Articles

Title Text Keywords
Announcements to the chorus It is important that the chorus is not bombarded with instructions from large numbers of people. Ideally, instructions and announcements should come only from the relevant person: Musical matters: Musical Director Performance matters: Artistic Director Rehearsal schedules, logistics and general announcements: Production Manager Dance moves: Choreographer
Relevant to: Production manager, Artistic director, Choreographer, Musical director
ASM briefing The stage manager should brief the ASMs on the following during the get in. - The layout of the stage, auditorium and backstage areas - Use of the comms system - Use of microphones - Who does what during the show - How to appear professional when in the wings or on stage - Health and safety issues about rigging equipment. If in doubt, ask. Also, check whether any of the ASMs are afraid of heights.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew
ASM
Audience entrances and exits The director, stage manager and front-of-house manager should agree - how flexible the start time is for each act, in case large numbers of the audience are late - when latecomers may be admitted (e.g. during applause breaks). Bear in mind the extra logistical difficulty if the choir will be using auditorium doors for entrances or exits when the audience might still be using them.
Relevant to: Artistic director, Stage manager and crew, Front-of-house manager
Backing tracks Backing tracks, voiceovers etc must be on CD or MiniDisc rather than tape or DAT, so no rewinding is required. MiniDisc is preferable to CD in circumstances where a CD player might jump, e.g. if the CD player is on stage and there is choreography. Ideally, have a copy of the backing tracks on both CD and MiniDisc, in case a venue can't play one format, or the player breaks down.
Relevant to: Sound designer / operator
Backing tracks, media, CD, MiniDisc
Call sheets The call sheet for the performance should cover the following - Address and phone number of the venue - Directions to the venue by public transport and/or car, including information on parking - Which entrance the chorus should use at the venue - What time the chorus must be at the venue for the rehearsal and the performance - Schedule for the day, including warmup, tech rehearsal, soundcheck, dress rehearsal, performance - Any scheduled breaks, and what arrangements have been made for meals - Running order - Dress code for the performance - Reminder of any props etc the chorus needs to bring with them - List of key people who will be running the day - Mobile phone numbers of production manager and section leaders in case of problems
Relevant to: Production manager
Call sheet
Cast and crew names in programme The programme may include the names of all performers, music team and production/front-of-house crew. Get section leaders, and crew team leaders to provide a carefully-checked list of names.
Relevant to: Production manager, Programme
Personnel
Child performer license If you have a child performer, e.g. a guest soloist, you need a license, and for that you need the following - Full name of child - Date of Birth of child - Address of child - Name and address of the child's school - How much will be paid for the child's performance if anything? - Date, Time and Duration of the child's rehearsals. - Time and duration of the child's attendance is required at the venue in this connection. - Duration of the child's performance. - Is any leave of absence required from school, if when and so how much? - Need the Child's birth certificate. - Two identical prints of a photograph of the child from the past six months. - A copy of the written agreement / contract between the parents and the chorus re- the child's performance.
Relevant to: Production manager, Guest choir / artists
Choice of piano For a full concert, we need a grand piano. Check whether it is tuned to concert pitch or some other pitch, especially if using two pianos! The piano should be black, and movable. It will need to be tuned once it is in place. Recommended supplier: Graham at Markson's pianos on 0771 776 743. (They know Simon Sharp.) For smaller ad-hoc events, we often make do with an electronic keyboard. Check this is okay with the music team.
Relevant to: Production manager, Stage manager and crew, Accompanist
piano, keyboard
Choice of rostra When designing and hiring rostra decking, the most important thing is size and layout. How much decking do you need to fit the required number of people, and will that fit onto the stage. You may need to use deck sizes other than the standard 8' x 4' to make best use of space, but you will then find fewer suppliers have stock of those sizes. Also consider weight. Steeldeck are the leading brand in rostra, but their deck is very heavy, and so hard work and time consuming for the crew to load in and out. Consider lighter-weight alternatives such as aluminium rostra from Alistage.
Relevant to: Artistic director, Stage manager and crew
Choir entrances and exits To ensure smooth running of entrances and exits, they should be planned in advance. A list should be produced of who needs to line up at each entrance and in what order. This should be given to the choir members in advance, and also to the ASMs so they can assist the line-up at their entrance.
Relevant to: Artistic director, Stage manager and crew, Choreographer, Performers
personnel, entrances
Communications between tech crew During the tech rehearsal and the show, the stage management and technical crew need to communicate. This is usually done by an intercom system with headsets plugged into beltpacks. The beltpacks are usually wired in, preferably with long leads to allow movement. Wireless radio headsets can also be used. One person should talk at a time, and can be heard by everyone on the system. However, to avoid confusion during the show itself, the DSM (or whoever is cueing the show) is in charge. This means that everyone else should talk to the DSM and receive their instructions from the DSM. Typical headset systems have a push button on the beltpack to turn your microphone on and off. You should turn your mic on only when you need to talk, and turn it off again afterwards. Otherwise, background noise and the sound of the show gets picked up by everyone's mics and makes communication difficult. Some headset systems also have a "signal" button. When pressed, this just flashes the signal light on everyone's beltpack. This can be useful to signal people to put their headsets back on when they have taken them off, or to give a signal when talking would be intrusive.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Lighting designer / operator, Sound designer / operator
Intercom, comms, headsets, cans
Confetti If you are using confetti, or similar "messy" effects, check whether the venue will charge extra for cleanup, and remember that the piano lid will probably have to be left closed (or perhaps take a hoover for cleaning it).
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Venue liaison
Confetti, piano
Crew's use of radio mics Test radio mics at the end of each rehearsal or show. This allows maximum time to fix any problems before the next show. When testing radio mics, do it with all transmitters switched on. This is because receivers on nearby frequencies will often pick up each other's transmissions if their own transmitter is not on.
Relevant to: Sound designer / operator
radio mic
Cue summaries The prompt copy contains all the cues required for the whole show, to be used by the stage management crew. However, it is useful to provide "cue summary" sheets for the following key people, showing the details they need to know (typically entrances and exits). - Conductor (LGMC and any guest choir) - Soloists and guest performers - Pianist and any band members - Sign language interpreters - Front of house manager
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Musical director, Accompanist, Front-of-house manager, Sign language interpreter
cue summary
Emergency procedures The stage management and technical crew must know the location of fire extinguishers, fire exits, and fire alarm points. Any situation should be notified to the stage manager and front-of-house manager if possible, who will handle the situation in conjunction with the venue's staff. The stage manager should have an emergency plan, including a way of making announcements to the cast, crew and audience.
Relevant to: Production manager, Stage manager and crew, Front-of-house manager
Emergency, fire, evacuation, fire extinguisher
Equipment ASMs should bring Where possible, each ASM should bring the following with them - black clothing for the show - scruffy clothing for get-in / get-out - notebook and pens - clipboard - small torch - water bottle
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew
ASM equipment
Equipment for guest artists If we have a professional guest artist (who may or may not be a VIP) performing with us, be especially careful to find out what equipment they are expecting. For example, a handheld radio mic, foldback wedges, in-ear monitor or their own dressing room.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Guest choir / artists
Get-in and hired equipment The Stage Manager should supervise unpacking of all hired equipment, check its condition, and check it off against the inventory (or compile an inventory if necessary). Beware that their inventory may not be detailed enough, and it may be difficult to identify some equipment, e.g. cables, which may look like cables from other suppliers or from the venue. If any problems are found when unpacking the equipment, contact the supplier ASAP to get a replacement in time for the show. Bear in mind that you will need to identify and check off everything at the end of the show.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Lighting designer / operator, Sound designer / operator
get-in, hired equipment, inventory
Get-in planning Plan the get-in schedule in advance, work out how many LGMC and venue crew are required, and check with the venue that the plan is achievable. Remember to plan in meal breaks, particularly check on availability of venue staff, and when their breaks are. Find out when the piano tuning will take place, as it can be very disruptive.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Venue liaison, Lighting designer / operator, Sound designer / operator
Getting out of the venue After the performance, the technical crew will need to dismantle any of our own or hired equipment. Check hired equipment against the inventory, and note any damage or missing items. Check with the venue whether we are responsible for dismantling any of the venue's own equipment. Volunteers should be found to help clear the dressing rooms and other backstage areas, and check for anything chorus members might have left behind.
Relevant to: Production manager, Stage manager and crew, Venue liaison
Get-out, clearing up
Guest appearances in other shows When the LGMC are invited or hired to perform as part of a larger event, the production manager must check all details with the event organisers, including: - what fee is being paid, including any royalties or repeat fees - what equipment is provided: piano, music stands, podium, rostra - what sound reinforcement is there: are the microphones suitable for the choir, is there foldback so the choir can hear the piano - what refreshments (food, water, other drinks) will be provided - what changing facilities are available, including secure storage of valuables - times for arrival, rehearsal, sound check, run-through - is the content of the show fixed, or are last-minute changes expected - will it be a traditional quiet audience, or will we be performing cabaret-style over conversations
Relevant to: Production manager
guest appearances, fees
Hiring technical equipment If we hire technical equipment (sound, light, pyrotechnics, rostra etc) from a third party, I.e. not from the venue, we need to consider: - How much is the hire, and will they give reduced rates as we are a charity? - When and where will it be delivered, or do we need to collect it? - When and where will it be collected from, or do we need to return it? - If delivery/collection is to the venue, are they okay to store it and take charge of delivery/collection, or do we need to be present? - Who is responsible for insuring the equipment. Is the charge for this included in the hire fee? Do the venue insure it? - Can the hire company give us consultancy to assure us we have hired the right equipment for our needs? Do they supply instructions for using the equipment? - In addition to hiring equipment, can we order consumables from them? (This would simplify logistics.)
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Venue liaison
equipment hire
Lapel radio mics When using lapel radio mics, the aerial should be outside the performer's costume rather than inside, and must hang vertically. Ensure clothing does not rub against the microphone itself.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Sound designer / operator, Performers
radio microphone
Licenses for special effects If we plan to use certain special effects in a venue, they may need to get an extra license from the local council, and that might cost extra money, take several weeks, or require an inspection on the day, so forward planning is required. Effects which might require a license include - Pyrotechnics - Naked flame (e.g. candles) - Smoke machines
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Venue liaison
Special effects, fire, pyrotechnics, smoke, license
List of personnel Prepare a list of all personnel requiring backstage access to the venue, to give to the venue's stage door. This includes, for example: LGMC performers, guest performers, band, production crew, front-of-house crew.
Relevant to: Production manager, Venue liaison
Personnel
Managing microphones When performers will be using hand-held or lapel microphones, one ASM (or one in each wing) should be responsible for managing them, and should make sure they are on before handing to the performers. Explain to the performers how to hold and use the microphones.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Sound designer / operator
microphone
Map of the venue The production manager should obtain details such as the following about the venue: - layout of backstage area, entrances onto stage, into auditorium and into foyer - sizes of dressing rooms and which have a piano, wash basin etc This allows us to plan dressing room allocation, choir movements backstage and entrances/exits.
Relevant to: Production manager, Venue liaison
Mobile phones All cast and crew's mobile phones should be turned off completely during the technical rehearsal, dress rehearsal, and performances. If they are on, even with silent ring, they may interfere with the sound system, radio mics etc.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Guest choir / artists, Performers
mobile phones radio interference
Mugshots of key choir members As the LGMC maintains a photo gallery of all its members, and we often have production crew helpers who are not full-time members of the chorus, it can be helpful to give them a "who's who" sheet with pictures of the key choir people they might deal with on the day.
Relevant to: Production manager, Stage manager and crew
photos, ASMs, personnel
Performers' use of radio mics Handle microphones carefully: treat them like fresh eggs. Do not turn them off: the sound engineer will fade them up and down as required. When you have finished using a microphone, hand it back to a member of the crew: do not leave it lying around or walk off with it. When there is more than one microphone, make sure you know which one you are supposed to use. The sound engineer will fade up the one he is expecting you to use, and not the others. If you make a mistake, the sound engineer can usually work out which one you are using and fade that up instead, but it might take a few seconds.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Sound designer / operator, Performers
microphones
Podium for conductor Will the conductor(s) require a podium to stand on, can it be left in place throughout the concert without getting in the way, or does it need bringing on and off?
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Choreographer, Musical director
podium
Projecting images on a screen When planning to use projection (gobos, slides or video), remember the keystone problem: images will be distorted if not projected from directly in front of the screen.
Relevant to: Artistic director
projection, keystone
Props for guest artists The stage manager should check whether the guest choir or artist requires any of the following, and where and when it needs to be placed by ASMs: - conductor's podium - music stand(s) - microphones (and stand if required) - any of their own props
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Guest choir / artists
Guest artist, guest choir, podium, music stand, microphone, props
Props usually required by LGMC When performing, we usually require - A podium, and music stand with light for the conductor - A music stand with light for the signer - A light on the piano for the pianist Note that music stands need to be sturdy, not light, foldup ones, because we can't risk them collapsing during the performance. The lights on the music stands and the piano are to give the conductor, signer and pianist an independent light they can control, regardless of the stage lights, just in case. The lights should be shielded if necessary to avoid giving the audience glare.
Relevant to: Production manager, Stage manager and crew, Venue liaison
Props, music stand, light, podium
Refreshments on performance days We usually provide bottled water for chorus members on the day of the performance and, depending on how long they're expected to be at the venue on the day, a meal as well. Having the chorus eat on-site makes good use of their time, and stops them dispersing and returning late. It also makes it easy to contact them to make last-minute announcements. If the venue has its own café, that is convenient, but if the choir have to pay for their own food, they may well go elsewhere anyway.
Relevant to: Production manager, Guest choir / artists, Venue liaison
food, drink, water, meal
Rehearsals in the venue Ensure the cast and crew know the schedule for rehearsals on the day, and also realise it needs to be flexible. People who aren't needed on the stage for rehearsal should preferably keep out of the stage and auditorium area, but ideally be around the dressing room / green room areas so they can hear announcements. Extra comms headsets should be considered for the Artistic Director and Musical Director during rehearsals, so they can communicate with the technical crew. A handheld wireless mic would be useful for the Artistic Director, Stage Manager or others to make announcements to the cast.
Relevant to: Production manager, Artistic director, Stage manager and crew
Technical rehearsal, dress rehearsal
Running rehearsals The Musical Director should be in charge of all rehearsals while the chorus is learning songs. Once the songs are more or less secure, the Artistic Director takes over rehearsals to stage the production. Once staging has been completed, the Musical Director and Artistic Director work together to polish both the musical and artistic aspects of the performance.
Relevant to: Artistic director, Musical director
rehearsals music staging
Safety curtain position If the venue has a safety curtain, the venue will need to show it working at some point during the performance (usually the interval). Check where it is, as we cannot place any fixed equipment there, e.g. the piano. Usually it is very near the front of the stage, but if there is an apron at the front, it might come down across that.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew
Safety curtain, stage layout
Sale of merchandise Ask the venue whether we are allowed to sell merchandise ourselves, or whether we have to go through their agent or shop. Is any fee payable? What area in the venue can we use to make our stall. Do they have tables?
Relevant to: Front-of-house manager, Merchandising, Venue liaison
merchandise
Sheet music The stage manager should be given a copy of the sheet music for all songs to be performed by the LGMC and any guest performers. The stage manager should check with the musical director whether any of the music will be performed other than as written, e.g. repeats being skipped. The sheet music will form part of the prompt copy for cueing the show.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Musical director, Guest choir / artists
sheet music
Song listings in the programme The programme should include details of all songs (except encores) being performed by LGMC and any guests. Details should include song title, composer, lyricist, arranger, and possibly information about the source, e.g. which musical it comes from. Double-check that we have performance rights for all songs.
Relevant to: Musical director, Programme, Guest choir / artists
Songs
Song lyrics The lyrics for all songs performed by the LGMC and any guest choir should be typed up separately from the sheet music, and given to the sign language interpreter and the stage manager in soft copy format. A copy should be sent to the choir email list to assist the performers in learning their words. The production manager should coordinate this. The lyrics will form part of the prompt copy for cueing the show.
Relevant to: Production manager, Stage manager and crew, Sign language interpreter
sheet music, lyrics
Soundcheck with the band If we hiring band members, we have to decide whether we will pay them to attend all the rehearsals on the day of the performance, or to turn up just in time to set up their equipment and do a soundcheck. If they are not going to be there for the whole time, we need to mark out the space on stage their equipment will take up, budget for the time it will take them to set up when they arrive, and make sure that the sound engineer can do a soundcheck with them when they arrive.
Relevant to: Artistic director, Stage manager and crew, Musical director, Accompanist, Sound designer / operator
Band, soundcheck, musicians
Stage layout When planning what goes where on stage ... - Allow at least 2' depth for rows of singers. Preferably 2'6" or 3'. - Allow at least 2' width per singer if you're not staggering each row, so you can fit 4 people on 8' wide rostra. - Keep the conductor's podium, solo spots, signer etc far enough away from the choir that there spotlights don't overlap with the choir - Ensure there are good sightlines so that everyone can see the conductor, the pianist can see the soloists, and the band are near the piano - When using a 6' piano, allow approx 7' x 8' for the piano and pianist.
Relevant to: Artistic director, Stage manager and crew, Lighting designer / operator
Stage layout, signer, spot, rostra, staging
Times in and out of the venue Check with the venue, when we can first get access to the venue on the day, and by what time we need to vacate the venue. Also, find out what times any staff supplied by the venue will be available.
Relevant to: Venue liaison
Timing songs As the repertoire begins to firm up for the performance, rough timings of each song should be taken during rehearsals for initial planning. These should be checked and updated at later rehearsals, and the artistic director and stage manager need to check the overall timing of the show. The prompt copy should note the length of each song, and the expected total time of each part of the show, allowing time for applause, choir movement etc. between songs. A typical applause gap between songs is 30s, and these do add up!
Relevant to: Artistic director, Stage manager and crew
song times
Use of smoke or haze Liaise with the venue about whether any smoke detectors need to be temporarily disabled while smoke or haze is used on stage. Beware that if too much smoke or haze is used, the chorus and/or pianists may be unable to see the conductor.
Relevant to: Stage manager and crew, Lighting designer / operator
smoke,haze
Venue rules Find out from the venue what rules we must observe. - Is eating and drinking allowed backstage or in the auditorium - Can bottled water be taken on stage - Is smoking allowed anywhere in the venue Consider banning the choir from smoking in the venue, even if the venue allows it (for the benefit of the other singers).
Relevant to: Production manager, Venue liaison
Venue rules, eating, drinking, smoking
Warning audience about strobes etc If the performance will feature strobe lighting, or loud noises such as gunshots, we have to put signs up warning the audience. The venue may organise this for us. Is there anything else we have to warn the audience about?
Relevant to: Production manager, Artistic director, Stage manager and crew, Front-of-house manager, Guest choir / artists
strobe light, gunshot