Build 2019: Days 6 & 7

By Giles Moss on July 30th

Monday 29th July 2019

The "Monday" after the 4-day build push is always put aside to contingency. Not all venue builds go to plan, some might have issues with kit shortages or failures, others may end up being more fiddly than we expected. Monday is the mop up time, a day we intend to give as a rest day to our venue teams but that can be used as an additional build day if needed. Late Sunday evening we surveyed the venues' build progress and identified which venues needed their crews in and for how long: Some venues needed a full build day, some just needed a few hours.

Stages were going down:

And we also got access to theSpace @ Symposium Hall and started the (lightweight) build in there:

As well as the venues there are a load of additional functions and spaces we need to build.

The Press Office has moved this year and is now in a room in our new Lister building. We've got loads more to do there, getting comfy chairs, partitioning the room off from the venue production team and so on, but Monday saw the arrival of Our Head of Press's team of Press Officers, so they needed somewhere to sit:

In other places, our company posters and flyers were starting to arrive by the truckload and be delivered into our new Print Collection Point at theSpace @ Symposium.

We are also setting up the production offices with venue paperwork folders, spare kit, PCs, phones.. all the sorts of office type stuff we need to keep the venues managed. These actually turn into a bit of a dumping ground while we build, only to undergo significant tidying efforts in time for when our venues start operating.

Manic Monday

The Monday after the primary build phase is always busy. It's the first day the fruits of our building efforts are really put to any scrutiny and the Venue Managers get their first chance to assume full control of their venues. Lists of snags are generated longer than your arm - be it missing kit, things not working, things that haven't been rigged correctly.. the list of things that still need to be completed is significant even when our venues are, to the untrained eye, already looking like functioning theatres. The Senior Production Team spent the day fielding queries from all quarters with new questions being raised before we had a chance to resolve the previous. We've come to know the day as Manic Monday, for it certainly gets hectic!

Issues we dealt with included faulty RCDs, missing cables, getting sound rigs running, broken dimmers.. oh and we had to go back to the drawing board and redesign the rigging for the FOH bar in the new Fleming Theatre.

The IT build continues apace, too. Today the kit went into the new box office shed at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, and loads of other little tasks were completed like replacing toner, looming in cables, building PCs for new areas and functions, setting up departure boards, installing cash drawers..

Final Venue Snagging

Our Venue Managers are an exacting bunch. They know our venues inside out and are responsible for ensuring the final finishing touches are applied to every space. Little details such as patching and labelling up the lighting desk, digging out the USB sticks for show fine backup, checking power distributions are labelled, verifying the necessary paperwork is correctly stored in the production offices - even arranging their production offices to their desires. These are exceptionally busy people and it's their experience and drive that really bring our venues up to the high standards we aspire to.

The Senior Team held a two-hour training session for our Venue Managers and their Deputies, taking them through their roles and what materials they have to back them up. Whether it's where our risk assessments can be found, to how they should schedule the staff in their venues, there's always a lot to cram into the session.

Tuesday 30th July 2019

Venue snagging continues into Tuesday, though it has to sit alongside the primary use of the day which is crew meet'n'greet and training sessions (more on those in a different post). More missing items, more faults to troubleshoot (shorting in a DMX jump causing weird flickering lights amongst other issues).

We carted more kit around Edinburgh - deliveries that had come to the most convenient, but not the correct, venues had to be put into taxis or wheeled, even carried, about the place. More supplier emails. We walk the fire exit routes in all our venues, checking the emergency lights and reporting failures to our host venues.

In venues with bars, the bar teams are setting up ready to accept companies. Signage and decorations are going up. Patios are jetwashed. The operation starts to generate its own buzz as teams of people from all disciplines come together, working towards their common goal.

Thanks to monumentous efforts from our teams, by the end of Tuesday not only are all our theatres ready for their council inspections, but we're ready to accept companies and start seeing how our efforts in the planning and building of 2019's theatres will bear up to actual use.

Stand by..