Recitals are an important part of the dance continuum and MATCH, particularly Matchboxes 2 & 4, is an attractive place to put on a recital. The building does present some challenges, however, and it is important that anyone who wants to use MATCH for a recital understand and account for these challenges before doing a recital at MATCH.
- The first thing to know is that MATCH wasn’t really created with recitals in mind. The dressing rooms, though spacious enough, will only hold ten to twelve performers each, so any performance with more than 20 performers is going to stretch their limits. There are also no large holding areas for performers. There is one “green room” behind Matchbox 2, but it is shared by all 4 performance spaces. In reality, performers are usually either in the dressing rooms or on stage. There is no easy place to stage a large group of performers, much less young performers.
- Making this even more challenging is the fact that MATCH may have 4 performances going on at the same time. This means that backstage must remain quiet, and young performers and staff must remain in the areas adjacent to their performing space. A single event cannot spread out to fill backstage space no matter how crowded things may become in this one area.
This is of particular import when one needs to move from backstage to front of house. Every passage, every interior hallway passes through the backstage of a performance space. From Matchbox 4, you must pass the stage doors for Matchbox 3 and vice versa. Matchbox 2 must pass by Matchbox 3 or Matchbox 1, Matchbox 1 by Matchbox 2. Large groups, loud groups can disrupt other performances.Front of house can also be complicated. Each Matchbox has a small entranceway, but the Breezeway which runs from Main to Travis serves as the real lobby for all 4 spaces. All patrons pass through the Breezeway. As such, it cannot serve as a dressing room, holding area or green room. Performers should not be changing clothes or putting on makeup in the Breezeway any more than parents should be eating their meals there. No theatre in the world would let families spend the day in the lobby or performers get dressed there. The Breezeway is the MATCH lobby.Because of these challenges, recitals will require more planning at MATCH than at other places. And it will require a few more restrictions. We suggest:
- That parents drop off their young performers at the stage door, return at show time and pick their performers up at the stage door. Some parents want to be with their children backstage, but there is no place for them to be. They shouldn’t be wandering the halls and there isn’t room in the dressing rooms. And they can’t wait in the Breezeway all day either.
- That said, you will need extra supervision backstage to be sure that things remain quiet and that young performers don’t wander off. This supervision is more than likely parents but a minimum number is best. And they must be made aware of the challenges that MATCH presents.
- That you come up with a plan for people to move from Front of House to Backstage. The MATCH schedule changes daily and sometimes this passage is easier than others. Sometimes it requires going outside to get around. Please work with the Production Manager to tailor a plan that works for you and the rest of the performances that day.
- That you designate a holding area. One group put sleeping bags and a Disney movie in area offstage right in Matchbox 4 to keep their young performers occupied. Sometimes the loading dock is available. Sometimes the dressing rooms or another performance are. It’s important that you work this out with the Production Manager ahead of time and in some cases, it may be that the lack of a holding area means you just shouldn’t use MATCH for your recital.
- That you designate one person to work with the MATCH production staff even if you are using MATCH technicians. The stages at MATCH offer a lot of technical capability and flexibility, but our technicians don’t know what you are looking for in the way of sound and lights. Someone will need to tell them. The person responsible for making sure the young performers are moving from space to space quietly and efficiently shouldn’t be the same person who is worrying about light levels on stage. One focus is in the hallways; one is onstage.
These suggestions are not meant to dissuade you from holding your recital at MATCH, but instead to make you aware of the challenges you face. Planning for these challenges may seem daunting, but if you don’t, your time at MATCH won’t be as successful as you or we would hope. We look forward to working with you to make your recital a success.