This week, we look at the importance of… a suitable venue.
There are some relatively obvious factors to consider when it comes to picking out a suitable venue. You want a location with decent acoustics, ideally with nice aesthetics, and both enough space for you to maneuver and perform, and enough space for your audience to comfortably take in the show. Beyond these factors, though, there are points worth considering, depending upon the particular show you’re seeking to put on.
In the event a more formal show, it will be worthwhile to identify a space with a legitimate stage, and an upscale look. SUNY Potsdam’s Hosmer Hall presents an ideal example of this—relatively new and neat, but at the same time, a clearly professional setting, with a large stage and comfortable seating for onlookers of all ages, not to mention acoustic paneling to enhance the sound. As a counterpoint to this site, you have one like the Rutgers University Multi-Purpose Room, the site of the ICCA Mid-Atlantic Semifinals in 2007. There was a makeshift stage, poor lighting, and the seating was all folding chairs on the ground, making an all around uncomfortable experience for performers and onlookers alike, and making the event seem a bit thrown together. I don’t mean to be overly critical—I realize that performers and host groups often need to make do with the facilities available at their schools. Nonetheless, the point remains that, while such a venue would be just fine for a relatively informal show, a multi-school competition warrants a more dignified space.
When it comes to putting on a less formal show—perhaps one designed to promote awareness of your group—there’s much less thought required on aesthetics and the overall viewing experience. For these cases, choosing an appropriate venue has much more to do with selecting a space that will be accessible and get foot traffic. An outdoor spot like the main quad, or outside of a dining hall might be just the ticket for this kind of show, provided the institution at which a group is performing allows for such things.
Another option is finding a traditional performance space. This can take on many different shapes, whether it’s the main stage in the music building, or the corner of the college café where your group had its first gigs. All in all, there’s a lot to be said for continuity—picking a venue where your fans, curious newcomers and alumni alike will all know where to find you and a venue where your group is at its greatest ease performing.
There are many different considerations when it comes to selecting a performance site. Regardless of what your intentions may be though, it’s certainly an important factor to take into consideration.