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Resident Theater Agreement

Printed From: Community Theater Green Room
Category: Theater Administration
Forum Name: Running Your Theater
Forum Discription: General questions about how to make it work
Printed Date: 7/24/24 at 1:30am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 8.05 -

Topic: Resident Theater Agreement
Posted By: Wild Horse
Subject: Resident Theater Agreement
Date Posted: 7/19/12 at 3:22pm
Our non profit theater company is just transitioning to a new venue and we will be "Resident Theater company" at the Brewery Arts Center.  Does anyone have any experience with agreements and/or contracts for resident theaters?  We are just starting into negotiations and have no experience with this and we are their first resident theater.


Carol Scott
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars!

Posted By: David McCall
Date Posted: 7/19/12 at 8:36pm
Sometimes  (all of the time for me) this forum will error after you make a post that makes it appear that your post was rejected. I've found that t actually did accept my post anyway. I've found that hitting the "back" button brings me back to the thread and my post went through just fine. I hope that made sense.

David M

Posted By: edh915
Date Posted: 7/21/12 at 12:49pm

It's a complicated business, but as long as it's being entered into in good faith, I don't think you should have too many problems.
First, you (and they) should address the subject of insurance liability.  It would be reasonable for them to expect you to pay for the times you are occupying the building.  The cost is usually very resonable.  I'm talking liability insurance here, not medical or anything like that.  (You may want to check into having insurance that protects board members as well as the group - that way if anything goes wrong the injured party can't get away with suing everybody in sight.) 
Past the insurance issue, just make sure it's crystal clear what is expected from both parties.
Who is responsible for what sort of clean-up and maintenance?
Are you using the space for performances only, in addition to tech week?  Or are you going to be doing all of your rehearsals there as well?
Are you renting the space by the night?  Or are you giving a percentage of box office?  Or a fixed dollar amount per seat?  (And is that per seat in terms of venue capacity, or per seat sold?)
Are they supplying support staff? (box office, ushers, janitorial, security, sound and light personnel, tech crew) Or are you? 
If you are going to be supplying people to work their sound and lights, is there an indoctrination/training program established whereby the venue specifies how they want things done with their equipment and "qualifies" your personnel for the job?
Who within your group will have access to the building?  And what measures will be taken to limit unauthorized access?
Is there an escape clause in the contract if either party becomes dissatisfied with the arrangement?  What time frame for vacating the premises if you decide to leave?  What extent of notification time if they want to end the relationship?  
Do they have any say in the subject matter of your productions?
Will they assist in marketing?  Or will it be left to you?  Or will it be a joint effort?  If a joint effort - who does the coordinating?
Which leads to the very simple matter of designating precisely who has the authority to deal with whom.  Who speaks for the theatre group?  Who speaks for the venue?  Does anyone on either side have any veto power?  Who handles disputes?  (Sometimes the smallest issues can get blown out of all proportion due to lack of sufficient communication, so this is a very important issue.)
These things can work out very well and you can enjoy a long-lasting relationship with each other - as long as there is a measure of good faith on both sides, and the ability to empathize and communicate with each other.
Break a leg!!!

Posted By: vickifrank
Date Posted: 7/22/12 at 12:36pm
I used to own rental property.  My lawyer at the time advised me against leases.  He said they were designed to protect tenants not property owners.  We went with something simpler that this same lawyer used with his tenants--a set of house rules.  It had about 12 obvious rules, the last two of which were bullet points that said that if the landlord wanted to terminate the agreement they would give two months notice.  If the tenant wanted to terminate the agreement they give one month notice.  The remainder of the rules were obvious statements about no illegal activity, no disturbing the other tenants.
This approach may work for you, because you do want something in writting...after all what happens if they say 'get out' the night your show is to open?  Many of the points of edh915 should be covered in the bullets of the 'house rules'.  I would add some reasonable requirements for the brewery arts center about promotions of your season....maybe a link from their website to yours and a poster at the entry to the building promoting your season, for which you trade a standing thank-you in the programs.
Of course you should consider consulting a lawyer for advice, and when you do ask him/her whether a lease or the simpler house rules may apply.


The theater scrim people

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