How to Select a Venue for Your Event

Considerations in selecting a venue:

  • Expected attendance at the event
  • Venue cost:  both base rent* of the venue and incidentals [additional house tech shifts, on-site event coordinator, IATSE, etc.]
  • Venue restrictions [no food, no open flames, etc.]
  • Venue appropriateness for the performance type
  • Event date / Venue availability
  • Space specifications [such as venue capacity, stage size, reception space]
  • How long you need the venue for, including set-up and take-down
  • If there is sufficient backstage space [including dressing rooms] to meet the events needs



  • Determine your needs.  Know what you absolutely need to make your event successful, and what would be nice to have but is not essential.  Ideally you could find a venue that would meet all of your needs.  However, if you don't find a venue that meets all the event needs it will be important for you to know in advance what you can compromise on or do without.  You may need to adjust your event to fit the venue specifications.  

  • Be specific and transparent about your needs when talking with staff.  The more you tell the facility manager or scheduler about what you want, the better they will be able to help you in venue selection.  Facility representatives want your event to be a success as much as you do, and would prefer to address any issues in advance rather than the day of the event.  

  • Know your budget, and match your expectation with your budget.  Events can be expensive and most technical effects can be achieved for a price.  For example, you will need to decide if your organization is okay with utilizing a free classroom projector from LSA ISS, of if you need a projector that will provide a higher quality image for a much higher price.  

  • Be flexible.  Venue calendars and availability change from year to year depending upon holidays, academic calendars, etc.  You may have a better chance of reserving a venue if you are open to different days of the week or times of year.  Just because your organizations has had its annual event at the same time of year or day of the week for the past several years, may not mean that date will be available this year or in the future.  Understanding this will give your organizations an edge in securing a date in the venue of your choice.    

  • Place reservations well in advance of your event.  UM's Major performance spaces should be reserved a minimum of 2 months prior to your desired event date.  It is recommended that you make reservations 6 months to a year in advance.

Learn more about Major Performance Venues.