Yesterday we held our first live chat with members of the Theatre, Event and Venue Management Slack Group. Our topic for the month was best practices in pre-production. We compiled the conversation into a blog here. It’s been lightly edited for continuity and readability.
Theatre company managers who operate their own venues have an incredibly valuable resource in the form of the spaces themselves. We recently spoke with Anetha and Olivia from VenueBook about ways theatre companies can further leverage their venues.
It takes a village to run a Performing Arts Center. Anyone who’s spent time working within the walls of one knows that technicians, ushers, box office, students, maintenance crew, and other part-time staff are a major part of the success of our venue. They’re responsible for executing the day-to-day tasks that keep our world running smoothly.
Unlike full-time employees, your part-time employees have variable schedules which change constantly and availability isn’t always a given. It falls to us to track and manage the schedules, conflicts, and availability of a large roster of folks. This is time-consuming and adds a huge amount of complexity to our jobs.
Whenever I see something that takes up large chunks of our brainspace or our day, I flag it as a potential opportunity for big improvement. It’s in these areas of our workflow where even a small tweak can mean huge gains in efficiency.
So… how can we make the process of scheduling and communicating with your staff easier? I’m so glad you asked!
Managing the daily life of a Performing Arts Center is hard for many reasons. One major complicator is the fact that we constantly work with people and organizations from outside the walls of our building. Artists, rental clients, external vendors, part-time staff, and designers all have their own systems of working. We have little to no time together before we hit the ground running. It’s easy to overlook the added complexity this brings to everyone involved. Let’s take a moment to reflect on these ramifications and figure out what we can do to ease the frustration.
Performing Arts Centers hold a place of strong cultural connection and value in the communities that surround them - be it cities, universities or private institutions. They are also notoriously difficult to manage with multiple events, shows, and gatherings being planned and executed simultaneously. One of the biggest challenges we face as managers is scheduling the seemingly endless (yet somehow always limited) number of venues and spaces in our facility. Here are several variables at play that must be considered when scheduling.
The holiday season is traditionally the busiest time of year for most event planners. Between weddings, corporate parties, and other year-end celebrations, your calendar is probably full up.
Venue managers are no different. After all, events need spaces. Your venue may be booked every night of the week from now through the New Year. More work means more revenue but it also means more stress on the equipment, systems, and staff. Here are a few things to think about to make sure your take care of your space while still delivering the best service to your clients.
Scheduling one event is complicated. A few at a time? More so. At least one a day? Downright crazy. Welcome to the world of venue management; an immensely challenging position that requires the coordination of logistics for dozens of events at the same time.
As an event planner or a production manager, your relationship with the venue manager is incredibly important. Often times, they are responsible for just as many moving parts as you are. But unlike you, they are married to their spaces. Especially if their spaces are in demand, they meet A LOT of planners and managers. Like it or not, that means how you conduct your business gets weighed against every other planner out there. Having them on your side can make you look EXTREMELY good in the eyes of the client. It might also lead to other referrals or opportunities, especially during the busy holiday party season. You never know how other professionals may be connected. Every project is a chance to grow your business.
Recently, I sat down with Leahann Miller, a veteran venue manager from New York City. She’s currently the acting Events and Catering Manager at Barney’s New York, responsible for managing all in-store events. Yesterday, she shared some thoughts on how you can make your space standout. Today, she offers some tips for event planners to make the people who run the venues your new best friends.
The event space rentals market is incredibly competitive. More and more locations seem to pop up all the time, each with their own unique touches. This makes the job of a venue manager increasingly difficult. How do you keep your venue top of minds for event planners without spending significant amounts of money to constantly “upgrade” your space?
I sat down with Leahann Miller, a veteran venue manager from New York City. She’s currently the acting Events and Catering Manager at Barney’s New York, responsible for managing all in-store events. She shared some advice from her hard-earned experience about how to make your venue stand out, especially in the busy holiday season.
Choosing a venue can be difficult. Every event is different, which translates into a new set of priorities every time out. So to make the process a little less cumbersome, event managers often turn to the two “Big C’s.” Capacity and Cost. That still leaves a lot of leg work to match up the perfect spot for your client’s needs. Thankfully, there are a few other factors to put on your planning checklist that can be just as critical and really help to secure the perfect spot for your event. Spoiler alert: most of them have very little to do with the “Big C’s.”