Occasionally, a production will be so spectacular that it seems almost seamless, as if it was destined to be perfect regardless of how hard the performers and technical teams may or may not have worked.

This, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter what kind of production you are putting on, whether it’s a dramatic performance or a dance recital, extensive rehearsals are a necessity.

But where exactly should these rehearsals be held? While some performers have the luxury of rehearsing on the stage on which they will be performing, it’s often the case that a performer won’t be able to tread the boards of the main stage until a couple of nights before the performance itself. This is especially true for touring companies.

This means that many performers have to rely on dedicated rehearsal spaces. These spaces are often a lot smaller than an actual stage and won’t have rows of seating or space for an audience. Despite this, the space still needs to be able to accurately recreate the experience of performing on a stage, including lighting and sound cues.

Generally, the budget for designing a rehearsal space won’t be as high as it would be for designing lighting for a open-to-the-public theatre; there’s no onus on having the highest quality equipment and the space will often be smaller.

As such, think of designing the stage lighting and sound systems of your rehearsal space in terms of a creating a rough guide for an actual performance space. If you only perform in a single space, you can more or less recreate the lighting and sound of that space, albeit on a smaller scale.

For groups that will be performing in multiple spaces, it’s slightly harder as the stage lighting and sound of the venues you will be performing could potentially vary massively. There are a couple of ways around this, including only settling for the very basics and working with those before designing a larger scale plan for the venue itself.

Another alternative is to invest in portable lighting and your own sound system to take on tour with you. This is obviously a more expensive investment, and quite a few venues will be insistent that you use their equipment, but for low-to-mid level venues, portable equipment could be a good solution.

For non-professional performance groups, like school drama groups and amateur dramatists, a performance space will most often double up as a performance space too. This means designing your lighting so that it’s easy enough to use and experiment with in rehearsals, but complex and of a high enough quality to put on a cracking performance.

Most rehearsal spaces will require at least one row of stage lights and a couple of speakers. It’s also a good idea to include some form of mobile staging (that can be constructed and de-constructed) and stage drapes; it may seem extravagant, but having drapes will allow you to properly plan stage entrances and exits, as well as giving your performers a bit of privacy for costume changes.

For more information on setting up your rehearsal space, get in touch with PG Stage!

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