What defines a good rehearsal space?
A rehearsal room is where a show gets made. It’s where ideas on paper turn into a live and living work of art. Finding the right rehearsal room or dance studio is incredibly important, but with so many spaces for hire it’s vital to know what to look for.
There’s no shortage of back rooms and church halls where a show can be put on its feet, but before trekking to the dark end of the District Line and handing over half the production budget for a collapsing Scout hut, ask yourself two questions: is it affordable, and is it appropriate?
Let’s start with the basics: a two-hander for a fringe theatre or studio doesn’t need a huge cavernous rehearsal space, especially when that larger size will take a bigger bite out of the budget. On the other hand, a cast of hundreds won’t very well fit into a room above a pub. So first off, make sure the size is right.
Then you need to work out whether you’ll need fully equipped rehearsal studios, or whether you can make do with just a room and some chairs.
A bit of light doesn’t hurt, and the cast is going to be happier after two weeks in plenty of natural light rather than flickering, headache-inducing neon. If it’s winter, make sure there’s heating. If it’s summer, air conditioning - or at least windows that can open.
Check for cleanliness, too: when you’re rehearsing that fight scene again and again, do you really want to be falling on to a filthy floor for the zillionth time? And it’s not just the playing space that needs to be clean - no one is going to be thrilled to use a mucky loo every day for a fortnight.
Rehearsal rooms are where the actors and creative team are going to work all day every day for a couple of weeks, so a few basic amenities will come in very handy, such as Wi-Fi, and a breakaway area where actors can get a cup of tea, run lines, or heat up some lunch in a microwave.
A bit of peace and quiet is very valuable, too. It won’t do anyone any good to run a highly charged, incredibly emotional scene only to have the pub next door empty its empties into the bin with an almighty crash.
When it comes to dance, the requirements become a bit more specialised. A dance studio should have mirrored walls and a sprung floor, as well as some kind of PA system for playing music.
The Stage Directory can help with space hire, whether hiring a rehearsal room, a dance studio, a casting studio or any other service. With a large number of suppliers providing listings for every kind of space for every kind of show across the arts and entertainment industry, finding an appropriate and affordable rehearsal space is easy.