This page will help you understand more about being a venue.
In putting up a venue on the Pittsburgh Fringe website, you are only committing to looking at applicants that apply to your venue. You are not obligated to book any of the shows. However, we get some amazing shows, and we think you'll love some of them! Also, we are willing to help you every step of the way. Especially because it might be your first year, please ask us questions, meet with us, and let us help you.
Why be a venue? 1. Help support a local organization and shows to make your community a better place to live. 2. Help give artists an opportunity to show off their work. 3. Bring in new audiences to your location.
Want to know what the performers are seeing and expecting? Check out the 2020 Performers page? Everything they need to know is on that page.
There are no costs or fees from our perspective. Any costs would be your own internal costs that you select to spend to run the building and support the artists. Depending on your costs, you may even make a small amount.
Steps to including your gallery information:
1. Tell us you're interested. firstname.lastname@example.org 2. Register your gallery show. Register here. 3. We'll work with you on program proofs, and we can even give you window clings to let people know you are part of the festival for that weekend. Easy!
FYI: Some galleries also make good performing art venues. A few chairs, and a cleared area for your stage is all you need. So while we love having your visual art show included, it also might be fun to have some performances in your gallery on the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (you can just focus on the visual art for First Friday). It might be fun, a way to meet new interesting folks, and bring in different people to your gallery. Depending on how you set it up, they can view the art on the way in and out of the performance. You never know what connections you might make! You will even be able to make a bit of money from the shows.
Steps to being an "Inactive" Venue:
1. Tell us you're interested. 2. We come meet you and view the venue. 3. We make an agreement on dates and times and costs. (We have very minimal budget for venue payments.) 4. We arrange a Venue Manger to work with the artists. 5. You open the doors for set up, rehearsals, and show times! (We arrange for us (or someone requesting to be a venue manager) to do all the tech set up, box office management, provide insurance, and anything else required. We'll usually need to clean out the space late Sunday night or Monday (sometimes Tuesday) depending on agreements with you, and everyone's schedule.) 6. (EXTRA - if you can also push out information about our shows on your social media - it helps everyone!)
Steps to being an "Active" Venue:
1. Have us approve your location. It must be in the Fringe Zone. We really want everything to be within walking distance, and near the Penn Avenue arts corridor.
2. Share your information with us. We can come to you and collect venue information (we love to meet new venue managers), or you can fill out a form with information about your venue, and what you are offering. We will put it on the website, so artists can select your venue as a possible match. (We've listed the type of information we prefer to collect below.)
3. We send you applications that artists identified as a possible match. You are also welcome to comb through other shows, and contact artists and try to convince them that you are a great match for them.
4. Make an offer of time and cost to a show and don't forget to be clear about what is and is not included. a. Time - check how many performances the show wants, and how many minutes they need for get-in, full performance, and get-out time. Pencil them into your schedule. (We also provide a festival wide Google spreadsheet to help you with this.) Write the artist with the time they will be allowed in the space to set up, what time their show will start, and what time they need to get out of the space as part of the offer. b. Cost - Create a price offer for the time. Some venues are free, some are a % of ticket sales (after festival %), and some are a flat fee like $20 per performance. When and how would the payments be made? What happens if an artists has to cancel? Be clear about your expectations, so everyone is clear about everything. c. Be Clear about the details - Make sure you are clear about what this includes. Do you have tech (lights or sound for the artists)? You don't have to offer tech, but if you do artists will love it. Who runs the tech? You can require the artists provide someone to run the lighting and sound, offer it for an additional charge, or include it in your fees. Just be clear with the artists about what you have, and what you don't have. Do you have storage or dressing room type space? Again, fringe artists are used to minimal storage and dressing room areas, but they do want you to be clear about having it, or not having it. Don't forget to chat about a rehearsal time so they can at minimum get familiar with the space in advance, and ideally do a run through of the show. Out of town performers will usually need to do this the day before the show starts.
5. Agreement - Once they accept the offer, some venues will offer contracts (ideal situation). You can do it on a handshake, but everyone might feel more confident with a contract. We have copies of past contracts, or contracts other venues at other festivals use to start with. Obviously we are not lawyers, so everything is up to you and your lawyer, if you choose or don't choose to use one.
6. Marketing - Your performers will love it if you can push out information about their show on your own social media. Performers are also used to marketing themselves, but the more everyone works together in this area, the better off everyone is!
7. Rehearsals - most shows will need an hour or two of rehearsal before their first show. Ideally you've planned them with them at the onset, but you might schedule the actual time closer to the event.
8. Show time - We'll help with Box Office and ushering if you need it (book with us in advance).
2020 Dates for Venues to Remember:
NOW: VENUE REGISTRATION OPEN All venues interesting in soliciting participants can register with the Fringe. The more the merrier, we’d like a nice selection for participants when booking begins on January 2nd. Note that we highly encourage DIY venues – Fringe venue created from found spaces.
December 2nd: APPLICATIONS OPENS All shows interested in participating can start the application process. Then venues will start making offers after January 2nd. If you have a venue idea already, you can register your venue whenever you have that idea.
January 2nd: FIRST DAY VENUES CAN START MAKING OFFERS and FRINGE REGISTRATION OPEN Performers mounting a show in the Pittsburgh Fringe have a three step process. First they apply, then they find a venue, and then they register with the festival. Between January 2nd and February 2nd - is the time artists will want to have venues confirmed. Most will want to have it done by January 15th to save on registration fees. Artist will be anxious to start confirming from January 2nd to January 15th. But the great thing is for venues, is that by then we will have had applications open for 1 month. So you will start off with a nice stack of applications.
JANUARY 15: EARLY REGISTRATION DEADLINE Most artists are about trying to keep fees down, so many of them will want to confirm their venue slot with you byb January 15th. (Now to keep this slightly less crazy, this year we are allowing artists a refund up to January 20th, so essentially they can register before confirming their venue, and bow out if they don't find a venue by January 20th without losing that registration fee.)
JANUARY 15: EARLY DISCOUNTED GUIDE ADS DEADLINE Not as essential for venues, but if you want to buy a really affordable ad in the Festival Program Guide - this is the early discount deadline. These ads will be as cheap as they are for the artists. Ads are an inexpensive way to promote your venue to the captive Fringe audience. To receive a significant discount, we must have your ads reserved and paid for by January 15th. Ads will be on sale to participants starting on December 10. You can purchase online ads at any time. Final design due for early bird discount is by January 21st.
JANUARY 20: LAST DAY FOR REFUND If an artists changes their mind about anything, today is the last day to request a refund on Participant Registration fees. They just need to email us. The extended refund date is for artists who truly tried to find a venue, and could not find one. If you turn down venue offers, you will not be eligible for the refund. (Officially, the refund extension is just to give security in our new system for those who end up without a venue. It will not be offered next year. This refund is not for those who just change their mind. But we want those performers trying to find venues to be secure that if for some reason they cannot find a venue, we are happy to refund your registration fees.) Artist will be anxious around this date, especially if they already paid the registration fee and didn't have a secure venue yet.
FEBRUARY 2nd: REGISTRATION DEADLINE Artists can register with the Fringe anytime after February 2, but assuming they want to be included in the printed Festival Program Guide (hint: they do!), their registration needs to be complete by February 2. This means that they need to have a venue booked and the registration paid by this date. So they will be very anxious to settle their venue by this date.
FEBRUARY 2: GUIDE ADS DEADLINE Guide Ads are an inexpensive way to promote your show to the captive Fringe audience. To send our guide to the printers in a timely manner, we must have your ads complete by February 10th. Ads will be on sale to participants starting on December 10. You can purchase online ads at any time. You will find the link to buy an ad on the Marketing page. Final designs are due by February 10th.
FEBRUARY 10: AD DESIGN FOR EARLY PRICE DUE If you purchased a Festival Program Guide /brochure advert by February 7th, the design work is due by today. There will be a link in the Marketing page to upload your design.
ROLLING BASIS: BROCHURE PROOF APPROVED We will send you a proof of your brochure entry to approve approximately between January 15 and February 7th (we will work on these on a rolling basis as you register). You will have a few days to approve the proof.
FEBRUARY 10: BROCHURE ENTRY DEADLINE We need to collect information for our brochure. A picture (Square Picture 3 inches x 3 inches and 300 dpi or better) and a 40 word blurb. See marketing page for link to this form.
FEBRUARY 14: GUIDE ADS RESERVATION AND PAYMENT FINAL DEADLINE Artists and venues still get a significant discount compared to regular advertisers, and guide Ads are an inexpensive way to promote your show to the captive Fringe audience. To send our guide to the printers in a timely manner, we must have your ads complete by February 14th. Ads will be on sale to participants starting on January 2nd. You can purchase online ads at any time.
FEBRUARY 17: AD DESIGN FOR REGULAR PRICE DUE If you purchased a brochure/program advert by February 14th, the design work is due by today.
MARCH 31-APRIL 5 (BUT USUALLY APRIL 1): REHEARSALS Depending on your agreement with your performer, artists may be rehearsing prior to the start of the festival, or they may be rehearsing earlier in the day before their first performance. Please remember to make these arrangements with your perforer in advance.
APRIL 1: ARTIST PRE-FESTIVAL EVENT Join us as we usher in another year of Fringe with a networking celebration! Artists and venues invited!
APRIL 2-5: FRINGE FESTIVAL 2020 These are the big dates!
APRIL 5: AWARD CEREMONY We present the sponsored and community awards for the Fringe at the end of the day on Sunday! It is best if you don't book any shows after 9pm on Sunday, so performers can make their way to the Award Ceremony this evening. Location (TBC - let us know if you are interested in hosting this!).
Space Details we need:
NAME: So this is what you want to call each SPACE. Many do just use the name "main space" for their first or only spaces. Buy you might already call a room something, or you can come up with fun names for your spaces (permanently or just for the fringe).
ADDRESS: Usually your spaces will be at the same place your venue is, and so just put that!
STAGE DIMENSIONS: If you can measure the area you want to dedicate as stage, that will be helpful to people. (You can come back and add this later if you don't have it on you now.) If you just have a large room, and and you want them to arrange the seating as they see fit - let them know in the space description, and maybe say something like flexible size here. Just remember the more information you can give, the easier it is for an artists to imagine the space.
STAGE TYPE: Is it a raised stage? Is the audience raked (going up higher in the back)? Or is it just a flat floor with both the "stage" and audience on the same level? Is it a wood floor? (Dancers want to know.) Or concrete?
DESCRIPTION: Use this space to describe the space. Remember to put some cons about the space. Artists will be happier if they knew the cons of the space, and decided it would work anyways. Cons might include: sound bleed from hall into performing space, no wall between the bar and performance area, pillars in the middle of the basement stage, not ADD compliant, low ceilings, etc. Our artists can use any type of space, but the more they know the happier they'll be in the space! For inspiration go read space descriptions of other places under the "Venue" section.
SLOT INFORMATION: If you can only book a few hours each day, or only a few days of the four day festival, this is the place to mention that! Also, discuss if you prefer all shows to be a certain length (like 1 hour), if you want everyone to have 30 minutes between shows (recommended minimum). Anything about how you want to book time slots should go here!
LIGHTING: What types of lighting do you have? If it is just the regular room lights, mention that here. If you have just a lighting tree or two, with a small light board, mention that here. If you have a lot of lights, mention it here! Also, this is the place to mention if you have a projector for artists, and/or a projector screen. Several of our shows use projectors, so this is a big selling point!
SOUND: Do you have sound the artists can use? A mic or two? Just describe what you have, and what you don't!
STORAGE AND DRESSING ROOMS: Do you have a spare room close to the space for artists to use to get ready in? Or to store props and storage? If you have two performance spaces, and only one shared room, that is OK! Just let them know. If you only want them to store stuff during the performance, but not overnight. Let them know. Also, this might be a good place to say that the room is not secure, or that various artists will be going in and out, and that they shouldn't leave any valuables in the room. (You also might want to put a sign up about this during the festival to remind people.) If you have a bathroom that the audience doesn't have access to, this is also a plus or something they can use as a dressing room. If all you have is the bathroom that the audience can also access, just let them know. They may need to show up already in costume.
PARKING: Many people are curious about parking situations. Do artists have a place to park? What is the situation for the public? Just give details about your lot, or street parking, or nearby paid parking.
You can also invite others to be team members. You can also change who is the primary contact, and who is just a team member. The difference is that only the Primary Contact will receive any emails from artists. But anyone on the team, can go in and fix or update or browse applications and offer deals.
"SHOW DETAILS" explained:
Each company and show has filled out a form with all their information. This should give you adequate information to may need to contact them to ask questions, or find out more. They should have also included several forms of contact information.
NOTE: ONE SHOW / ONE VENUE We have a one show / one venue rule. Once you book a show with your venue, they cannot perform that same, exact show at any other venue. In the Fringe printed guide and website, each show will be listed as playing at one venue only. An actor in a play or a musician in a band may perform at more than one venue IF they are also in a totally different play or band. (For example, John Doe can perform in Romeo & Juliet at one venue, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at another venue, but the same exact production of Romeo & Juliet cannot be performed at more than one venue.) That said, any individual or group may submit multiple productions to the Fringe: simply start a new application. Once in a great while, we may need to do this to solve a problem with a venue, but it really makes marketing the show very difficult. Also, as a venue you will understand why it is best to get a show ALL the slots they want in order to book that show. They may not accept your offer if they want 3 performances, and you only give them 1.
Want to see the form performers will be filling out? We have screenshots of it here under "Step One."
Some of the questions you will be most interested in:
PRIMARY CONTACT INFORMATION and COMPANY CONTACT INFORMATION: Sometimes for small one person shows only one of these two will be filled, and sometimes they will contain the same information. This is useful if a larger company has a standard email, but one particular person is dealing with the bookings. It also gives you multiple contacts so you can try different ways if you are not getting any response.
OTHER FRINGES: We ask if the company has performed at other fringe festivals, and then again if the show has been performed at other fringe festivals. This is interesting to see how much this company or show has traveled in the past, and how experienced they are with fringe performing. This is also a great information for marketing or bragging on social media about how you have a show in your venue that has been seen across the world, or a world traveling company.
SOCIAL MEDIA: We ask about all their social media information, as this is helpful for your research before booking, and for future marketing.
SHOW INFORMATION: This is where you can find out if it is original or not, a premiere or not, and the show rating.
SHOW RATING: We ask artist to rate their show using the usual movie ratings. We also ask them to rate them a bit higher than they might, since we are in the midwest and not the east coast. If you have a venue that you want only kid friendly shows, you might look here for G, PG or PG-13 type shows. This will give you a clue as to the level of the content.
SHOW DESCRIPTION FOR BROCHURE AND PICTURE FOR BROCHURE: Some shows may not have this up and ready yet. They don't really need this until February, but some touring shows are already ready. It also helps you learn more about the show, and pushes them to start prepping for the brochure early.
NUMBER OF CAST MEMBERS: This will give you a clue about how many people will be showing up backstage. This may also be a good place to identify if they are picking a unsuitable venue. Say your stage is only 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep, but the artists has a crew of 20 people. Hmmmm.... Something might not be right. I would contact them before booking them. It may be that only 2 people are ever on stage at one point, so if your off stage area can handle the other 18, it might still work, but often this is an artists who is applying everywhere, and not actually taking the time to read about each space!
Get In Time and Get Out Tim e (In Minutes): This is important information for you when booking. If the show is 60 minutes, and they need 10 minutes in (remember this includes getting the show in, set up, sound check, and getting the audience in!), and 10 minutes out - then you need an 80 minute time slot on your schedule. When you propose a deal, you will only mention the 60 minute show length, but you need to keep track of the get in and get out times - to not over book them. As a rule of thumb, leave 30 minutes between every show. 20 minutes in and 10 minutes out for each show.
IDEAL VENUE- SOME OF OUR QUESTIONS HELP YOU IDENTIFY IF YOU CAN FULFILL THEIR VENUE NEEDS:
CAPACITY: We offered them a range for them to select. You will be surprised, but artists usually prefer smaller spaces. They would rather sell out a small intimate 30 person venue, than have 30 in a 100 seat space. If you have a huge space, you might make them feel better knowing you'll only put out 50 chairs, but if they start selling well you can add another 20 chairs.
HOW MANY PERFORMANCES: This is super important. While some may be happy with less than 3 performances, out of town performers are usually quite set on needed 3 performances to make the trip to Pittsburgh worth it. So while you can ask them, or propose a deal with less than their desired amount - they may not accept your offer. Locals are generally less concerned with the number of performances, and may actually want less than 3 because they can't get out of work.
SCHEDULE CONFLICTS: Locals will often have schedule conflicts around work, and some out of towners might not be able to get into town until a certain time, and might need to leave a bit early for work on Monday. So make sure you pay attention to this answer when offering dates and times to the artist.
To make it more convenient for the artists, we have a lot of options they can just select. They also have a place they can explain more. So that is why you'll see similar phrasing.
STAGING: They have the option of giving you minimum size requirements. Just make sure their show fits in their space. If they aren't reading your information carefully, they might apply to an unsuitable space. This is a way to make sure you are getting the right shows in the right spaces.
SOUND: QUIET: You'll see in this sample that one of the options is "My show would do better in a quiet environment, but I understand this is impossible at a Fringe Festival." This selection allows the artists to let you know he prefers a quiet space, while at the same time letting them know absolute quiet in many festival venues is difficult. However, you should try to find your quietest space, or be very upfront about possible noise issues. Better to be upfront than have an unhappy artist. When considering sounds, don't forget to take into account outside noise. Can you hear trucks going by? Neighbor noise - can the performance room feel the shaking of dancing above the space? Does the door seal tightly? Or can you hear hallway noise inside the performance space? Is this the only even happening? Will you be able to shush audiences waiting for the next show? We know this is hard! So just be clear about how quiet or loud it may be before booking. Even mention it in the proposed deal if they mentioned in their application.
LOUD: We also have an option for artist to say they are loud, or have amplified music. If you have two spaces, you might not want to book a loud show and a quiet show at the same time, but booking two quiet shows, and then later in the day two loud shows - that could work great! (As long as you stay on schedule!)
LIGHTING: If you said you just have room lights, but they need a spotlight. You might have the wrong show. So check their needs against what you have. If you really want to get into this venue deal, you might get a few lights on a light tree to use during the festival and other shows you book. Artists usually like a wee bit of lighting on the stage, and a bit darker area for the audience, but our artists are incredibly flexible too! So no need to bend over backwards if you don't want to!
We will be updating this soon by January 2nd when you can start booking.