Difference between revisions of "Guide to Building"

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[[Category:The Building]]
[[Category:The Building]][[Category:OutofDate]]
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Revision as of 16:24, 7 January 2008

<<< Back to Job Description --- ^ ^ ^ Up to Theatre Managers Manual ^ ^ ^ --- Forward to Shows and Work Ins >>>

As a general rule, it is suggested that you don’t let the level of rubbish in the theatre rise to 10^19 Kg. If this was to happen (and we assume bedlam is a sphere) the building would turn into a black hole. This is not good! (Earth weighs 5.978x10^24). Also you might want to note that while the standard gravitational field strength at the earth’s surface is 9.80665 ms^-2, in Edinburgh (55,57’N 3,13’W) it is actually 9.8158ms^-2

Main Office

The Main Office is the responsibility of the President to keep tidy, with stocking the desk the responsibility of the Secretary. The desk has a strengthening bar added but is still not really safe to sit on. The long sofa can be put out in several arrangements, it is quite useful for sleeping on if you put all three bits together. It is not sensible to allow office furniture on stage (More hassle than it's worth) and apparently at some stage a motion was passed forbidding it although this motion seems to have fallen out of the constitution since.

There are two filing cabinets with who owns what drawer clearly marked, the Theatre Manager's drawer is a good place for keeping paperwork, gaffa, a pair of rubber gloves (don't ask) and a torch.

The payphone on the desk is technically the responsibility of the Business Manager, but it is useful to know about the cables. The main cable coming in is actually 2 phone lines, with the office phone (225 9873) splitting to the tech box and FoH, it takes some work to get the lines working when you move the phone and the codes tend to stop working. The Other line feeds to the box office (225 9893) where it splits to a payphone and a handset which will not allow outgoing calls.

Above the desk are the committee pigeon holes which are useful for keeping current information in.

The Fringe cupboard is the domain of the Fringe Administrator and contains all their files and the gas meter. All committee members should have a key to this cupboard but it should never be locked because it contains the gas stopcock.

The other cupboard contains the heating boiler and the works department have an annoying tendency to lock it. High up on the left hand wall of this cupboard is a door which gives access to a cold water tank which used to feed a toilet and sink in the cupboard before the boiler was installed. Now it just feeds the sink in the paint cupboard.

The photocopier is the Secretary's responsibility but is useful to know how to un-jam it as Mrs Ogg will ask whoever she finds in the office to help. There are lots of doors that open and the LCD display will normally show you where the blockage is. The other common problem is when the rollers get coated in toner and to sort this you need to clean it off with meths.

The FoH panic alarm makes a blue light flash in the office when activated. If this happens sprint to the box office with a bit of scaff or something.

The floor was sanded and varnished for fringe 2001. People still drop chewing gum on it and anyone I catch will die.

Internet Connection

Accountants Office

(put some stuff here)

Paint Cupboard

The sink in the paint cupboard was installed when the boiler was installed in Spring 1991 and the one in the office was torn out. The small cupboard on the left where the nasty paint in the red tins is kept used to contain the gas meter until it was moved during the boiler installation. This has a Coded Padlock the code to which is 123 and should allow the more dangerous items to kept from actors and the like.

The paint cupboard should contain matt black paint, matt white paint, varnish, paint brushes, rollers and trays, white spirit, meths, buckets, mop, dustpan and brush, soap, putty, polyfilla, glue, wallpaper paste and flamcheck. The important ones being matt black paint and flamcheck.

The door should be locked but it is very hard to keep it locked when people keep needing it opened for their shows. Your best bet may be to keep the key in the TM drawer in the office, and let the stage manager of whatever show know where it is, stressing to the SM to lock up when finished (and if only the SM 'knows' where the key is, you theoretically have someone to get cross with if it remains unlocked).

Side Entrance

In the side entrance are most of the fuses for the building, on the left hand side (Facing the auditorium) are the trips for (Counting along from the left) (needs updated). On the right hand side are the trips for: (needs updated). The important switches are covered by Perspex to prevent random people turning them off. The system was rewired in 1992 to balance the power, before this was done the lighting rig ran off the red phase and the rest of the building ran off blue and yellow. This was hopelessly unbalanced and caused the mains cable to burn through twice (1988 & 1990) and it was lucky the place didn’t burn down. The power input to the building is three phases at 100A and 415V.

The doorbell on the side door feeds to a switch on the wall, the switch will swap the doorbell between the loud ringer in the auditorium and a quiet buzzer. Very few people know what the buzzer sounds like and often will sit by the door and not answer it. Normally the buzzer is only used for tech and dress rehearsals. There is an appendix which contains more information on the doorbell system. The doorbell can also be switched off from the tech box.


The kitchen contains two large sinks which are a nightmare to unblock, lots of pans and stuff, a large fridge, a small hand sink and a cooker installed fringe 2003. The kitchen doesn't get much use through the year but in the fringe gets used lots. It is important to keep it clean because environmental health naturally get quite aggravated if you don't. Just get it cleaned at every work-in and you should be fine.

The wall of the kitchen was rebuilt for fringe 2000 and even though people keep bouncing off it warming up it seems to be surviving ok.

The cooker is really useful for cooking breakfast at maintenance which works for getting people out of bed. Cleaning the oven is not particularly pleasant so try to find someone else to do it. You'll probably find that you need to keep checking on them cos they’ll get bored before they finish. Be aware that one of the rings on the cooker is slightly buggered and needs special attention (see 'Cooker' in AtoZ section).

It's also a really good idea to keep a supply of bin bags actually in the kitchen. The bins get incredibly foul very quickly without bags, and as noted above, cleanliness in the kitchen is super important.



see stage


The seating consists of 90 ex-cinema chairs which were bought from the ABC in Spring 2001. They were installed a couple of weeks prior to fringe 2001 and it took six people who knew what they were doing three long days to do it. The trick to putting them in is to assemble them a chair at a time and get the backs to line up properly. They don't quite fit because they were designed to be on a curve but it works. When removing them you need to make sure you don't lose any of the springs because if you don’t have the spring in the seats have a tendency to fall out. The seats are depreciated over five years so will be up for renewal in 2006 if we still have the theatre then. The rostra was installed just before fresher's week 1989 and was completed at 8:55 on the Monday of fresher’s week. Trap doors to get under the rostra are located beside the door to the toilets under a lift up flap and in the little alcove behind the door of the disabled access corridor. The space under the rostra are the only part of the building that are always warm but it's so dark and manky that you’ll not want to spend much time down there. Spare parts for the old chairs are also kept there in black plastic bags if they haven't con completely by now. Spare for the new chairs are Balconie left near dimming (again if they havn't gone completely)

Stage Cupboard

The stage cupboard wall can be easily removed to give additional entrances and it has been used to give an orchestra pit in the past. A 10' x 8' black serge cloth was purchased to cover the hole for shows which didn't want a pit. The piano was bought in 1988 and legend has it that it looked quite good when new. The candle holders were removed for use in a show and never reattached. How the top was damaged is unknown. The varnish was stripped off the top and sides for a lunchtime in 2001 and then re-stained a reddish colour but never re-varnished. It was last retuned for fringe 1994. Since then the insides were removed fringe 2002 to make it into a piece of set only. The stage cupboard is the only place which we’re technically allowed to store untreated wood because it is fully enclosed by solid walls which would supposedly take a while to burn through.

Scene Dock

This is basically an additional storage area for set, you need to be careful that the doors will still close and nothing can fall and block the fire exit. The walls are just plaster board and as such are quite brittle as can be seen by the holes in them. Apparently on the inside of the SL wall there are messages from the people who built the auditorium. The doors were built two days before fringe 1997 when the fire officer requested them, he was not popular that day. The water stopcocks can also be found here, one feeds to the main FoH water supplies and the other feeds the boiler. I don't know which is which. The floor of the scene dock is also home to a few sheets of metal used when trying to make the seats in the auditorium moveable... it didn't work.

Disabled Access Corridor

This is really just a passageway that runs from the cafe to the front of the seating rig. It is used to allow disabled people to access the cafe and really only used during the fringe. There is an alcove behind the door in which lives the vacuum cleaners. Good George has blue buttons and evil George has red buttons. Good George was bought as a replacement for Evil George when Evil George failed a PAT test, Evil George was subsequently rewired and passed. They are wet and dry cleaners and the water equipment normally lives in the cleaning cupboard. Both Georges frequently suffer blockages and should be gently opened the filter lifted out and the pipe unblocked. Also in the alcove is a small hole that leads under the seating rig. It is quite a small hole and access is easier from the other side of the auditorium. The walls are plasterboard and tend to have people kick holes in them. The Auditorim side of this wall has been patched with hardboard to cover hold in the plaster board.

Dressing Room

The dressing room is probably one of the most frustrating areas of the theatre because it is impossible to keep clean due to actors not doing it and leaving stuff in there so you don’t know what’s rubbish. Quotes to install a sink have been got in the past but they came in at about £1000 so it was given up, also with the state of the rest of the place I dread to think how it would end up. The dressing room should get cleaned as part of each show's get out but as the actors tend to be desperate to go to the pub (rightly) they tend to make a rather crap job of it. Smoking and drinking are not allowed back stage, there is no emergency exit light back stage and the Council are aware of this. One of the fancy windows was ripped out during a break in pre fringe 2001 (We discovered it at 7:30 on the Monday morning of week 1, and I had slept in the building that night {for the 4 hours between ins} so was slightly annoyed). This window was replaced by security glass which I prefer as it is easier to clean and a lot more secure but I not sure we’re allowed it with our grade B listing. (There was another window replaced with security glass at some point as well, leaving only one of the original windows.)

CCTV system

Props Cupboard

The Props Cupboard is called that because it used to actually store props. It has nice shelves and everything. Now people think it's called the Props Cupboard because that is where all the stage weights and braces (things that 'prop up' the flats) are stored. It is lockable and so can be used to store valuable props. But is mainly used to store crap during runs. The light fitting in there was ripped out by the tech manager fringe 2002 during the installation of a flood light for the back passage and never replaced.

Costume Cupboard

See Costuming


The crypt is a dark smelly hole which can be reached down the stairs in the stage right exit. There are three rooms and they are partially full of sand, slabs and other building materials which can be useful. The stains on the walls are urine thanks to our resident tramps. The area under the stage can be reached through the hole in the wall which is useful for putting in cable runs. There is even more sand down here thanks to a mainterm which covered the stage in it then just swept it down the trap door. There is also 2 tonnes of construction sand living down there currently from Electra, 2005. It is all in double bin bags, and thus far more useable that the stuff that just gets swept down the trap door. It is possible to climb through the building's foundations to the men' toilet, but you need to be pretty skinny to manage it as Theatre Managers have got stuck in the past.

== Tech Box == see Techbox


See Balconies


The toilets tend to be quite manky and they’re technically the realm of the FoH Manager but you’ll probably find that you need to bleach them a couple of times a month. Make sure that they get properly cleaned at every work in so that you don’t need to. It’s a very unpopular job so try to get the director to do it….it’s quite funny to see yah directors with their arms in the toilet. The floor needs painted every year or so, just get black floor paint from Ian Russell, you’ll probably find that you use about 7L, so make sure to order it in advance because they only tend to keep 5L in stock.

Toilet Corridor

This is just a corridor which links the box office and the auditorium. In here is stored the banners. When they’re not up they need to be securely attached to the wall and clip on points for the fat cat are provided, the mainterm banner slips behind it.

The double doors at the end of the corridor are quite hefty things and make noise if you open doors to the corridor too quickly. Even when opened carefully they make loads of noise, so avoid opening them if at all possible during shows. The bits that hold them open need reasonably frequent oiling too keep them running. A pane of glass was removed to vent the cafe during the fringe 2003 but a mooted extracor fan was never fitted.

Box Office

See Box Office


see Café

Outside of the Building

Probably the nastiest part, it needs tidied a couple of times a week, especially Saturday and Sunday mornings after lots of people drop rubbish through the night. The regular tramps tend to be fine and if you give them a black bag will sometimes help pick up rubbish but you need to make it obvious to them from the start that they’ll not get any money. Talk to the tramps and be nice to them because the ones you get to know will often help you to move on the awkward ones and the ones that have passed out. Of note: Currently, the metal key to take off the top of the Front of House bins is on the FoH Manager's keys. Coincidence? I think not.

The roof at the front of the building can be accessed with a ladder to put up the banners. Bedlam has two banners one of which is a long thin one which Mainterms can put their logo on for advertising. The other is a large fat cat with venue 49 on it which is used for the fringe. To put the banners up you need to haul them up to the roof and tie them securely onto the eyelets on the roof, the head of the fat cat then ties onto the archway.

The 1k floods were replaced for fringe 2001 and use K4 lamps. They burn through gel really quickly so you need to come up with an alternative if you want to colour them. To switch them on you need to turn on the breaker and the switch in the fuse cupboard in the side entrance.

The Claymore (large wheelie bin) gets emptied once a week, but you need more than that during the fringe. It is very difficult to get one off uplifts because trade waste are disorganised but it is sensible to book them if you’re planning on throwing lots out or during a mainterm week.

The gate to the back stage exit is best kept locked to keep tramps from using it as a toilet. As it is they will still piss there but at least you’re not cleaning up rather liquid shit. A good idea is to pour bleach over it every time you remember and make sure it happens at work-ins.

The disabled access ramp is only of limited use because people can’t use it when a show is on. This has caused problems in the past with people having to sit in the rain for half an hour. Make sure that disabled people are told to turn up 20 mins before a show not half an hour and get the seats out as soon as you can. The seats need to be removed so that the fire escapes are clear which is a condition of out license.

The fire escape must be kept clear if the building is open so make sure the duty manger knows this and do realise that you deal with the tramps regularly and probably have got to know some of them so be willing to help out. The tramps have a tendency to piss on random parts of the building, especially outside Mrs O’s window and she really hates it. There’s not a lot you can do to stop them but make sure you clean up as soon as you can so it doesn’t smell too much.

Apparently the red gravel outside the building looks a lot better than the tarmac that used to be there but it does make cleaning up harder the easiest way is just to rake the fag ends in and hope for the best.

Linford’s bench was given to the Bedlam by the parents of an ex-member, who died in a car crash. Mrs O is very attached to the bench so please treat it with care a lick of varnish once or twice a year doesn't hurt. The bins out here are pretty disgusting so I always make sure that someone else has to clean them out when there is more than an inch of crap in the bottom.

The only way you can get round the back of the building is to climb over into the grounds of the building behind us which is dangerous (The first entry in the accident book is from me falling off the fence) and illegal (So don’t get caught).

On the Forest Road side of the building are three overflow pipes for the water tanks. If there is water coming out of these it means that one of the tanks is overflowing. Having water coming out of these is bad for two reasons, one it wastes water and two it empties straight into the foundations which will cause the building to fall down quicker. The easiest way to get them fixed is by reporting it to the Works Department who will send someone to do it.

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