Small theatre productions in schools, independent theatres and community groups invariably have tight budgets to consider but with careful planning, it’s possible to source the best value equipment to make sure your opening night is a success. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Acoustics. Small venues really benefit from the right acoustics. Carefully consider the acoustic properties of your space. There is a wide range of cost-effective acoustic panels available for use in smaller venues. These can either be permanently wall mounted, or they can be moved using a winch system.
Stage Curtains. No venue or production is complete without a stage curtain. Affordable front-of-house curtains are available for smaller venues, but acoustic curtains can also be employed to absorb sound. It’s common to use a manual or motorised theatre track and runner system alongside your curtain. Remember that stage curtains should be flame retardant and meet safety standards.
Lighting. It’s possible to achieve great stage lighting using carefully selected products that fit within your budget. Spotlights and simple lighting rigs can be highly effective solutions. Running costs need to be taken into consideration and LED lighting uses less power, which means you save $ in the long run.
Seating. Some venues such as school halls and community halls may already have their own seats. For venues that don’t, budget seating will save a pretty penny without reducing quality or comfort.
Rigging. Simple manual and automated rigging are available for smaller venues. As always, safety should be your first consideration and if you are in any doubt the best policy is to consult a professional who can give you practical and honest advice.
Even with a limited budget and/or a small venue, you can still put on a professional theatre production – you just need to find the theatre equipment that is right for you.