Performing Arts Venues
Performing arts venues are distinguished and defined by their
mandate, mission, management, programming, type, stage and seating capacity.
Generally refers to the legal purpose or perimeters within which an organization
is entrusted to perform a service.
the purpose in more specific terms, for example, presenting the
arts to an audience; renting facilities to user groups; producing
performing arts; or some combination of these three in an order of
While the primary purpose of the not-for-profit performing arts
is public service, these activities may also be described in business terms.
Depending upon the size of the facility and the market which it
serves, these three programming arrangements are listed in order of their
possible risks and potential returns:
licenses or "rents" the use of its facility to a user group for a fixed fee or
guaranteed minimum plus a percentage of box office receipts. Management assumes
no responsibility for the choice of the event or its promotion
buys a show for a fixed fee or cost-profit sharing agreement and promotes it to
its audience with the aim of recovering costs and/or achieving a net surplus in
(usually a resident producing company) creates and finances a show and promotes
it with the aim of recovering costs through box office, sponsorships, subsidy
and/or future licensing agreements.
calibre, not-for-profit facilities are usually owned by governments, government
agencies, not-for-profit facility corporations or resident theatre companies.
They may be managed by the facility owner, a facility management entity or a
resident producing company.
theatre and opera have subsets such as: popular versus classical music (or
amplified music versus unamplified music); modern dance versus ballet; straight
plays versus musical theatre; and operetta versus grand opera. Each programming
subset has different physical, acoustical, visual and technical requirements of
a performing arts venue.
dance theatre, playhouse, musical theatre and opera house are all terms that
imply a set of facility characteristics suited to a particular performing art.
Multi-purpose facilities combine characteristics of two or more venues. Cinemas
have a different set of characteristics from performing arts theatres.
thrust and arena stages refer to types of stages and seating arrangements
applicable to venues primarily designed for dance, theatre and opera. A true
concert hall has an end stage configuration with no division between the house
and the audience.
venues are financed by earned income from ticket sales or user group rental fees
and such things as concessions and merchandising, as well as contributed income
from donations and subsidies. In a theatre development process the choice of
seating capacity and type of facility should be made on the basis of user group
demand, potential audience size (or market share), the types of performances
contemplated and a cost/benefit analysis. In general practice, seating
capacities ranging from 100 - 599 seats are usually incubator spaces (for
renting and producing), while venues with 600 to 2,000 seats are often used as