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How to Select and Prep a Performance Space

A man playing the guitar.

As a visual artist, you’ll frequently need to showcase your works at a suitable location. Whether it’s a play, recital, or dance, the chosen venue contributes to the overall experience. You want to work with space that enhances the full extent of your talent while also making it worthwhile for the audience.

Aesthetics matter when choosing a venue, but much more goes into making sure that the space is performance-ready. A lot rides on the decisions you make, and keeping several variables in mind should guide you through the entire process.

If you are not too sure about where to start, check out some of the performance spaces available near you for inspiration.

A woman playing the piano

What is the capacity of the event venue?

Putting on any type of live production means that you’ll have an audience in attendance. The number of anticipated guests directly influences several elements, including the size of the chosen venue.

Naturally, not everyone invited to the event will show up on the day. If your event is the type that offers admission based on the purchase of tickets, then it can give you a clear indication of how many people to expect.

Regardless, you still need to match the chosen space with the number of people expected to attend the event. Having a figure to work with guides other aspects of planning the performance, as well as choosing the right venue for your show.

Arranging the space optimally

The whole purpose of any performance is to keep your audience engaged. How you set up the venue equally matters. You may have a large auditorium to work with, even if the number of invited guests can’t fill up the available space.

You can rope off certain sections to have a bit of control over where your audience members sit. Ideally, they should occupy the front rows to get a good view of the performance.

Your audience members should have a clear and optimal view of the performance area or stage. Make sure that there are no obstructions like pillars that cut off any person’s view of the stage.

The heads of the people ahead can also obstruct the audience members’ view. That’s why auditoriums typically have elevated platforms with the seats taking up a slanted arrangement.

A man dressed in black holding a microphone.

Have a separate room/space for the performers

Go for a venue that has a green room close to the stage where the performers can congregate and make the final preparations before the event kicks off.

You might have to pay a separate fee for it, but it’s possible to reserve such a space as needed. Book it for the entire duration of the show if necessary, or only use it for half an hour before and after the performance ends.

Changing rooms are equally important for productions that involve multiple wardrobe swaps. Most performance venues provide such spaces at no extra cost.

Does the venue have great acoustics?

The ability to enjoy a good view of the stage is enhanced if every audience member can hear what the performers are saying. By nature, theatrical actors are trained to project their voices, but when performing at a large auditorium, it’s important to get acoustics right.

Have the necessary sound equipment available and set up ahead of time. It can include lavalier/lapel microphones or headsets for each performer. Also, account for the high ceilings and equipment noise.

You might also need the services of an audio/visual (A/V) professional if the venue doesn’t have a resident specialist on board. An A/V specialist can also advise you accordingly, depending on the nature of your showcase, as well as the number of guests attending the event.

A man playing the guitar.

Create the atmosphere

You need to set the scene for the performance because it also influences your audience’s overall experience. Several elements can help you set the right mood or tone for your event.

Lighting

Most performance venues have professional lights installed and positioned strategically. Playing around with dim and full light settings at different points sparks the intended emotion.

It also enhances the performance by functioning as a stylistic device aimed at maintaining the audience’s attention.

Food

You can serve the guests food before the main event, during an intermission or break, and after the performance ends. It’s entirely up to you whether or not to offer snacks for sale or have them included in the ticket price.

Just keep in mind that it prolongs the schedule and may increase the venue’s rates. That’s if you settle for a location that rents out performance spaces by the hour. You’ll also require the services of an event coordinator to regulate the flow of the scheduled activities. Again, most venues have someone to assist in this regard.

Choose the best performance space: final thoughts

Much like hosting any other type of event, you want your audience to have a pleasant experience. Every aspect that goes into planning a show is affected by the performance space you select. Having guidelines to work with helps a great deal and guarantees that you are adequately prepared to host the best performance yet.

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