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Concert Planning - FAQ

Addressing the most frequently asked questions about concert planning, when hiring one of our venues.

How do we make our concert arrangements?

If you haven’t heard from us yet, contact our technical manager [email protected]
We allocate a venue technician to each event. Once we establish who that will be, they become your primary point of contact.

We appreciate that many groups are run by multiples or committee. To reduce cross-talk in these circumstances, we prefer that you nominate one or two production managers that can liaise with us and report back to your group.

This person should be someone with a high level of understanding of your production’s needs, and with the authority to make decisions.

What information do we need to supply?
  • A schedule of your activities while in the venue.
  • A stage plan - In part for our understanding, but also to know which parts of the stage to light.
  • A list of any technical requirements (sound, lighting AV).
  • A risk assessment for your performance.

We have a downloadable pre-production questionnaire form that outlines our basic needs.
From there, we can ask further questions based on your feedback.

What is an ideal timeline for concert planning?

The following timeline is suitable for an acoustic concert presentation.
Productions with technical components should engage in conversation at the first possible convenience.

More than 1 month prior to your show

  • Establish contact.
  • Identify key persons and their roles.

1 Month Prior to your show

  • Submit a completed technical questionnaire.
  • Schedule a production meeting if deemed necessary.
What technical equipment is included in the hire of the venue?

For a comprehensive overview, please refer to our Venue Technical Specification on our resource page.

In short:

  • The Auditorium includes the use of the lighting rig as it is, the sound system (speakers and 2 input mixer), and if you are an Affiliated Music Group (AMG), one hand-held radio mic.
  • The Recital Theatre is without any complete technical systems.
  • Any equipment sourced beyond this is hired in and on-charged to the hirer.
  • A complete rate card with an overview of these hire charges is included in the Venue Technical Specification.
We get some Venue Technician (VT) Time included in our hire. How does that work?

A set amount of Venue Technician (VT) time is included in any performance hire. Additional hours are charged at $40/hr. Included hours are typically up to 2 or 4 hours depending on the nature of your hire agreement. Please refer to your hire agreement to understand what is included for your specific event.

VT time encompasses any production related task for your event including:

Pre-production : Logistical or administrative tasks in advance

  • Production meetings
  • Technical design of lighting, sound, or staging systems
  • Arranging hire equipment

Venue preparations : Preparing the space for your event

  • Rigging and focussing lights
  • Installing AV, rigging, or staging
  • Setting up sound equipment, running sound-checks

Show Duties : Venue Technician for a show

  • Backstage H&S Officer
  • Backstage Fire & Security Warden
  • Backstage Security

Liaising with Front of House

  • Stage Management, Lighting or Sound Engineering (as deemed possible by complexity)

Venue Reset : Putting it back

  • Restoring any altered technical systems back to the house standard.
  • Working with your company to ensure all venue items are returned and spaces left tidy.
How can extra VT time (and cost) be reduced?

By utilising one of our community's venue certified Stage Managers (SM).
SM’s take on the Venue Technicians duties for a show call including the rudimentary operation of lighting and sound. This will reduce VT hours to pre-production and venue alterations.

Otherwise, be organised and make arrangements to self-manage where possible. Make clear plans in advance so that when you come to us to discuss your concert, you already have the big questions answered. This allows us to implement your additional needs with accuracy and in as little time as possible.

How does someone become a venue certified Stage Manager?

We offer an annual training session that allows any member of our user base over the age of 18 to become a venue-certified Stage Managers (SM). The SM course is run at the start of the year, usually at the end of January before Term 1 begins.
The course is free, although capped at 20 participants.

AMG’s automatically have 3 poisons available to them, while 8 positions are open for general attendance with online registrations advertised through our e-newsletter and backstage facebook page.

The course takes around 2.5hrs and covers all of the roles and responsibilities of an SM.

Attendants receive a take-home resource and are certified for that calendar year with annual refreshment by re-attendance.

For more info head over to our Stage Manager Training Page

Are the lights always set up and ready for a show?

Not specifically. Yes, they are always operable, but we don’t have enough lights to have all the stage use options ready to go at the drop of a hat.

With this in mind we require a clear indication as to what areas of the stage your performance will utilise, so we can ensure suitable coverage, otherwise, you risk dark patches.

You can almost always expect good light in the centre of the flat of the stage, but we would like to know:

  • Do you use the choir stalls? And If so, how many steps up will you go? Will you be full width?
  • Do you have an organist?
  • Do you require light all the way up to the walls on the flat?
  • Do you need spotlights?
  • Did you want any colours or other effects? etc.
What is the performer capacity?

140.

Our facilities fire regulations allow a maximum of 455 persons in the building at any one time.
Our max event staff is 15 (Box office, FOH, Ushers, Bar etc), and a capacity audience is 300, which leaves 140 persons to be elsewhere, whether that be on stage or backstage.

If you wish to present a performance with a larger cast, we are obliged to limit ticket sales to maintain our fire regulation compliance.

What is the pre-show timing for audiences?

The foyer doors open to the public 1 hour before a show.

The performance space doors open 30 minutes before a show.

Whether or not you wish to have the stage clear at that time is your decision.

ntervals are typically 15-20minutes.

Who is responsible for Health and Safety?

As a venue, The NCMA is responsible for providing a safe working environment, as well as establishing and educating users on venue use protocols including those that manage hazards, minimise risk and emergency situations. All of our venue

As venue users, you are immediately responsible for any hazards you might introduce. This includes notifying us as the venue on your intent and providing suitable management processes to reduce or remove the likelihood of harm.

As your venue, we are ultimately responsible for anything that knowingly occurs within our facility. As the overarching PCBU, we have the final say on how any activity or circumstance that introduces or increases risk might be managed, or whether it is allowed.

Ultimately, If a hazard with an associated risk of harm is identified, then action must be taken to (in the order of approach):

  • Remove the hazard
  • Prevent access to the hazard
  • Reduce the likelihood of harm through operational and then administrative controls.

For a comprehensive overview, head to our Health and Safety Page.

What advice would you suggest to make a show run smoothly?

The most important factor is the programming. In particular, consider your audience’s experience in the space between each of the pieces.

Reduce Stage Changes

Where possible, cluster like-performances to reduce moving around time. Whether that be shifting the piano between a solo and trio position, or down to details as innocuous as altering the stick height.

Build up, or down

If your show ends with a large ensemble, consider starting with a small one and add sections as you progress. That way you pepper the moving-things-around throughout the act and keep the momentum up. Conversely, you could start with a bang and work your way down towards something more intimate.

Use the natural breaks to your advantage

If you need to do a really big stage change mid-show, see if it can be saved until the interval.

While your audience refreshes and/or relieves themselves, you can throw a few extra people at the task of shifting everything around without the pressure of it being a performance in its own right.

Create a diversion

If you have an MC, you can use them to draw attention away from stagehands making changes.Save bigger speeches for large changes and you’ll kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Everything takes time

Make a run sheet of the concert length and add details like the time between pieces, MC speeches and stage changes. Be honest and then add 10% because it always takes longer than you want.
Worst case is that your show ends up a little bit shorter - but audiences really appreciate a snappy show!

Prep the wings for smooth entrances and exits

Line people up in the wings in the order they will appear on the stage. Also, leave a walkway so that any performers leaving stage can get off first.

Provide your own Stage Manager and stage-hands

We can’t recommend this enough. Having your own Stage Manager that knows the pieces, run order and can attend rehearsals ahead of time to identify sticking points is an invaluable asset to your organisation.

This person is also a natural fit to become a Venue Certified Stage Manager through training.

If you don't know, ask.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you are unsure of how (or whether) something will work.
Our goal is to help guide you to achieve your desired outcomes.

Did we miss something?

If you have any questions, get in touch with our Venue Technical Manager.