Performers can find information here about how to get stage time, as well as tools to help promote your shows. It’s the responsibility of each troupe/cast to promote their shows. Shows that sell out are have better odds of getting picked for future schedules.
Schedule and Performing
SUBMITTING TO PERFORM
With shows 7 nights a week, ColdTowne offers more opportunities to perform than any other theater in Austin. Here are a few ways to get stagetime:
ColdTowne Theater will send out a call for submissions once every two months. All troupes or shows of all experience levels and theater affiliations are encouraged to apply. You can be notified of calls for submissions in the ColdTowne Students and Performers Facebook Group, or by signing up to our email list.
Please note: Loverboy, Movie Riot and Bad Boys each have a say in which troupes open for them.
The Throwdowne takes place each Wednesday at 10:00 pm and is a great place to play with one-off or ad hoc troupes. You can be notified of calls for submissions in the same places as above as well as the Facebook page.
We will occasionally take submissions for special events such as Lock-Ins, Anniversary Weekend, and Mainstage Show Runs for the upcoming year. Announcements about any of those will be made in the places listed above.
In addition to providing the best comedy in Austin, it is our goal to provide a friendly, welcoming environment to audience and students. Please observe the following policies:
- Act Professionally and enthusiastically (Show up 30 minutes prior to your shows and be prepared and sober)
- Dress Appropriately (Wear shoes, no shorts, be neat and presentable for shows)
- Create a good theater environment
- Do not create excessive noise before or during shows in the lobby. When in the hallway waiting to take the stage, please be absolutely silent.
- Do not leave personal items or garbage around the theater.
- Be friendly to audiences, students, and other improvisers.
- In general, be courteous and friendly with the staff of I Luv Video. Introduce yourselves; they are our immediate neighbors and they will return courtesy.
- Be a good audience member. Don’t talk or text during shows and let the paying customers give the suggestion, unless no one has responded after SEVERAL seconds.
- Be prepared to yield your seat or to pay in the event of a sell out performance.
- Please use the covered area of the parking lot next to I Luv Video for your group warm ups, and be respectful of neighbors with regard to the noise level
- Promote your shows. There are shows seven nights a week at the theater, and we like to schedule acts that take the initiative to promote themselves before the day of their show.
- If you are unable to make a show you are scheduled for we ask you let us know as soon as possible. If you want to try to “swap” with someone, we ask that you orchestrate the switch by finding a group to trade, and then let us know which group you’ve confirmed is willing to trade show dates with you. Please email all info and questions pertaining to show scheduling to Cody@coldtownetheater.com.
As a ColdTowne Theater Troupe, you are given preference to other comedy troupes in Austin when it comes to performance slots at ColdTowne Theater. In exchange for this preference, your troupe is expected to:
- Rehearse regularly.
- Promote and market its show slots via social media, postering, ColdTowne Twitter and Blog.
- Show up at least a half hour before the show block and touch base with Front of House Interns and Tech Crew.
- Perform with a majority of troupe mates present for shows (no excessive absences or ad hoc combinations of players)
- Communicate tech needs to the tech team (do not wait until the show is starting!)
- Help see that shows start on time. Encourage the opening group to be in the hallway ready to go, and even if a few customers arrive late they can come in during the top of the show and hopefully learn that we like to start shows on time.
- Headlining troupes may receive 2 complimentary tickets TOTAL (not 2 tickets per performer). Arrangements must be made at least 48 hours in advance in order to put the tickets into the system. At-the-door comps are prohibited.
Remember: show slots are a privilege not an entitlement. Failure to observe these guidelines may result in removal from the calendar.
ColdTowne Theater offers rehearsal space at a premium rental rate, pending space availability, for ColdTowne troupes and student troupes. Although we will do our best to avoid it, rehearsals may be bumped at any time for private shows or classes at ColdTowne Theater’s discretion.
Mainstage productions will receive one month of free rehearsal time during off-hours, pending availability.
Payment is due 24 hours in advance via PayPal only. Book rehearsal space at www.coldtownetheater.com/about/venue-rental
Coaches for troupes are hired at the troupe’s discretion. Payment arrangements should be made individually with that coach.
If you are having trouble finding a coach we recommend asking a faculty member for their recommendation of someone, or there is a website (http://austin.improvcoaches.com/) that can be helpful.
Show and Hosting Policies
Shows are the main access point for ColdTowne Theater’s entire customer base. As such, it is important that they are run professionally and that the utmost care is given to the audience’s ’s experience.
- Theater lobby should be open and set up 1 hour before showtime. (30 minutes if there is a class in the lobby).
- Lighting in the lobby should be set to the appropriate mood level, music should be playing, and the front of house slide show should be running on the monitor.
- Houses should be open 10 minutes before showtime. The gong should be rung and the audience told “The House is Open!” loud and enthusiastically. The preshow video should be playing as the audience files in.
- No more than 49 people are allowed inside the theater at any time. (and this is a SQUEEZE!)
- Please make all efforts to provide a predictable experience for audience members. Many times they enter the lobby and do not know where to buy tickets, when they can go into the theater, etc. Please be on the lookout for confused audience members and assist them accordingly.
Good tech is essential to the show. Remember the following basic guidelines:
- Loud house music (enough so people have to raise their voice to hear each other) should be playing as the audience files in.
- House lights should be on, but dim and intimate.
- Upbeat music should be playing during any lull in the show, including blackouts, between hosting segments and when troupes are taking the stage. This can kill a show if not done correctly!
- Play transition music nice and loud
- Lights should be pulled confidently, and music should play simultaneously.
- ALWAYS check with the troupes for their tech needs before the show starts.
- During the show you should remain in the tech booth. Something could go wrong, or a audio levels you thought were set correct could change. Take care of your business between shows so that you can remain in the booth during the show.
- With the exception of the desk lamp, turn off all white lights in the booth during the show.
- The house lights should be on and music playing as the audience exits.
Good hosting is essential to the show. The headlining troupe for each show block is responsible for hosting for the evening. Remember:
- Relax. It isn’t your job to be funny. All you need to do is let people know to please be quiet during the show, what to expect, and to start applauding for the first act.
- Starting the show with confidence helps the audience relax, and lets them know that we know what we’re doing.
- Make them feel excited and welcome.
- Do not be wasted.
Hosting/Start of Show Procedures
- Meet with the other groups before the show begins to see if they have any requests as to how they are introduced.
- Projector screen should be put up before hosting begins.
- The volume of the music playing turns up “nice and loud”, and the house lights are turned off simultaneously. Please try to make this transition smooth and professional.
- Host runs out to loud music and applause.
- Host dialogue should look something like this:
FIRST HOSTING SPOT:
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to ColdTowne Theater! If you haven’t already, we ask that you please take a moment to silence your phone, and we’re a small theater so we ask that you please refrain from talking during the show. By a round of applause who’s here for the first time? Welcome.
What you’re about to see will be completely improvised. Everything will be made up on the spot, and these shows will exists only once and then will be gone forever.
Tonight we have (name troupes in descending order, getting people to clap and cheer for each troupe). Coming to the stage first – put your hands together and make some noise for — XXX!
SECOND HOSTING SPOT
Let’s hear it again for XXX! And keep it going for your next troupe, XXX! (Get audience to applaud as loudly as possible)
CLOSING HOSTING SPOT
Thank you all so much for coming out tonight! Another big round of applause for XXX, XXX and (intern’s name) in the booth. If you think this looks like fun, and want to give it a shot, we encourage you do so. Everyone you saw here tonight has been through classes, and we think anyone would benefit from taking them. We teach improv and sketch comedy classes here with some of the finest instructors in the South. Talk to anyone you’ve seen on stage or behind the bar for more information or sign our mailing list. SPECIAL WEEKLY PLUGS, Check out coldtownetheater.com for more information about shows! (Please deliver the “If this looks like fun, it is” speech with heart and intention.)
IF APPLICABLE: Please exit the door to the right. If you’re interested in attending the next show, stick around and we’ll let you in for free if there are tickets left! Please drive safe, keep supporting live comedy and and have a good night!
Intern and House Manager Policies
Theater Interns and House Managers are responsible for making shows run smoothly and efficiently. To receive their full discount, interns are required to work at least one night a week for the duration of each session. Discounts range from 25 – 100% off classes, depending on what night of the week the intern works. Interns and house managers are responsible for:
- Opening, closing and setting up the theater
- Keeping the theater (inside and out) clean.
- Making sure shows run on time and houses are open.
- Handling tech. Coordinating with host troupe.
- Selling tickets and ushering. Keeping track of capacity.
- Selling concessions.
- Counting money.
- Distributing fliers and signing people up for the mailing list.
- Finding substitutes for themselves in the event they are going to be absent.
Failure to perform these duties may result in loss of internship and class discounts.
Scheduling shows at the theater is a complex process. ColdTowne makes every effort to accommodate everyone and to create the funniest, most professional end product possible. The Artistic Director is in charge of determining the number of shows each troupe and performer gets. The following criteria are considered when putting together the schedule:
- Needs of the schedule
- Quality of performances
- Ability to promote and Audience Draw
- Special events
- Conservatory needs
This criteria along with other factors play into the final decision made by the Artistic Director. An effort is made to be equitable with stage time, and record is kept of how many shows each act is given.
Some show slots are scheduled either by the headlining group or an appointed individual (ie: cagematch commissioner).
Availability requests for stage time are sent out by the Artistic Director 1 month before the start of each two month scheduling cycle. Failure to submit your availability on or before the due date forfeits your right to be put on the schedule.
Special Shows, Extended Runs and Events
ColdTowne Theater hosts a variety of special shows, extended runs of formats and special events. The Artistic Director will solicit submissions from the community regularly each bimonthly scheduling cycle for show runs, and once per year for mainstage shows that take place Saturdays at 8:30pm. Confirmation of your event or extended run will be given by the Artistic Director.
ColdTowne Branding Deck – Here are files with the logo, color scheme, icons, fonts, etc. for use in your promotional materials. We also offer poster templates, which we encourage all troupes to use, as they include information about the theater.
Poster Printing – Many ColdTowne performers use Ginny’s ($18.99 for 50 12×18 posters). You can use a postering service such as Motorblade to hang your completed posters or have your troupe divide and conquer at local bulletin/community boards.
Blank Pre Show Slide (JPEG) – Right Click and Save As. Design a slide to play before shows. Completed slides can be emailed to Erika McNichol. These slides are shown in the main theater, in the lobby and on the website to promote upcoming/current shows.
Social Media – Contact Ashlee Jordan Pryor and Erika McNichol for mentions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Space is made available based on theater priorities and is not guaranteed. A planned schedule with content, links, imagery and proposed dated for sends is strongly preferred.
Typical social pushes for events that work well are: 1 post the week before, 1 post a few days to a day before, and 1 post the day of.
Community Boards – Plug your event on these sites:
- Austin 360
- Austin Chronicle
- Culturemap Austin
- Austin Monthly
- Yelp Austin
- Eventbrite Austin