Information for Visiting Companies / Performers
Our Programming Aims
The Seagull is a not for profit community theatre and this drives everything that we do. We draw our audiences from some of the most deprived wards in the East of England and therefore have to consider affordability very carefully when programming.
We aim to provide a varied programme of performance across the year. We operate three season of four months each and produce a printed brochure for each season. All acts booked sufficiently in advance are able to submit words and an image to be included in this brochure. All acts are also featured on our active website which attracts over 2000 visitors a month.
Our programming includes all of the following whenever possible
- Bands – including Tribute Acts
- Comedy – usually comedic plays but sometimes stand up
- Community and amateur performances
- Youth Productions
Of these the bands, singers and community productions tend to attract audiences most easily, with plays and drama being noticeably harder to fill. Our audience typically respond best to plays that they know or have heard of, interestingly including Shakespeare which does get relatively good audiences.
New work or more avant garde productions can do well at our venue, but require greater effort in publicising and explaining. Those companies who are willing to engage in targetted marketing and make sufficient effort online and in social media will see the benefits of that.
We provide guidance on how to maximise your audiences with us – and this is available to download from the links below.
As a not for profit, community enterprise, we operate on very tight margins. The Theatre employs only two part time staff and relies largely on volunteers for most functions. Therefore we generally only able to book acts on a “Split” basis. Our splits are based on ticket income after deductions. The deductions which are taken prior to the split are
- Flat fee for PRS / PPL licensing
- Percentage fee to cover payment processing costs for online and card bookings
In some case the PRS/PPL fee can be reduced or waived in light of the nature of the production (ie containing no music) However it should be noted that the Theatre has to pay rights even for foyer incidental music and therefore it is unusual that we would waive the entire PRS/PPL fee.
Exact splits are negotiated directly with each performer / company, but we are keen to support acts in being viable whilst balancing that against our own need to cover costs.
Once a booking is agreed and mutually convenient dates finalised, our admin team will issue a contract for signing. Please bear in mind that our admin team are all volunteers and therefore there can sometimes be time delays in issuing contracts.
Our contract sets out in detail the terms of any booking and the responsibilities of each party.An example contract is available for download below.
As well as a “split” basis we also offer our Theatre for Direct Hire. On this basis some performers / companies pay a flat fee for the use of the Theatre and keep the ticket sales (after deductions). In this way the risk of low audiences is borne entirely by the producer / company and is therefore often only an option for larger groups.
Our flat hire fee includes the use of our technicians / volunteers and covers a single performance per day of hire. An additional charge is due if the day incorporates more than one performance.
We reserve the right to offer only a direct hire, or conversely only a Split arrangement for any given show.
About our technical capabilities
We are a small “black box” theatre with 112 seats. The stage is 6.4m wide and 6.8m deep when bare – but obviously any curtains left up will curtail this.
Linked below is a copy of our stage plan.
We have four lighting bars and operate predominantly with traditional dimmer racks and tungsten lights. We have a small number of basic LED Pars but do not currently offer moving heads LED’s. We have a Jester Zero88 lighting board with 48 sub masters and can programme to 999 memory slots or directly to the sub masters.
For visiting companies we provide pre show contact through our Tech Co-ordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are able to provide technical details in advance we are usually able to prepare the rig that you require so long as we have sufficient notice and lamps. However please be conscious that we are a small not for profit venue which relies largely on donations for our equipment. We do not have the capacity or funds to offer large scale technical rigs.
In terms of sound, we are able to accomodate most set up through our own PA system. We can provide microphones (wired or wireless) and are able to mic up instruments. The sound system is usually operated from the Tech box alongside the lighting operation. Some bands choose to bring their own PA system and operate independently from the stage or from the Tech box, this is also fine. We are able to play from your laptop if you have a normal headphone socket but please be aware that we cannot stream to our PA via bluetooth currently.
If you wish to project images, we have both a large projector in the tech box which can be operated from there, or a smaller projector which can be placed on stage and operated from there. The projector screen is electrically operated and can be lowered to your requested height.
Access to the stage is via small doors to the rear of the stage and vans can be parked at the rear of the building to provide direct access. If you need to bring in taller items which cannot be carried horizontally then you may need to use the public entrance and access via the foyer. If truly necessary we have 12foot access via the workshop and foyer – but if you will need this please let us know well in advance as the workshop is often crowded.
The backstage area is comprised of a small kitchen, a large changing room which can be subdivided with curtains to separate genders, and a toilet. Please be aware that the backstage toilet is also our designated disabled toilet and patrons with accessibility requirements may well access the backstage area to use this toilet.
We have audio and visual feeds of the stage which play in the backstage kitchen and changing room – but there is not a talkback system between backstage and the tech box.
We have fibre broadband available via wifi at 2.5ghz and 5ghz, but we are not able to offer a cabled ethernet connection.
Safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults
The Seagull is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of any children or young people present in our building. We respectfully ask all performers / producers or Hirers to support this effort by reading our Safeguarding policy and ensuring all staff / performers / volunteers taking part in your production are reminded of their safeguarding responsibilities.
Please also note that we comply fully with the Suffolk County Council guidance on the employment of children and will expect all visiting companies to do likewise. This includes insuring that appropriate chaperones are provided at the specified ratio, and limiting hours of involvement for children.
If you or any member of your show has a concern about the safety of a child or vulnerable adult, please ensure this is raised at the earliest opportunity with a member of our staff or one of our volunteers.