Your tech (technical) rider is a very important document that should be generated at the end of the tech period, and it should reflect the technical requirements of your show. This is not only an important archival document, but you can also use it to introduce potential presenters to the technical requirements of your show when you’re considering a remount or a tour. Your rider will help them understand if they have the right resources to present your show in the most successful way possible.
Make sure you have your technical director or a technician familiar with the production write it, or at least go over it with you. When creating your rider, it’s important to make sure you are clear and forthright about the technical elements of your show, and feel free to make it as detailed as possible – but remember that part of the process involved in building a presenting agreement is negotiating with the venue to come to an agreement that marries their resources to your requirements. While writing your rider it’s a good idea to take a moment and decide (with the help of your creative team) what elements of the rider you can be flexible about with presenters.
Your Tech Rider should include:
Include the following information at the top of your rider:
- the title of the show;
- the Creator, technical contact, and original producing company; and
- the contact information for the people the presenter will need to contact regarding producing and technical questions.
It is also helpful at the top to include running time and any audience considerations (e.g. content warnings, TYA - age range etc), as well as a short statement introducing what kind of show it is (three act farce, immersive dance show, improv comedy, etc).
The preamble of your rider is your opportunity to introduce yourself and your show. It should also clearly establish the conversation required around the rider (who calls who, who has final say regarding changes and adaptations) and highlight that the rider has to be agreed upon before the contract can be finalized.
While it is crucial to highlight the importance of meeting the requirements in the rider, it is also important to stress that you are happy to be flexible and work with the presenter to reach an amenable agreement.
In this section, you will outline all your considerations regarding the physical properties of the venue. This includes:
- What type of stage do you require? Proscenium? Black box? Thrust
- How large a playing space do you require?
- Do you have a minimum or maximum height to the grid or ceiling?
- Do you require a crossover, a certain number of wings, particular exits? How much space will you require offstage?
- Where will your stage manager call the show from?
- Do you need a live sound operator positioned in the house?
- Is there an ideal size or capacity for your show?
- Is there a specific relationship you require between your audience and the performance? Should the stage be raised? Should the audience be close to the performers?
- Do you require raked audience seating?
- Do you require a certain number of dressing rooms? Do they need to be assigned in a certain way? Remember that anyone travelling with the show will likely need a space to put their things and possibly work from, so there should be dressing rooms assigned for all your touring party if the venue does not have a production office available.
- What do you need for a green room?
- Do you require an additional space where performers/dancers can warm-up before the show?
- Do you need showers? Laundry facilities? Any special bathroom requirements?
- Do you have any special requirements for front of house?
If you have a picture of your set under work lights or pre-show without actors on it, it’s great to include it here so the venue staff can see your staging clearly. It will help them get a clear idea and have an image to match to the description you send along.
Points to address include:
- What elements of the set are you bringing with you, and how are they arriving?
- Do you have any items that you need sourced locally? Make sure you are as detailed about these elements, feel free to include pictures or links to the item if there is a particular thing that will do best.
- How big and heavy are your set pieces? Do you require specific dimensions for the loading doors? Can the pieces fit down halls, around corners? Can they be carried by crew?
- How is your set installed? Will you be bringing all the rigging and hardware necessary, or will you require some things to be provided by the venue?
You don’t need to include a full list of the things you’re bringing in your rider, but it’s good to include a general idea, especially if you’re bringing in large props like furniture.
Some special considerations include:
- Are you bringing any special effects props, like weapons or fire props? Make sure you outline your safety plans for these.
- Does your show use food props? Will you need any particular facilities to prepare these?
- Do you need access to laundry for the show?
- Will you require any kind of wardrobe assistance during the run? Someone to do the laundry, or a dresser for any quick changes?
You can include a copy of your existing lighting plot with the rider as an appendix, but you will probably need to make a new plot that reflects the specificity of the venue you are travelling to.
- Sometimes it is possible to have two versions of your lighting plot, one for a full presentation and one for a showcase (if being presented in rep or with a shortened schedule).
- Write out a list of all the lighting equipment you’ll need for the show
- Let the presenter know if you are travelling with your lighting designer, or who they should be in touch with to discuss the details of the plot.
- Ask the venue to send along their lighting inventory and a drawing of their venue lighting grid, and house plot if they have one. It’s usually good to get all venue drawings in two formats, as both pdfs and dwgs if possible.
- Make sure you indicate if you require the lighting plot hung in advance, or if it should be put in as part of your tech time.
Given the technology we have available today, it is possible and advisable to build your sound file so you can travel with all the materials and show file on a USB key. This is the easiest way to travel with a show that requires only playback.
- Make sure you send a speaker plot along with your lighting plot, if your show requires a precise speaker placement.
- Let the venue know what equipment you are bringing along with you. Make sure you give them as many details as possible, so they can make sure it’s compatible with their own equipment and that they have the gear necessary to patch it into their own system.
- Ask for any specific or additional equipment you may need the presenter to provide for your show.
- If you are travelling with live musicians, make sure you indicate if you require equipment like drum carpets, monitors, music stands, and music stand lights. Also make sure you include ample time for sound check during tech and before every performance.
Let the presenter know how many technicians you will need for the various phases of your show. Remember, you will likely need more people for install than you will for tech or for the run of the show.
Make sure you highlight any specific skills you need those technicians to have. Do you need a lot of carpenters because you have a big set? Do you need sound technicians with a lot of live band experience?
Send along an example tech schedule, including your load-in, tech time, and performances. Make sure you remember to include strike time in your schedule.
- If your company has specific requirements around accessibility, please make sure you are as clear and detailed about them as possible. The more information you can give, the better the presenter can be prepared to meet the needs of your team!
- Put together an accommodations list that lets the presenter know what you require in terms of hotel rooms.
- Make sure you let the presenter know if you are travelling with cars or trucks that require parking at the venue and at the accommodations. Let them know especially if there’s a large truck, as this may require special accommodation.
You want to represent the ideal conditions for you to do your show in your Tech Rider. However, every venue is different and every presenter has different resources available to them. Try working with your presenter to solve any issues they have meeting the conditions of your rider. Be flexible and adaptable when negotiating your technical rider, but keep it realistic. Have someone who is knowledgeable about the technical requirements of the show confirm any proposed changes to the rider. Make sure any changes made agreeably by both parties are documented in writing as a part of the presentation contract.
A list of technical requests which can be used as a guideline when preparing a tech rider.