Peeling Back the Layers: Performing Arts Venues

Peeling the Layer of Performing Arts

Peeling Back the Layers: Performing Arts Venues

The beauty of live performance art is layered: the passion of the actors, the music from the orchestra, seemingly-miraculous set design, transformative costumes, or an immersive script. Each part combines to create something that is, quite frankly, magical.

As anyone who works in the performing arts industry knows, however, the time and energy required to set that magic in motion is based in cold, hard reality/blood, sweat and tears. It’s understandable then, that when this process has been managed methodically (and successfully) for several years, there are concerns that arise when talk about a new way of doing things surfaces. I’m a firm believer that there’s no better way to overcome an (irrational) fear than confronting it head on. So, let’s lay it all on the table, shall we?

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking with performing arts venues to identify their needs, both obvious and just beneath the surface. Just as important, I’ve spent an equally large amount of time creating solutions to eliminate those pain points. What I’ve found in my experience is that most issues are rooted in one basic problem: a lack of cross-departmental communication. As I did last time, I think it’s best to look explore the issue as it pertains to each role within the organization.


Challenge: The big concern here is access privileges. These users don’t necessarily want everyone to be pushing out information or viewing information not pertinent to their role.

Solution: Single-source software with custom-defined user views. This way, each department sees only the information they need to see to operate effectively.

Bonus: Effective change management. Make one change and it’s instantly reflected within the software across all departments and users.


Challenge: Time is the ever-important (and ever-lacking) factor for most managers. When that valuable time is spent in weekly or even daily meetings, there is less time to focus on more pressing issues and often conversations that took place in meetings are repeated or misinterpreted.

Solution: Details that directly impact their focus can be easily accessed within the software; this encourages a natural flow of communication with users up and down the chain.

Bonus: The ability to quickly and accurately set, monitor and, ultimately, complete goals faster with dashboard reporting features.

Performing Arts Venue Layers


Challenge: Commonly associated with “paper reports” that are created independently looking at the programming calendar and then assessing what is needed for the day. The challenge arises when last minute changes are made thus leaving those “paper reports” inaccurate.

Solution: Function scheduling that gives the information as it directly pertains to their roles: load-ins, backdrops, lighting, A/V. Presented with straightforward information that doesn’t have to come from internal meetings where information can be misinterpreted or miscommunicated.

Bonus: When the self-service platform that can do more than present a calendar. With the ability to manage inventory, needs and requirements the chain of command is easily presented for quick and efficient execution.

Why It’s Worth It

Creating a magical experience for audiences is always going to be among the top priorities of any performing arts venue, as it should be. However, overlooking the role the day-in-day-out experiences their teams play in this is an all-too-common mistake. Are there ways to make things easier? To communicate more efficiently? Eliminate frustration? Software can do all of it, and more. 

Curious to learn more about the best practices used by performing arts venues from around the world? Let me know!


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