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Proscenia - a new theatre Building a home for our theatre companies NTP – v.1.1f, RB / Aug 2014 - printed: 20141009 - 184847 ProsceniaPres - copy for Web.

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Presentation on theme: "Proscenia - a new theatre Building a home for our theatre companies NTP – v.1.1f, RB / Aug 2014 - printed: 20141009 - 184847 ProsceniaPres - copy for Web."— Presentation transcript:

1 Proscenia - a new theatre Building a home for our theatre companies NTP – v.1.1f, RB / Aug printed: ProsceniaPres - copy for Web

2 Who are GEDS and GAOS? Our new theatre project is aimed at finding a permanent home for two of Europe's most prominent non-professional theatre companies. GEDS and GAOS, both based in Geneva, have long and illustrious histories and a dynamic and growing membership. Their members reflects the demographics of their home canton rather than any particular cultural or linguistic group although most members are anglophone. GEDS and GAOS are funded only by their ticket sales. They have never sought public subsidy or corporate sponsorship. GAOS is a significant contributor to local charity organisations having donated almost 200,000 to charitable organisations over more than four decades of activity. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 2

3 Geneva English Drama Society GEDS is continental Europe's oldest Dramatic Society, founded in Geneva in 1933 by Roger de Candole and his colleagues at the ILO. Over more than 80 years of history it has performed a wide range of plays from Elizabethan drama to modern comedy and works by local authors. The group has a reputation for quality, picking up awards in European drama festivals and attracting a faithful audience from all over the lake Geneva area. George Bernard Shaw's play Geneva was written for GEDS, which gave the play its first public performance in ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 3

4 Geneva Amateur Operatic Society GAOS is continental Europe's largest non-professional Operatic Society with a growing membership that has expanded to over 500 since the group's creation in The group focuses on musical theatre and often employs an orchestra of up to 30 musicians, but it also produces a traditional Christmas Pantomime with a smaller band. GAOS attracts large and enthusiastic audiences to four full productions every season including one staged by the society's lively youth group. GAOS also runs a program of choral concerts and musical evenings to raise money for local charities. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 4

5 1) Background Our requirements ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 5

6 Why a new theatre? Our two theatre groups spend a very large amount of money on rent for theatres, workshops and storage space. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to find theatre and rehearsal space, and what we do find is often of very poor quality. Our storage and workshop premises are widely dispersed and often lacking in space, equipment or basic amenities. There is no identifiable home that our audience can associate with our productions, and most importantly, no social centre for our societies. Because of this, we move our productions into and out of a new theatre every time. This is costly and a huge workload for our technical teams. Some of the theatres we use are poorly equipped and much time is lost resolving technical issues and equipment failures. The toll on our own equipment is high and will only get higher with the advent of more sophisticated lighting and sound systems. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 6

7 What do we need A new theatre needs to satisfy the current needs of both societies, but also future needs, and those of external groups. We require backstage and construction infrastructure as well as front- of-house facilities, meeting rooms, rehearsal space and administrative space. This study proposes the high-level configuration below: Main auditorium Studio theatre Dressing rooms Workshop and storage areas Rehearsal space Foyer and bar The central design goal is flexibility of configuration and usage. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 7

8 Organisation The theatre will need a management and governance structure. One solution may be to set up a charitable foundation to build and operate the theatre and provide its services both to internal and external clients. This solution separates the financial arrangements of the theatre from those of the two societies and allows an independent management structure with representation from the organisations the theatre was built for. Our application is typical of the type of operation these legal entities were created to serve and there are numerous examples around, not least that of the Grand Théâtre. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 8

9 Main auditorium The main space needs to offer the flexibility to host small conventional drama presentations as well as large musical comedies, dance shows, and musical events. It should also be suitable for typical external shows from stand-up comedy and corporate events to concerts. The maximum capacity of the main auditorium is a determining factor in the design and cost of the overall theatre. We need enough capacity to accommodate current but also future needs, and we want to offer an attractive venue to third parties. Most large GAOS shows use theatres of approximately 400 seats but this is largely imposed by the availability of theatre spaces rather than by choice. For the pantomime, and popular modern musicals, it would be preferable to have a larger auditorium. An orchestra pit is essential. GEDS requirements are different, generally requiring spaces between 200 and 400 seats and a more intimate audience experience with a thrust or proscenium presentation. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 9

10 Main auditorium Satisfying these different requirements means designing a reconfigurable auditorium with a flexible stage area. Internal panels and curtains can mask unused seating areas to provide an intimate 250-seat drama configuration or anything up to a 600-seat musical configuration. A modular stage construction allows a variety of staging presentations from proscenium to end- stage, with or without an orchestra pit. There are a variety of Geneva venues that achieve this: the Forum in Meyrin, for example, or on a larger scale, the Arena. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 10

11 Studio theatre Our societies host a number of events that require small venues: play readings, musical evenings, choir concerts and various other meetings and events. GAOS musical evenings use a church hall with a floor area approximately 8m x 12m (excluding the area behind the bar tables). Using stackable chairs gives a high seating density. It is not unusual to have another 40 people standing in the bar area giving a maximum audience of perhaps 150 in total. Play readings take place in a smaller space but with similar seating arrangements and a seated audience of around 100. Meeting these requirements with a good level of comfort might require a space approximately 120m 2. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 11

12 Studio theatre Notes Although the table suggests 20 weekends would be available for external bookings, many of these would fall in July and August or over the Christmas period. On the other hand, if the main stage were to be free, rehearsals could be moved there to liberate the studio theatre for a sufficiently lucrative external booking. To work as a rehearsal space, the studio theatre needs a flat auditorium but there may be solutions to provide a space that can be reconfigured to be either completely flat or give a slightly raked auditorium with a raised stage. Neither musical evenings, held on Sunday evenings, nor play readings, held on weekday evenings should conflict with normal rehearsal schedules. Current play reading, musical evening and choir group events would only occupy this space for about 20 days in the year, so clearly, whilst it has potential for external events, it must also double as our main rehearsal space. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 12

13 Foyer and bar area This is the main audience holding area together with the audience bar, toilets, FOH office, ticket counter and theatre information desk. The space should also double as a rehearsal area and an events room for after-show parties and so on. Provision might be made to add kitchen facilities at a later date. The area needs to accommodate up to 600 people during the interval of a large show so a total surface area of more than 300m 2 is needed. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 13

14 Rehearsal space requirements The best rehearsal space we ever had was the old Crossroads building with its huge hall and raised stage and several classrooms that served as breakout areas for principal rehearsal or costume try-outs. If we aim for this baseline, the theatre should provide a full-sized rehearsal space as large as the main auditorium stage giving about 120m 2 (the studio space), a second partitionable space of at least 100m 2 which would also double as the theatre foyer and bar, and two smaller break-out rooms of 20m 2 each. These latter would be able to function as music rooms, meeting and conference rooms or to host quiet auditions, for example. Total available rehearsal space would be about 300m 2. It is obvious that this also constitutes a very useful conference facility that would be attractive to commercial users for hire during office hours when unused by ourselves. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 14

15 Workshops, dressing rooms and storage A new facility needs to provide a good-quality workshop area for scenery construction, props manufacture and storage, painting, equipment storage and costumes storage. Long-term scenery storage can be located in an unheated external facility to avoid clutter in the workshop and reduce costs. A workshop needs 200m 2 of surface area, parts of it subdivided, and some of it providing 5m headroom. It needs access to a loading ramp for materials and direct access through oversized doors to the stage. The workshop needs to be large enough to allow construction of a GAOS show and a GEDS show simultaneously, so a covered outside overflow area should be provided. This can also be used for painting large surfaces. Lighting and sound will require some storage space, though much of the equipment will be permanently installed in the theatre – 60m 2 should be sufficient. Costumes will also require storage. This analysis estimates 100m 2 but this will need to be confirmed. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 15

16 Other space requirements There is a requirement for further administrative space for the theatre: A small office with some storage space – 20m 2 Space for the TIE booking office – 20m 2 Additional office – 20m 2 Front of house storage space – 10m 2 Technical and plant rooms (HVAC, LX, water, cleaning materials etc. – 50m 2 The theatre will clearly need access to a car park whose size will depend on the location of the site chosen, and the availability of public transport. Ideally, the location should be near a public or private car park that has space available outside normal office and commercial hours. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 16

17 2) Operational finance ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 17

18 Funds available Notes 1) Based on last three years of shows – from treasurers reports 2) Musical evenings, play readings, choral group, after show parties, events Between them, the two groups spend over 139,000 per year on rent, an amount that would finance the interest on a commercial loan of about 7 million. Taking into account, even very conservatively, the potential revenue generated by a theatre, the opportunities for corporate sponsorship, and some capital self-funding of our project, it is obvious that a substantial amount of money could be raised. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 18

19 Revenue available Notes 1) Single day events with prep time – excluding equipment hire, staff and services 2) Based on an external audience of 10,200 total, and using GAOS' usual bar sales data (average net profit 3/Seat) Since our two societies’ shows would occupy the main stage of the theatre for less than 30% of the time, there is spare capacity that can be sold. The table at right shows a conservative scenario with about 110 days of hires from 7 shows and 10 corporate events. The main stage would thus be occupied 59% of the time. Obviously there are also revenue opportunities from the studio theatre and the rehearsal space, and possibly from other sources too. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 19

20 Costs Notes 1) This is an incremental cost, both societies already pay building insurance Owning and operating a theatre clearly comes with costs attached. It seems essential to have a designated facility manager, probably paid on a part time basis. Other costs will include utilities and insurance. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 20

21 Overall operating budget Bringing the numbers together, we have an operating budget that yields a positive cashflow of about 175,000 per annum. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 21

22 3) Capital finance Sponsors Branding ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 22

23 Financing construction From a financial perspective, to build a theatre we need: A positive cashflow operation Some capital Land, either bought or donated Obviously, the issue of land, its location and how we acquire it, is one of the keys to this project and has a considerable effect on the financial model. Nevertheless we can make some assumptions to produce a variety of financial simulations. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 23

24 Financing construction Notes 1) Estimating the build cost of a theatre is no simple task. I have found data from one public-funded Swiss project in Zurich which yielded a cost by volume of 500 per m 3 for a small theatre space with no significant workshop areas and a masonry construction to a high standard of internal finish. This also included all the theatre technical equipment. Building Magazine (issue 16, 2005) put UK costs by surface area in the range of GBP 3000 to 4000 per m 2 including all technical theatre equipment (much of which we already possess). Various UK and Swiss sources suggest a simple steel-framed industrial building of 1200m 2 with a basic level of fit-out and amenities costs about 1 million. Several case studies are available from the links in Annexe II of this document. The table at right is a simulation based on a minimum amount of one-time capital through self funding and sponsorship but with no further sponsorship revenue during the life of the building. It assumes a donation of land and a building cost of 5.5 million with external revenues of 106,600 per annum. By raising more capital it seems possible to finance the building and acquire land even without external assistance. Equally, long-term sponsorship would change the financials considerably and allow a more ambitious building program or a higher standard of finish. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 24

25 Raising capital We can exploit several sources of capital including large corporate sponsorship, smaller partnership deals, and crowd-sourcing. In this latter category for example, it could be possible to pay for the auditorium seating by appealing to members to sponsor a seat with their name on it. In a similar way, boxes (if the design supports these) could be sponsored, obviously for a higher amount. Large corporate sponsorship could be a significant part of the overall financial plan. A few corporate sponsors might provide assistance of the order of 100,000 to 500,000 each in return for prominent placement in and around the theatre, on publicity materials, tickets, programs and posters. We can explore these opportunities through contacts with local business federations as well as through direct contact with potential sponsors. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 25

26 Branding There is the possibility of finding a significant corporate sponsor in return for branding the entire building. All sorts of possibilities could be open to a large corporate sponsor willing to provide a multi-million sum over a 10 year contract period. We will need to target significant local corporate businesses with pitches tailored to their needs: there are a number of obvious candidates… ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 26

27 4) Communications Partnerships Getting momentum ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 27

28 Communication In approaching donors or sponsors it is vital to have a completely professional pitch that is tuned to their needs and expectations. One of the first things the project needs to deliver is a communications plan with a package of communications tools including video, web-based, print and TV/radio communications vehicles. Using these tools we can progressively build support for the project by leveraging prominent personalities and institutions until we have a critical mass of backing, both political and financial. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 28

29 Communication At this point we will be ready to lobby local authorities and seek a site and preferably a donation of land. The project must by then present the image of a fully integrated part of Geneva's cultural scene, with materials in French and high-profile French-language speakers pitching that material. We should quickly obtain the services of a significant local media personality to take on this role. Putting this package together will take experienced media people, as well as time and money. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 29

30 Partnerships We have the opportunity to partner with local institutions or businesses to provide building services to the theatre during construction. There are many possible ways we can seek to obtain products or services through contacts or through charitable donations. ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 30

31 5) Appendices ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 31

32 Appendix I - Summary of floor areas Notes Excluding external, unheated, unserviced storage area ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 32

33 Appendix II - Links and case studies Repton school theatrehttp://www.e-architect.co.uk/england/400-hall-theatre An award-winning project with a state-of-the-art 315 seat auditorium including a height-adjustable floor, a studio theatre, workshops, a kitchen and bar with a dramatic glass foyer area built around an existing building shell. Budget: 3M. Winner of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Design and Innovation Award and the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists Gold Award for Technical Excellence. The J.C.-Carrière theatrehttp://www.domaine-do-34.eu/domaine-do/espaces/theatre-jean-claude-carriere A large and remarkable theatre with full infrastructure and a restaurant, built on a 7.9 million budget. Theatre by the lakehttp://www.theatrebythelake.com/about-us/hire-us/performance-space Architecturally and functionally brilliant: a 424-seat main stage, 100 seat studio, large workshops, offices and restaurant, exhibition space and rehearsal space plus conference rooms, full technical infrastructure and high quality build in national park environment - 9.4M Théâtre de Carougehttp://tcag.ch/partenaires/ TDC wants to build a large theatre complex in the centre of Carouge with multiple performance and rehearsal spaces, office accommodation for 20 full time staff and considerable workshop and storage space. The budget is over 50 million, of which 20 million would come from the Ville de Carouge. The Theatre de Carouge claims an annual audience of 50,000. Ours would be over 20,000. Theatre architecturehttp://www.e-architect.co.uk/theatre-buildings Steel building costshttp://www.steelconstruction.info/Cost_of_structural_steelwork ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 33

34 Appendix III - Conceptual layout This conceptual building layout explores the feasibility of fitting our required volumes into a very simple building shape with a footprint of about 1200m 2 and a volume of 14,000m 3. The model allows for, but does not detail, circulation space, plant, office space, and technical equipment areas. The first floor position of the studio theatre comes with functional limitations. Building dimensions Width: 25m, length: 50m, height: 10m, stagehouse height: 15m ProsceniaPres v.1.1f - Copy for WebPage 34


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