How To Create a Dinner Theatre for Plays with Music


How To Create a Dinner Theatre for Plays with Music

Dinner theatre has been around for many years as a concept. Instead of in a theatre, the plays are staged in a restaurant where the patrons are treated to a meal and can be entertained during the meal by watching a play. The plays may be simple like a cabaret show or a full theatre production that includes plays with music accompaniment. You can go as small or as big as your dreams will inspire. You can also hire local amateur actors or get famous A-listers to perform at your venue.

This type of dinner theatre was most popular during the seventies, but its popularity declined in the eighties. However, after the year 2000 more such venues started opening.

It seems like a simple idea to execute, after all, you have a meal and a play. Possibly plays with music. But it is not so easy to execute. You need to consider whether the focus of your guest’s experience will be on dining or on watching the performance. As this will be your guide for all the other decisions you will need to make when creating a dinner theatre venue from scratch.

For a theatre play with a musical performance, you will need to make sure your venue can adhere to theatre standards. You will need to cater for the orchestra and their instruments, and also provide gourmet food that is delicious otherwise the play will be a flop and if your food is not perfect, nobody will come to visit your venue.

Have Good Advertising

Before you can attract a crowd to your venue to a dinner theatre for plays with music, you need to advertise your event. Nobody will come if they don’t know about the place.

Once you have a suitable restaurant venue that you want to transform into an exclusive dinner theatre experience, you will need to spread the word about the show. To start with, you should concentrate on attracting local people who live in the areas nearby to where your restaurant is situated. They are the most likely patrons to attend your premiere show. They live close by and may be interested in the experience. The older patrons may remember going to such a place long ago, and to the young crowd it may be a novel experience.

The best way to advertise to local customers is through word of mouth and going old school banner printing to present the information about the venue. Hang the banners about the show on advertising poles and shop windows in your area. The more places you put up your banners the better for the show.

Make the Room Cozy

Depending on the climate where your dinner theatre venue is situated, you will need to ensure that the temperature inside is ambient. It means not too hot or too cold for your audience. After all, they will spend more time at your venue than if they were just eating a meal.

To make sure your visitors feel cozy and comfortable, you may have to invest in heating and cooling equipment for the venue.

Another reason to make sure your venue has heating and cooling equipment is to allow for the musical instruments to sound good. Wind, string and even percussion will not sound their best when played in a place that is either too hot or too cold.

Creating a cozy atmosphere for your patrons will bring you more income in the long run, because people will enjoy coming to your theatre if they feel good and comfortable being there. You want your dinner theatre to be a place where people can relax and forget about the outside world, instead of feeling like they are being judged the whole time.

Create the Basics of the Sets

Once you have chosen the venue, you will need to determine how the theatre set will be designed. You need to consider where to position the audience, the stage, and the orchestra pit in the space you have.

There are four basic types of theatre stage design that you can use in your new dinner theatre venue. The arena format, where the stage is in the center of the venue with tables and chairs arranged in on the outside in a round, so that the stage will be open to view from all sides.

The thrust stage theatre design is where the stage protrudes into the center of the room from the side. It can be placed to divide the room with the audience seated in rows opposite each other or the tables and chairs can be arranged in a horseshoe arrangement on three sides of the stage.

You can also decide to do an end stage, like you would find in an auditorium. The stage is located on one side of the room(or in a corner) and the customers will sit at tables placed in front of the stage.

If your space is large enough, you may want to separate the stage from the main dining area in the Italian Style theatre. In this style, the stage is separated by a large, arched opening that allows the audience to look at the play through a frame.

If you do undertake to build a stage area to showcase your plays with music, you can use any building materials including iron casting of the necessary parts.

Create Storage for Props and Costumes

Every play that you put on will require props and costumes for the cast, to set the scene. All those pieces will need to be stored. One of the better solutions for storage, that is space efficient, is warehouse shelving and rack system. To install storage based on those designs, contact your local warehouse racking service to help you get an idea of what you need to do.

Create a Back Loading Dock

When you are thinking of staging plays with music in your restaurant, you will need to provide a space for the musicians and actors to access the premises without disturbing the diners. Also, you may be hauling big items like stage props and setting pieces, so having a large entry situated out of the way, perhaps at the back of the premises, is a must.

To get a door large enough to serve the purpose, you may need to explore the installation of a commercial entry door.

Have a Noise Canceling Roof

If your dream is to produce plays with music to be enjoyed while people are eating their dinner, you need to make sure that the building has great acoustics and minimal noise transfer. After all, you want your guests to hear the actors speaking and musicians playing without letting the neighbors in on the show for free. (Also, keeping the sound within your locale will greatly reduce noise complaints.)

The ceiling and roof are the largest surfaces of any room that can make acoustics either great or lousy. You need your roof to be constructed in a way that helps the sound spread throughout the room evenly, so that everyone can hear how good the actors and musicians sound. To help you achieve that, you need to employ roofing contractors who have experience in putting up roofs in theatres and other music-related venues so that they have the necessary knowledge of which materials to use.

Get A Big Parking Lot

One of the things you will need to consider when choosing an appropriate venue to open your plays with music venture is that people will need to park their cars somewhere if they are coming to see the show.

It is best to get as large a parking area as possible right from the start because even though it may not be filled with cars straight away, as soon as more people hear about the great food and entertainment you provide, more people will want to come.

Your parking area should be either tarred or paved to make sure it stays neat. It is also better for guests to get out of the car onto a hard surface rather than into mud during winter or rainy weather.

To find the most cost-efficient way to surface your parking area, you will need to consult with a paving contractor.

Get Insurance for Theatre

Starting a new venture that combines a restaurant and a theatre is not cheap. You will need to protect your assets from unforeseen mishaps. That is why you will need to buy insurance coverage that can protect you when life happens.

Being able to lodge an insurance claim when an actor accidentally twists or even breaks their ankle, when an unexpected fire breaks out or otherwise unforeseen hazards cause damage to the building or human life will mean the difference between bankruptcy and being able to start again.

You should carry an insurance policy that will cover the damages to property and liability insurance in case you are sued for medical expenses when a customer or a member of the cast suffers any injury. Your policy should include a key person cover to protect lead actors, theatre insurance to protect sets, costumes, and stage as well as liability limits to cover you in case of bodily injury sustained by anyone attending the performance. You can also have an option to cover lost earnings while you carry out repairs to the property.

Treat Your Staff Well

When you consider how big an investment you need to make to create a dinner theatre for plays with music, you may be tempted to hire the cast and restaurant staff as cheaply as possible. Yet, if you think about it, your employees are the heart of your business. Without them, you would not be able to bring dinner and a show to your guests. So, you need to think carefully about skimping on salary or benefits you provide to your employees.

The old saying “when you pay people peanuts, you get monkeys” is true, especially in show business. Taking shortcuts on employee pay and benefits will only hurt you in the long run. When employees feel valued and are generously rewarded for their efforts, it builds their loyalty to your business and increases productivity.

The best way to make sure you provide well for your employees is to contact employee benefits providers and let them advise you on what is fair compensation for the work you expect your employees to do.

Make Awards for Actors and Team Members

Once your dinner theatre becomes known, and the cast you hired has performed many plays, you may think about rewarding their contribution by hosting an award evening. Acting is a hard profession, and it would be good for morale to be recognized at an award evening.

You can introduce a customized award for your troupe of actors and make it into a yearly event. It may bring in an extra bit of profit when instead of a show, clients will come to attend a gala awards evening for the actors.

For someone like you, who has that entrepreneurial spirit, creating a dinner theatre for plays with music will fulfill your dream of bringing the old era of grand dinner theatres. Your business will serve people from all walks of life, for some it will be a place to work; others a place where they can become noticed by agents and producers and still others will enjoy coming for a delicious dinner and a great entertainment. Your dinner theater will be a unique place of work and if you plan your venture carefully, it will become your legacy.

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