theSpaceUK Production
Frequently Asked Questions

Booking

We've booked our venue with Charles. What happens next?

Charles runs the company and handles the bookings, so you're always able to contact him with any questions you may have. Once he's confirmed your booking, your details are passed to us; we're the Production Team, and our team of Pre-production Managers is here to guide you through the process of staging your show in our venues.

How do we go about putting on a show in one of theSpaceUK’s venues?

Our Company Handbook covers everything you need to know for the production side of your show, from registering with the Fringe to flyers, posters and publicity. This FAQ is concerned with the technical aspects of our venues and equipment.

Pre-production

Who do we talk to at theSpaceUK?

Your principle contact at theSpaceUK is your pre-production manager. Their contact details can be found on the spec page for your venue. Regular communication with your pre-production manager in advance means you (and we) know what to expect from each other, and helps your Fringe experience run smoothly.

We have a team of pre-production managers and different venues are handled by different people. That said, we like to provide a single point of contact for you all through the pre-production process. To this end, if you're performing in multiple venues, the pre-production manager for the venue in which you perform first will handle all your questions.

Do we get a technical rehearsal?

We aim to give every company a rehearsal of 1½ times their daily slot length plus 10 minutes for loading in and a welcome briefing. It’s best to do a plot/block followed by a cue-to-cue, rather than attempting a full run.

When will our technical rehearsal be?

If possible, your technical rehearsal will be scheduled on the day before your first performance. However, this isn’t always possible due to the number of shows to fit in. To help with scheduling, please tell your pre-production manager when your company will arrive in Edinburgh and be ready to tech. Please confirm that you can make the allocated time before the deadline; it’s very hard for us to make changes afterwards.

What information does theSpaceUK need from us and how do we send it?

As well as keeping us informed of your plans, we require certain information from you to ensure your show is correctly advertised, legal and safe, and to be able to sell tickets for you. We have a website which allows you to submit and alter the information we have about your show.

Show Information

If you have registered your show with the Fringe we will get this from them - if not, or if you're a late entry, we need to know your particulars such as name, blurb, ticket prices etc. You can review and make changes to your show information using this website.

Safety Forms

As required by the Fire Brigade and for our own records we require a Safety Form for each show. This is done using this website, and is a description of your set, props, equipment and potential hazards, as well as a simple risk assessment. Your Pre-Production Manager will then advise if there are any issues and how to work through them.

Company Members’ Names

We ask that you provide the names of all members of your group through this website. This is so we can issue you with Performers' Passes which give free entry to all shows at our venues, as well as being a form of ID on our sites. We also ask you to indicate if any of your company are under 18.

Insurance Documents

We require you to have public liability Insurance for your show. This can be through a dedicated policy or as part of your college/school/Equity membership etc. We recommend that you email us a copy of the certificate in advance, or we will ask to see it at the technical rehearsal.

It’s my first time at the Fringe and I’m not sure about x, y or z!

Talk to your Pre-Production Manager. As the old saying goes, the only stupid question is the one that’s never asked. The difference between a smooth-running and enjoyable Fringe experience and a stressful one full of unexpected surprises is good communication in advance.

Staging and Scenery

What materials can we use to build our set?

Most common set-building materials are fine to use, but some require treatment and some cannot safely be used. Timber must be painted or treated; all fabrics must be treated with flameproofing solution. Foams, polystyrene and loose paper, as well as hay bales and tyres, are not permitted.

We may seem stricter than some permanent theatres, but the fire brigade do make regular spot checks during the Fringe. Your Pre-Production Manager can advise on set-building - talk to them if you are unsure to avoid disappointment.

Can we change the layout of the theatre?

The layouts of our venues are approved by authorities and cannot normally be altered. In some venues there are certain groups of seats that can be taken out if required - talk to your Pre-Production Manager.

Do costumes need to be flame-proofed?

No. Providing they're worn by an actor during the show, costumes do not require flame proofing.

Do props need to be flame-proofed?

Specially made props should be made non-flammable or treated. We don’t usually insist on the treating of small numbers of everyday item props (e.g. books), although this depends on how they are used and is at the discretion of our Venue Management team. Talk to your Pre-Production Manager if you are unsure.

Can we mount my scenery to the grid/structure of the venue?

Generally, no. The truss/scaffold rings we install in the venues are designed for a particular weight loading, and we're unable to affix any scenery or additional structures. The ceilings in the venues are also unsuitable for fixing scenery. Scenery should be free standing with its own supports. Small items (eg. lightweight projector screens or backcloths) can sometimes be accommodated. Talk to your Pre-Production Manager first; they advise on what fixings you need to bring along to ensure they can be mounted safely.

Can theSpaceUK supply furniture, tables etc?

Generally, no, we can't supply furniture for companies to use on stage, but talk to your Pre-Production Manager - some of our venues do have basic tables and chairs available for use (no guarantees as to appearance!). Otherwise, there are plenty of second hand furniture shops and places to obtain furniture in Edinburgh. Please remember that any furniture or tables that you bring into the theatres must comply with the fire regulations (soft furnishings manufactured after 1989 are usually fine) and be structurally sound.

During your technical rehearsal we may perform a flame test on anything you bring to the theatre, and reserve the right to prohibit its use if it fails the test.

Lighting

Can we refocus the lights in our venue?

Yes. All our venues have lanterns (called specials) that our team will focus to your design. You should discuss your requirements with your Pre-Production Manager in advance of your technical rehearsal. In addition, our larger venues have a fixed focus general wash which may not be adjusted.

Do we need to provide you with a lighting plan in advance?

While we don’t strictly require this, we do recommend you discuss your lighting ideas with your Pre-Production Manager, who can provide advice for achieving an effective design for the venue if necessary. At the technical rehearsal the crew will provide as much or as little design help as you require.

Do we have to bring accessories such as lighting gel or gobos?

We do not provide gel or gobos so you need to bring your own should you wish to use them. We do provide gobo holders, gel frames, barn doors etc. Ask your Pre-Production Manager for gobo sizes. We can help source gobos and gel for you if required.

Sound

In what format should we bring our sound effects/music?

All of our venues are equipped with CD players and 3.5mm jack connections for portable music players or laptops. We frequently find that recordable CDs do not play reliably in our equipment so please only bring purchased CDs and/or use some other format.

Are there sound limits?

Any sound should only be as loud as it needs to be for your performance. We don’t have any sound limiting devices. However, in all our venues, we must be conscious of nearby theatres, neighbours, or other users of our buildings so we may have to ask you to turn things down.

What facilities are provided for live sound?

All our venues are equipped with appropriately-sized sound systems with CD playback, and a multicore/tie-lines to the stage. We also offer simple microphones with stands and DI boxes for instruments on request. Sound reinforcement is not generally necessary in any of our venues.

Do you provide radio microphones?

No. Most of our venues are too small to need any sort of amplification, let alone radio microphones. You may wish to bring your own radio mics for use in our larger venues - but you must let your Pre-Production Manager know so we can advise you on their installation and use in our venue.

Recording

We don't provide facilities for sound or video recording. If you plan to video a performance, and if you have sufficient time during the get in before your show, we can help you find a safe position for a camera crew - we can’t allow tripods to obstruct aisles so we may need to remove seats from sale. It's better to let us know your plans in this regard as early as possible.

Special Effects

We'd like to use a flame in the performance; is this okay?

In most of our venues, we will be unable to permit this at all due to the regulations our hosts place on us. However, it can be accommodated in some of our venues.

Generally, though, we recommend you avoid using naked flames in your performance whenever possible. If you do decide to proceed, please talk to us - there are extra procedures to follow and we will need to liaise with the Fire Brigade to have them issue the appropriate permits. Additionally, an inspection from the Fire Officer or Edinburgh Public Safety may be required required during your technical rehearsal.

We'd like to using smoking in the performance; is this okay?

No. Aside from presenting a fire risk, smoking is banned in all public places in Scotland, including in theatrical situations.

We'd like to use smoke/haze effects. Is this okay?

The use of smoke/haze effects will depend on the venue. In some venues we are unable to de-activate smoke detection systems in the performance space and thus such effects cannot be used. Contact us to discuss this.

We'd like to use strobe lighting effects. Is this okay?

You're welcome to bring strobe lighting effects (though see the answer below concerning provision of your own equipment). However, please let us know in advance so we can ensure members of the public who suffer photosensitive epilepsy are suitably warned.

We'd like to use a replica/real gun. Is this okay?

The use of most firearms, even replicas, is tightly controlled by the authorities. We can help guide you through the permission procedure but in our experience it’s more trouble than it’s worth unless their use is absolutely crucial to your performance. In any case you must discuss this with us in advance.

Can we use liquid/powders or foodstuffs on stage?

The use of such items can quickly lead to a mess that takes longer than your get out to clean up. This obviously impacts upon any shows following you not to mention making the venue unpleasant for everyone. If you're planning to use anything messy or any foodstuffs on stage then please ask us for advice first - we may set conditions and reserve the right to curtail the use of any items.

Equipment

Can we bring our own electrical equipment (e.g. lighting, a projector or a laptop) to the venue?

In short, yes, but you'll need to make sure it has an up-to-date PAT test, complete with dated sticker. Make sure you talk to us prior to the festival so we're expecting your equipment. You'll need to bring your own appropriate cabling too. Note that we do not allow any kind of home-built electrical items - all items should be manufactured by a reputable supplier or qualified electrician.

We'll need to take a look at any items during your technical rehearsal, so make sure they're ready for inspection. It may be prudent to send your Pre-Production Manager a photograph of your item if it is in any way unusual.

If it's just a specific lantern you need for a special effect, let us know. We're happy to hire an extra fixture or two (at your cost) and rig them for you prior to your arrival in Edinburgh.

What if we wanted to hire a piano or keyboard during the festival?

Performers in the past have used local companies in Edinburgh to source musical instruments during the festival. In previous years, several companies have hired from the following supplier, which is conveniently located near the bottom of the Royal Mile. We can't really say if they're competitive, but getting a quote from them would be a good starting point. www.key-player.co.uk

What do we need to consider if we’re bringing a projector as part of our show?

Projection can be tricky to get right in Fringe venues, and every year companies suffer from it not working quite as expected. Discuss your ideas and requirements with your Pre-Production Manager for best results, but bear in mind our crew aren’t necessarily projector experts, and while they’ll help if they can it’s your responsibility to get it to work.

There are four things to consider:

  1. Type of projector. In the larger venues, a standard data projector will have too wide a throw and too low a light output for front projection. You might need a specialist projector or lens. Talk to a professional supplier.

  2. Screen. Ideally this should be freestanding and lightweight.

  3. Cables and mountings. You'll need to supply sufficient cable to connect your projector to the control position, and you'll need to supply something to mount both the projector and the screen. Make sure you talk to us about your plans - there are often limited options for situating the projector safely and unobtrusively.

  4. Playback and content. Think about the software you’ll use and how you’ll operate it - nothing breaks the fourth wall like a ten-foot Windows start menu, and bear in mind that a blank screen on an office data projector isn’t dark in blackout.

On site

Who do we deal with when we arrive?

During the run up to Edinburgh, you will be dealing with your Pre-Production Manager. Your venue is run by a different team, headed by a Venue Manager, who will receive a full handover of everything you’ve discussed and agreed with your pre-production manager before your arrival. We will e-mail you closer to the Festival to introduce your on-site venue team.

When can we deliver props/set to the venue?

You should bring your props and set with you ready to start your technical rehearsal. If this presents considerable difficulty then ask your Pre-Production Manager, but please don’t bring items in advance of your technical rehearsal without prior agreement.

What happens in our technical rehearsal?

After loading your set and props into the venue, our Venue Manager or Senior Technician will give a short welcome briefing explaining how things work - it’s vital that all cast and crew give this their full attention. After this the time is yours but it’s highly advised that you start by placing your set and going through the lighting focus with our crew, before progressing to a plot/cue-to-cue and practising entrances and movements. We’ll provide as much or as little support in using the lighting and sound equipment as necessary, and there will be one of us close at hand throughout. We can’t emphasise enough the benefit of arriving at the tech "well-prepared but flexible".

When can we get in to the theatre on a daily basis?

Due to the busy schedules you can only get in to the venue at the start time of your booked slot, once the previous company are out. As such we strongly advise arriving in costume and make-up.

When can our show start?

Between your slot start time and the start of your show your cast needs to get ready, set needs to be placed, our crew need to focus the lights to your requirements established at the technical rehearsal, and your audience needs to be admitted and seated. Five minutes is the absolute minimum for simple shows in smaller venues; in our larger venues and with complex set or lighting, a longer time will need to be allowed between your slot and show start times.

What happens if we over-run?

For the benefit of all companies and audiences it’s important that we run our venues to schedule. We try to be reasonable and we do recognise that things don’t always go to plan at the start of the week, but if we find that you are repeatedly over-running we will ask that cuts or alterations are made so as to be fair to other Fringe participants.

Can we store our set/props/costumes in the venue?

All our venues have a certain amount of storage space; some more than others. With 10+ companies sharing a venue on any one day it’s important for all companies to be reasonable in minimising their storage requirements. Your Pre-Production Manager will advise on the storage situation in your venue and if your plans can be accommodated.

As other companies will access the area, keep your items tidy and smaller things in crates or cases for protection from accidental damage. Valuables, and food and drink, should not be stored on site.

Please note that in most venues you can’t access your storage area outside of your slot times so think what you might need for promotional activity during the day.

How does the venue box office work?

We operate a box office facility at all our venues; this is separate from the central Fringe box office. You allocate a number of tickets to the Fringe, and we work out the difference and sell those. Don’t worry about unsold Fringe tickets and a queue at the venue - our staff will reallocate and sell unsold Fringe tickets if it looks like filling up.

Our venue box offices will open daily during the Fringe and can accept email and telephone reservations. Advance bookings prior to the festival must be made through the Fringe box office. We only take cash, which means we are able to give you your takings each day after the show.

Can we sell/give away tickets ourselves?

No - this is a recipe for overselling and disappointment! If you want to give out complimentary tickets speak to our box office staff and they can issue them when someone gives a password, stickered flyer or similar. Anyone attending your show needs either a Fringe ticket or a ticket from the venue box office, no exceptions!

We haven't got a operator for the lighting/sound equipment; can theSpaceUK do it?

We don't operate the technical equipment during your show, but we will rig and focus lights for you prior to it each day. If you're stuck for an operator, please let us know and we can usually put you in touch with someone who can operate for you (for a fee).

I’m a one man show and don't need an operator, is this okay?

Generally, no. You'll need at least one other person to act as front of house manager and fade the lights up and down at the start/end of your show. Talk to your Pre-Production Manager.

We don't have a front of house manager; is this okay?

Every show needs to provide a Front-of-House Manager to collect tickets at the door and remain in the theatre to guide any latecomers to their seats and deal with any issues in the audience. Where large audiences are expected, we will assist with this role if required. At the technical rehearsal we will ask who your FoH Manager is, and explain to him or her what they need to do.

Can we hand out food or drink to our audience as a publicity gimmick?

There are many rules surrounding food preparation and storage and in our experience, even with the best will in the world companies struggle to comply with them. Also, we don't allow food or drink in our venues so logistically there is seldom time for audiences to consume free food hand-outs before the performance. On the more positive side we may be able to allow sweets. You must talk to us before committing to anything to avoid disappointment.

We have had a problem with one of the other companies in our venue, what do we do?

Our venues are busy places and although we are always on the lookout to head off problems before they happen, we’re not able to be everywhere. If you have a problem with another company for whatever reason - they disturb your props, leave the theatre in a mess, come in early while you’re getting out, whatever - you need to tell your Venue Manager as soon as possible. The sooner we know about problems, the sooner we can intervene.

How is our get-out arranged?

In most cases you should expect to get-out immediately after your final performance. Your Venue Manager will discuss this with you towards the end of your run, but please approach them first if you have any concerns and especially if you are unable to get-out immediately after your final performance.