. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    If you want to see the closest thing to perfection in a theatre just go to Radio City Music Hall in NYC. The ONLY downside I see is the load in, if the stage was street level life would be easier.

    Otherwise it is the best venue with the best crew I've ever had the pleasure to work in.
     
  9. kovacika

    kovacika Active Member

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    I'm right next door to both Proctor theaters, and would love to see the Troy Edition restored to its former glory. The Proctor's in Schenectady is thriving, I actually worked there for a year immediately following the expansion. It be very cool to see another old theater (such as the Palace in Albany, or the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall) in the area operating.

    oh---A fully sustainable theater? How will you manage to do that.....there is so much waste involved in the lighting aspect alone.....you could reduce the waste of a theater, but idk if you could make it completely sustainable. your ideas?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2007
  10. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Which would require plaster and new fabrics.
    Almost hermetically sealed.
    Probably a couple million for the building though.
    Last I heard RPI was trying to give it to the city.
     
  11. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    We had a local theatre that re-opened about 3 years ago. Just worked there about a month and a half ago, hadn't been in it yet. Well, they of course added on a nice 3 bay dock. When I walked in at 6am I thought, this looks great, which way the the theatre. One of the guys pointed to this 9'x24' scissor lift that was built into the floor. I then thought, well that will slow everything down but at least its big. Then, I read the sticker on it that said 4000# max..... So basically they have to lift everything up 20' on this lift, and the lift is huge, but you throw a case of feeder and a meat rack or two and your full. It was a slow in. So... my perfect venue always has a nice 3-4 truck dock at dock level with nice dock plates and good dock lighting. Enough room to hold 2 trucks worth of gear and enough room to get really long stuff out of a truck... and the truck has to stay LEVEL!

    Also, upstage/downstage tab battens are nice, 2 of them each side.
     
  12. kovacika

    kovacika Active Member

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    The school owns it? Would the city even consider taking it?
     
  13. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
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    1000 or more dimmers and not a single circuit repeating, especially on the stage.

    A well maintained inventory with all common lights of the past and present.

    Wired and ready for all protocol and control systems currently available.

    Easy access to the weight, lock and pin rails.

    Well thought out cross-overs.

    Large wing space.

    A caring crew. Dedicated, hard working, passionate, and fun to hang with after the show.

    I feel like I could go on for hours.

    My favorite theatre here in the Detroit is the Old Redford. Built in the 20's, it's an old restored vaudeville house. They still show old B&W and silent movies from a carbon arc projector. The pipe organ is fully functional and a marvel to hear. The lighting is all original except for a Strand lighting board and dimmer rack. Footlights, mini-scoop border lights, it just an amazing place. History hasn't been kind to many of Detroit's (and the surrounding area's) theatres, but those that have survived, The Gem, The Opera House, The Fox, The Masonic, and more just have this spirit in them, this feeling of history, that when you walk on those stages you are, in a sense, able to time travel.
     
  14. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    For anyone interested in "ye old times" stagecraft, give you local masonic loge a call, most have theatres built in the 1910's to 1930's that have untouched theatres in them. Most of the guys take pride in keeping them in working order. Their drops are usually pretty amazing.
     
  15. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Moving this thread to "Theatre Management and Development" to include more than just Lighting.

    To anyone considering purchasing/restoring any theatre built from 1900-1960 (and maybe even later) the first thing you need to consider is demolishing everything from the proscenium line upstage, and rebuilding the stagehouse to at least twice it's existing dimensions and three times the height of the proscenium. Make sure it's not land-locked, as so many houses in downtown locations are. Then leave at least 75' x 50' for three trucks to back up into the dock. Overhung fly system with battens every 6", at least 12' longer than the prosc. opening on each side, all the way to the upstage wall, and an at least 6' wide crossover corridor upstage of the stage wall. Several "star dressing rooms" on stage level, with chorus dressing rooms and laundry one flight down. Elevator to basement and grid.

    Now for the auditorium, figure out a way to carve out AP Beam Slot positions and not totally wreck the visual appeal of the ornate ceiling. Cleveland's Playhouse Square's State Theatre is a good example. In fact, all the theatres are very well done. The Palace's stage should be larger, but it's land-locked. Be prepared for a touring Broadway show to hang an ugly 50'-60' FOH Lighting truss and PA in front of your gorgeous and meticulously restored Proscenium Arch. And booths: at the rear of the orchestra for lights, video, stage manager, VIP, and crying room. Another as high as possible for followspots, with 35/70mm film projectors and digital video projectors at center, then two followspots (SuperTroupers [Lycian1290] or Gladiators [Lycian 1293/4] depending on throw) on each side of that.

    Bring all lobby and audience access up to current ADA standards. Install the proper amount of restrooms. Have an interior and exterior box office. Plus coat-check, souvenir, and refreshment stands. Get an alcohol license, that's where the big profit is.

    Possible to do this for around $30-50 million, but will likely cost more.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2007
  16. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

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    Thank you all for your quick responses. This has been excellent. As we seem to have moved towards talking about restoration, I'd like to highlight what was recently done to the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, NY.

    Built in 1869, the theater has gone through three major restorations to date. During the late 20th-century, they even had a wrecking ball and demo crew outside the loading door ready to tear the stage house and would have succeeded had it not been for a very dedicated group of supporters and friends of the theater. The theater has been declared an architechtual landmark by New York State and receives rather extensive funding from various historical societies and organizations.

    Several years ago it received a rather large grant to update the stage house (everything from the plaster line and upstage). As a result, the entire stage house was gutted, a new floor was put down, new bridges, rails, and loading levels were installed that were up to code and could support our standard weight levels, a new dimmer floor was built for our two ETC Sensor Racks, more storage areas added, up-to-code fire protection, etc. The Bardavon, being a historical house, must remain a hemp (poly-blend as it now is) and sandbag house. Sure it takes longer to get things ready to fly and such, but we have very experienced hands on our pin rails whom we all trust extensively. Most recently, we just moved around all the loft and head blocks to accommodate a line set every 9". The house itself is beautiful and incredibly ornate. There is a very large push in the community to restore the soundboard and walls back to their former glory which were long painted over. There are several exposure windows throughout the house that give audience members a hint as to what they might look like. We are currently working on scrims to hang over our line array to make them "blend" a little better into the overall architecture of the house.

    kovacika- fully sustainable in every sense of the word. We would have a large enough solar or wind (depending on the location) array to sell back to the grid substantially during the day so that our accumulated usage during the evening would eventually = 0. Hydrogen is a possibility -- we'll have to see where that industry is in a few years. Climate control accomplished by geo-thermal (reinforced by electric heaters/AC) which is a carbon neutral process aside from the materials -- as are solar and wind energy.

    We will have an extensive network of local farmers and growers whom we will support tremendously. I hope to purchase all the food for my employees, as well as for the audience, from local producers. We will have a bio-diesel refueling station on site for all the touring productions to refill at their convenience, created from corn and whatnot from local farmers.

    Trucks will never be allowed to idle -- shore power ALWAYS available.

    Obviously, the full compliment of recycling practices will be implemented. We'll use the vegetable oil from the kitchens to power all the company vehicles.

    Audience members will be encouraged to carpool or use mass-transit. Free parking or discounted tickets for those who do. W/e, some sort of incentive.

    Touring groups will be educated as to how to decrease their impact as they walk in the door. There won't be any unnecessary lamps burning or energy or sound waste. Sound pollution is a real thing as well.

    Carbon offsets will be made during the initial building process to counteract the shipping of materials and the way their removal from the environment will affect the environment. Not sure yet how these will be accomplished.

    These are just some of the many ideas myself and my group of interested parties have in mind. Always open to suggestions or thoughts -- I want not only myself and the people whom have already dedicated themselves to the future of this project, but also the rest of the industry to feel a sense of ownership over this project. I want this venue to be a place where a touring LD or crew member can feel at home, can be relaxed, can have the best crew with the easiest load-ins and outs, with the nicest management and the easiest stage to work on and feel good that for once on their tour, their lighting and sound and trucks are not negatively affecting the environment.
     
  17. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Freelance Lighting Programmer/grandMA Trainer
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    a place where you access everything you need in every spot

    want a mic there, open the floor and you have all u need


    want to pack em in, a diffirent mix spot all run of cobranet, all you have to do is how power and ethernet
     
  18. Grommet

    Grommet Member

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    The perfect theater would be made out of legos.

    I made a stage out of legos once and i could easily reconfigure the shape and levels being able to reuse the pieces.

    i had some pneumatic legos and was able to build stage sections that slid out and retracted.



    There is always something in the way whether its door clearance or special cable runs.

    With legos i can make the proscenium as wide as i want. i can mount sets where ever.
    No casters. they just stick on to those little dots. and lift off when you are done.
     

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