Concert planning FAQs

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

If you haven’t heard from us yet, contact our venues 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 in the lead up to your event.
We appreciate that many groups are run by multiples or committee. To reduce cross-talk in these circumstances, we prefer that you nominate one production manager 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.
  • 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).
  • Your approximate pack-in and pack-out times.

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.
  • Send through any marketing material, including blurbs and images to [email protected]

1 Month Prior to your show

  • Schedule a production meeting (in person or via phone/online) if deemed necessary, with the Technical Manager and/or Venues Manager.

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 Pastorius Waller 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 available by contacting the Technical Manager. 

A set amount of Venue Technician (VT) time is included in any performance hire. Additional hours are charged at the current rate stated on the hire rate card. Included hours are typically 3 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.


Our facility’s 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.

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.

Intervals are typically 15-20minutes.

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. 

As venue users, you are immediately responsible for any hazards you might introduce. This includes notifying us as the venue of 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 the Health and Safety section on our Resources Page.

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, 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.

Our goal is to help guide you to achieve your desired outcomes.

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