Advanced Preparation

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1. Organize

Designate a single contact person, the “one voice” who has decision-making authority and can authorize expenditures. This person should consider all aspects of the production to ensure that they are properly integrated. This is the person that the CPAC staff will look to for answers.

Make no assumptions. Spell out all details. Think through all aspects of the production before arriving at the CPAC. Discuss problems, questions, uncertainties. Be thorough.

2. Plan Ahead

Hire/appoint a stage manager or technical director. This person should be familiar with the show before loading into the CPAC. This person should know the cast and should be able to communicate with both CPAC staff and client staff regarding the shifting of scenery and the cueing of the production. This person should also know the CPAC facility, its equipment, policies, procedures, and rules.

3. Schedule Tightly

Time in the theatre is invaluable. To make effective use of it try to visualize the entire process from the doors opening to the time that you are loading out. Think about task order—which tasks happen first? Which tasks can happen at the same time?

Typically we find the following to be efficient: 

-Lights are hung before scenery.
-Lights focused in areas that will have limited access once scenery is in place.
-All scenery & props available for focusing.
-Shift rehearsal before any performer rehearsals.
-Allow enough time to do each job right. Many technical effects need to be worked out & practiced separately, then integrated into the show. This should be done in advance, or during “dry tech” at the latest.

-Allow time outside of rehearsals for notes.

4. Your Volunteer Crew.

Be sure that your crew is filled with responsible respectful people who will be available for the entire process. Having people come and go will be confusing for CPAC Staff who will be building rapport with your crew.  

5. Facility Orientation :

Be sure all performers and crew are familiar with CPAC house rules as they will be expected to abide by them. All technical crews are responsible to the CPAC Technical Coordinator/Director  whether they are paid or volunteer.

6 . Load-In.

Bring all materials you need: Scripts, cue sheets, pencils, clipboards, assembly tools, battery chargers (and charged batteries!), necessary materials for final assembly, masking materials, etc. You lose serious, expensive time making repeated runs to the hardware store. Plan the order of arrival of the sets & props so that the items needed first arrive first.

7 . Scenery

Flown scenery is tricky—work with us before construction begins. Thickness, balance & shape all affect how well pieces will work. Those pieces which are not safe for rigging will not be allowed to fly.
A. Untreated cardboard is not allowed.
B. Thin materials need stiffeners.
C. Any piece requires at least 2 pickup points to fly. They must be structural, and should        carry the weight from the bottom. Special hardware is available if needed.
D. Cable attachment points are critical and should be considered from the start.

 Always allow plenty of time to install scenery—usually more than you think. All scenery must be finished when it arrives at the CPAC. There is neither time nor space to start building that last piece. Construction is not allowed on site. All scenery should be built, fully assembled and painted at your shop, then broken down for transport. 

All scenery provided by the user must be flame-retardant treated or non-flammable in nature.

8 . Safety .

Our primary goal, above the quality of your production, is the safety of our staff, your company members, and our audiences. Sometimes the quickest or coolest way to do something is not always the safest. Know that although sometimes we may say “no”, it is always with your best interest in mind.