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TOPIC: Live performances

Live performances 02 Jan 2001 23:06 #1120

I have been contacted by a local non-profit group who want to use my theatre for live performances. I thought I read something about this here awhile back, but couldn't find it through a search. Anyway, they want to add about 12' to my stage and make some other additions for lights, screen protection, etc.; all at their expense. They would have live performances mid-week, when I am usually closed. They agree that concession sales would be mine. I am wondering:

What is a reasonable price to charge them for a night's rental. Should I charge them the same on performance and rehersal nights?

Would a 15' stage hinder my sound? (I would have to take out only one row of seats, which I planned to do anyway.)

Would my insurance rates go up significantly? I know my gas and electric bills would.

Do any of you have a similar arrangement? Is it a positive thing?
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Re: Live performances 03 Jan 2001 01:01 #1121

  • Ken Layton
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A lot of these live theater groups are a pain in the ass.

Adding an extension to the front of your stage could raise your insurance rates considerably. It would also change your theater acoustics (which could muddle film dialog) and your air flow in the auditorium would change and play havoc with proper heating and cooling in certain areas. Many times these live theater groups build their stage scenes/structures without thinking about fast access/teardown for you to get your movies on screen. Some of the better theaters with stages build the scenery with the ability to quickly remove parts of it so that movie speakers can be slid in position and the screen lowered into place for your movies.

Tell them you'll rent the theater to them AS IS or no deal! Around here the going rental rates are $500 a night for Monday thru Thursday and $1,000 a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Personally, I would NEVER rent them the theater on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. It's more trouble than it's worth and from my experiences, it seems that when the live stage folks are in the building things start disappearing or they leave all the lights/air conditioning on, exit doors opened/unlocked all night, etc.
My advise: No-No-NO!
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Re: Live performances 04 Jan 2001 00:40 #1122

  • RoxyVaudeville
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I have to agree with Ken on many of the things that he said, however there is another side to it as well.

If you're doing well and don't need the extra income, it may not be worth the hassle for all the reasons that Ken mentioned.

On the other hand...if you need to create either extra income or want to reach a new possible customer base, it may be worth the trouble.

When I bought my theatre, over thirty years ago, business was terrible. I was approched by several promoters about using the theatre for concerts, and theatre productions. as I was only open weekends myself at that time, I thought...what the heck, and gave it a try.We only did the live shows on weeknights and it went over well. It brought the theatre so much publicity that it also helped the movies as well. As I look back over the years, I realize that there were many problems...but they were well worth it. My theatre became nationally quadrupled, and I got help in restoring the theatre. And I shouldn't forget to mention that I made a decent amount of money too.

Just make sure that everything is agreed upon in writing, make a complete inventory of everything, and photograph everything beforehand. Show them what your utility costs have been for the past x number of years, and make them responsible for all increases. Have a damage clause in your contract.

As far as the 15 foot stage extension goes, that will depend on your building. You will need someone local to advise you on that. Every building is different. The material, design and location and how it fits into your existing space will determine whether it will have an effect on your accoustics, or HVAC. As an architect myself, I believe that all those things can be planned for and any problems solved.

I was theatre was an old vaudeville house, so I just used the original stage that was designed for all that.

Good luck.
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Re: Live performances 16 Jan 2001 11:21 #1123

  • Mike
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Roxy is God. We are not worthy. I say this honestly. It is always good to read your experienced views. We had a First Night for New Year's Eve here and they came in, set up a stage, etc. etc. For the evening we charged 250.00. That came under being a part of the community. But this brings us back to booking films, keeping screens "clean" and staying straight with the people who distrib or make films. If you are second run and paying flat fees they simply don't care. Never show it if that's how you feel. But when you are booking first run and taking their pics off screen to let the locals do "Oklahoma!" you are cruising for a brusing. All the rst: rates, damages, etc. can be sorted out locally but when you start messing with NY or Hollywood you better be careful!
Michael Hurley
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