The West of Lenin Theatre is a flexible blackbox performance space. In its' rep configuration, it has 88 seats.
Below is a series of links to various tech specs of the space and some helpful renter's documents. These files are great references for current or future renters. We have also included a link to a downloadable version of the Theatre FAQ for current and potential renters.
Helpful Rental Documents:
This is a list of questions that are frequently asked about renting the Theatre at West of Lenin. Each rental is different, so the relevance of some sections may vary based on the footprint of your rental. This is written for renters who have already signed contracts or are in the process of starting an agreement with us, but you may also find it handy for quick inquiries while assessing if West of Lenin is right for your production. If you still have any remaining questions regarding the space, please direct them to our Venue Manager.
We assume that anyone renting from us has read this fully. If you have not already done so, please disseminate this to your designers, crew and director.
Click here for a downloadable and printable version of this FAQ.
What’s with the name?
We are located a 5 min walk west of the Lenin statue in Fremont. Please note that our name is a tribute to the long history of independent artists in Fremont, and a distinction from Lenin himself (hence, we are west of him.) Please note, the proper abbreviation for the space is “WofL” (pronounced “waffle”) and not WoL.
What’s the capacity?
The theatre capacity is 146 souls, but the repertory seating allows for approximately 88 seats. While it is often possible to fit a few more folks in, our air conditioning unit is engineered to support about 88 people + the heat from stage lighting. If you would like to seat more than 88 for your event, please discuss with us ways to make it work. Comfort is a hallmark of our audience experience, and it’s important to us to maintain this.
What are the dimensions of the space?
The theater is 28' wide (from East to West) and 47' long (North to South.) Further information regarding the shape of the space and details about our grid and more are in the Vectorworks file and PDF above!
Do you have Wifi?
We do have a courtesy WiFi network for our renters. The password is available from WofL staff at the time of your load in. This is for cast and crew only. Please do not share the password with patrons. Please note: If your show has any ‘mission critical’ networking needs, this may require the temporary setup of additional equipment and will need to be arranged ahead of time. Additional specifics may include set-up or equipment fees. Please consult the Venue Manager as to what is possible for your piece.
When can I come look at the space?
If you wish to schedule a quick tour of the space, please email the Venue Manager. Once you have signed a contract, we will arrange a couple of meetings in the space with your production team and our Venue Manager. This will help make your load-in and time at WofL go smoothly.
Can I rent the upstairs rehearsal studio?
You bet! Our rehearsal studio is available for rental, both for rehearsals, meetings and small performances. Our rates are reasonable if you desire to rent for multiple days or weeks. Please be aware that we have a very different business model than TPS. As such, we are not price competitive with TPS. Our studio is generally rented on a larger scale than an hourly basis, which varies from many standard rehearsal spaces in the area. The upside is that (depending on what else is in the space) we are likely able to let you tape the floor and store props for the term of your rental. Please see the link for the Studio info under Rent Our Space. There is a separate FAQ for the Studio that you are welcome to review as well.
Load in and Tech…
How late/early can we work?
We prefer to confine our staff hours to between 9AM and 11PM. If your load in or rehearsals require additional hours, an overtime charge for our staff hours will be added. A finalized copy of your tech schedule will be sorted with the Venue Manager.
Will I need a crew?
Likely, yes. The number of stagehands you need for your crew is dependent on the size of your show. Normally you are responsible for supplying the team that loads in, techs, runs and strikes your show. You will need qualified stage electricians, technical director/scenic crew, sound operator and crew to organize your load in, hang, focus, cueing sessions, show operation and strike. West of Lenin’s staff is there to advise and help, but you are responsible for the hang, circuiting, focus, cue programming, operation and strike for your show. We must re-emphasize that, while you are welcome to bring in volunteer crew, they must meet minimum experience levels and be qualified to be working in technical theatre. We do have a great referral and overhire list if you need additional crew to help make your show happen. If you want us to find someone and staff it, please enquire with the Venue Manager about costs and logistics associated with us providing additional crew for your show.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you move any lights from the rep plot, they must be restored during strike. We have a printed lighting plot, which whomever is assigned to do the restore must be able to read and follow, as well as focus accordingly.
Do I need a lighting/sound/set designer?
Probably, yes. Any scenic, lighting or sound needs are the responsibility of you as a renter. Our lighting rep plot contains some basic looks, but if you desire anything more complicated it will be up to you to establish what that is with a member of your team. The same applies for sound design and scenic work. If you need a designer, let us know and we can give you some referrals of great designers who have worked in the space on prior shows.
What do you provide?
Check out our renter inventory sheet for our full lighting and sound inventory.
The following items are available for your use:
- A variety of brooms and a dust pan
- Mop and bucket
- Paper cutter
- Microwave and mini fridge (in dressing room)
- Bucket of tie line
- Extension cords (stage pin and edison)
We do ask that you please come absolutely prepared when renting our space. Anything you may think you need (gaff and spike tape, power cables or adapters, hand and power tools, special cleaning products, etc.) you should always assume you’ll need to bring with you. We’d hate for you to arrive and be missing something we don’t have available!
Please note that our parent company The Ethereal Mutt – Limited is an event production company that owns a fair amount of lighting, sound and video equipment. While this gear is often stored in the warehouse next to the theatre, it is intended for use on outside projects, and is not included in the available WofL inventory. Only the lighting and sound gear itemized in your rental agreement or specifically approved by a West of Lenin staff member are available for use. Feel free express requests, but please respect our space and equipment.
Can West of Lenin staff help out backstage during performances or tech?
Unfortunately, we are not available to do that. The house manager needs to be able to handle any building or safety issues before and during performances and rehearsals. We do have a list of overhire staff that can be contracted for an hourly rate if you are looking for additional crew.
When’s the latest we can cancel and/or shorten a rehearsal?
We have to give our staff 24 hours notice to cancel, so we ask the same of you. If you wish to cancel (or shorten) any non-performance time you have booked in the theatre, please contact our Venue Manager with at least 24 hours notice. If you have your own set of keys to the space, we still ask 24 hours notice for venue management purposes. You must receive confirmation from the Venue Manager in order to not be charged for your unused hours.
When’s the latest we can cancel a performance?
Once you’ve signed a contract, you are obligated to pay for each performance.
Can I have nudity onstage?
It’s tricky, and the answer is possibly no. Due to Washington State liquor laws, many types of nudity onstage could make us a strip club. Flawed logic, we agree, but we didn't write the laws. Please check with us and let us know what you would like to accomplish artistically, so we can see if it’s possible.
Can I have glitter onstage?
Glitter is a known enemy of the black box theater space. Please let is know in advance if you plan on using glitter, even if one of your costumes is exceptionally shimmery with glitter. The same would go for small, flaky pieces in excess: Confetti, fake snow, a remarkable amount of sequins, etc.
Fire and Emergency Details…
Can we have fire onstage?
Unfortunately, No. This includes lighters, smoking, incense and flash paper. Candle permits *may* be possible under strict circumstances, but we cannot guarantee that it will be allowed. Please discuss with our staff prior to signing your contract. We also require that all soft goods and scenery be flame retardant.
Wait, you require all soft goods and scenery to be flame retardant?
Yes, but do not despair! Most paint and theatrical soft goods are already flame retardant. You must be certain there is no natural wood exposed (including places where the audience can’t see). Painting exposed wood with any latex paint usually will do, though please check the product to confirm.
Speaking of Fire Code…
Below are the sections of the fire code that are applicable:
The Occupant Load shall remain posted in a conspicuous place near the main exit from the room.
Furnishings, decorations or other objects shall not be places so as to obstruct exits, access thereto, egress therefrom, or visibility thereof. Hangings and draperies shall not be placed over exit doors or otherwise be located to conceal or obstruct an exit. Mirrors shall not be placed on exit doors. Mirrors shall not be placed in or adjacent to any exit in such manner as to confuse the directions of exit.
The means of egress, including the exit discharge, shall be illuminated at all times the building space served by the means of egress is occupied.
An exit shall not be used for any purpose that interferes with its function as means of egress.
Egress doors shall be readily openable from the egress side without the use of key or special knowledge or effort.
... Extinguishers and hose and similar appliances shall be visible and accessible at all times.
Curtains, draperies, hangings and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings shall be flame resistant... or be noncombustible.
Where are the emergency exits?
WofL has 2 emergency exits from the theatre space. The first is the north door into the theatre. The second exit is the double doors along the west wall. The west wall exit doors open into a hallway and the exit is along the south wall of the building. The dressing room is also located along this hallway. There is a shelf up high for props storage, but please note, other than this shelf, this hallway can never be blocked with any seats, scenery, props or even a cable run. WofL staff reserves the right to, at any time, move anything that is left in this hallway to ensure that the emergency exit is not blocked. This information is most importantly shared with actors or performers who may frequent the hallway during exits or entrances, or who may accidentally place items in the hallway without the knowledge of the fire regulation. Please ensure your Stage Manager is also aware.
Equipment and Design…
What should we run our sound off of?
We have a Mackie 16 channel soundboard and we provide a 1 disc CD player for sound playback. If you would like to use another playback device the soundboard can accommodate that. Please note that we do not supply a computer for sound cue playback.
Can I use the projector?
We have several projectors available, but will have to charge for their setup and use. The cost is $50 per day in the theatre, and $30 per day in the studio.
Are there black soft goods we can hang?
Yes, we have a set of pleated and flat black drapes. They attach to the grid using tie-line. Our rep plot requires a specific tie system in order to keep things looking sharp for your show, so keep in mind that you may have to do some rearranging in the grid after moving the drapes.
NOTE: Our black soft goods are flame proofed. We do require that all soft goods and scenery be flame retardant. Please see Fire and Other Specialty Inquiries.
Can I move the risers?
Sure! As one of the more flexible Black Box spaces in Seattle WofL was built with versatile seating in mind. We encourage all groups to use the space inventively. Please note that it does take quite a bit of time and mandatory manpower during load-in to accomplish a riser move. We also require having at least one WofL staff member on hand to supervise all riser moves. You are required to provide your own man power for the riser moves, unless you wish to staff through our WofL overhire list. In the event you wish to schedule a riser moves, specifics must be arranged ahead of time with the Venue Manager. Below are some time estimates:
2 people = 4 hours
4 people = 3 hours
6 people = 2 hours
2 people = 6 hours
3 people = 4 hours
6 people = 3 hours
Please note that construction hours are likely to vary based on the experience of your crew.
Can we really put the risers anywhere in the space?
Our risers were built so that the space can transform into many configurations. Round, Alley, Thrust, Proscenium, any combination of those. You can even take them out entirely and have an empty theatre. All riser arrangements must meet with fire code and be approved by Venue Manager. Please remember, you must restore the risers to rep format as part of your strike, so please budget your time accordingly.
Construction in the Space…
Can I paint in the space?
Yes, though we recommend bringing scenic elements pre-painted to save on rental time and potential clean up costs. You may paint scenery in the theatre or in the alley behind the building. The warehouse may not be used for building or painting. In both the theatre and the alley, a drop cloth must be used at all times. If paint ends up on the concrete outside it must be thoroughly cleaned/removed, and paint on the stage floor must be restored to the proper black. Please keep in mind that all exposed wood, even on the unseen backs of flats, but be completely painted to adhere to fire code (see section on fireproofing above).
Can I paint the floor?
Yes. We require an additional $500 deposit before you paint the floor and a restore to black during your Strike. The paint must be water based and approved by the Venue Manager. Any sealants or top glass coats must be approved by the Venue Manager as well. Dependent upon which paint you use, it may be necessary to sand the floor prior to repainting at Strike. Please remember that hourly rates do apply to any additional time spent in the building, painting the floor. So, please budget accordingly. Your deposit will be returned in full if the floor is primed and painted with the correct paint at the end of your rental.
The floor paint code is Sherwin Williams Acrylic Tread Plex tinted to SW6258 Tricorn Black.
What can I hang from the grid?
Our grid is structurally designed to hang lighting, sound, theatrical drapes and projection equipment. It is also possible to hang some scenic pieces from the grid depending on the structural load they place on the grid. Please consult with WofL staff for approval of any scenic pieces attached to our grid. Please note that any scenic piece or rigging that involves hanging or flying a person (or other animal) from the grid must be pre-approved with WofL staff. We reserve the right to decline permission for any rigging that we consider unsafe. If especially ambitious, it may also be necessary to consult a structural engineer at the renters cost to make sure that we are not creating any safety or structural integrity issues.
Can I screw scenery into the deck?
Yes. Please note, our floor decking is only 1.25” deep before you hit concrete, so please check with WofL Venue Manager to make sure you’re using the proper hardware.
Can I screw scenery into the walls or ceiling?
Unfortunately this is rarely allowed. If you have a scenic need that must be attached to the walls or ceiling, please check with the Venue Manager to explore the any limited possibilities. Our main concern is that the (very expensive) sound proofing built into the walls not be compromised.
Where is the dressing room?
Our dressing room is located through the emergency exit double doors on the west side of the room. You can also access the dressing room via the small actors crossover portal on the SW side of the room. The dressing room fits 4 people comfortably, and 6 if they are very friendly. There is a sink, toilet, lighted mirrors and a microwave and mini fridge. There is also a CCTV monitor so the actors can see and hear the stage.
Can we use the crossover?
The SW crossover portal gives performers access to come from the dressing room and enter ‘upstage’. The portal is pluggable if your show requires it.
If your use of the space involves a scenery design that requires blocking the emergency exit along the south wall, you must apply for a special event permit with the Seattle Fire Department. In order to do that you must also reduce your seating arrangement so that no more than 49 souls, (cast+crew+audience) can be in the room at one time. A bit of advice – don’t plan on this, as it can be a complicated process to clear with the city.
Can we use the warehouse to cross between the dressing room and the lobby?
Unless special arrangements have been made, the warehouse is unavailable to renters. We have a number of other active projects that use that space, therefore we cannot guarantee that the space will be suitable for show use. If you need to enter through the lobby, you can go out the back door and cut through the parking lot of Chilli Paste Restaurant. REMINDER: The back door cannot be propped open.
Can we use West of Lenin parking?
The three parking spots up front are available during non business hours (meaning after 5:00 pm on weekdays and all day Sunday). There is absolutely no parking in the alley, unless you are loading or unloading. Please give the Venue Manager 24 hours notice if you need the loading dock so it can be made available.
Anything we should pass on to our audience?
The lobby is available to the audience an hour before curtain, and box office will open 30 minutes before. Parking is hard on weekends. Free, but difficult to find near showtime. In the summer, events like movie nights and Solstice make it even more difficult. There are several bus stops close, and three bike racks in our parking area.
During Your Run...
What are my production company’s responsibilities the day of a performance?
We do expect your stage manager or run crew to care for the following responsibilities:
- Dimmer & speaker check (by 1 hour till curtain)
- Sweeping the stage every night
- Mopping the stage once a week
- Coordinating house open and curtain with the house manager
- Ensure cleanliness of dressing rooms after each performance
If your show is more than 50% sold out it is highly suggested that you bring an usher. This will make the process go faster and easier for your audience by having them assist with seating.
When can we get there on performance days?
The theater is available to you 90 minutes before curtain on performance days, and is available to you 30 minutes after curtain. Additional hours will be billed at the rehearsal rate.
Can I include a talk back in my performance time?
The available 30 minutes post-show begins immediately after curtain call. If you wish to have a talk back or post-show discussion, you will be billed for any time in the space that goes beyond those 30 minutes. This includes time taken for actors and crew to vacate the building. We also require that you provide advance notice of all post-show events to our Venue Manager so front of house staff can be scheduled accordingly.
Does West of Lenin rent out the space in between weekends of our show?
We reserve the right to book or make use of the theatre within the rental period of your show. We try to maximize the use of the theatre for off night and late night performances in order to keep costs low for everyone. We don’t take bookings that will harm or compromise your show or sales. We don’t more or modify any of your scenery, props, audio or lighting installations without mutual agreement to a plan to insure safety and integrity of your property.
Ticketing and Front of House…
Does West of Lenin provide a House Manager?
Yes. West of Lenin takes care of Front of House duties, including:
- Cleaning the house, lobby and bathrooms
- Taking out the trash
- Selling concessions
- Accommodating late seating
- Opening and closing up the building before and after your event.
Things you will need to provide:
- Someone to sell tickets
- $100 in small bills for box office bank
- Programs (folded and/or cut)
- Box office report at the end of the night
Things you will want to provide (all optional, but makes things go faster):
- Square (or comparable) Card Reader/account
- Usher (highly suggested)
Do you allow late seating?
If you would like late seating, we are more than happy to accommodate that. Please consult with the House Manager regarding your late seating policy and strategy.
How do I set you up as an agent?
Anything else about Brown Paper Tickets?
Please set the tickets to “Will Call Only.” It’s far easier for everyone to deal with that way!
Can we put the West of Lenin business number as a contact for audience members?
No. We require that the contact information come from within your company (Producer or otherwise) as we do not have box office hours or sell tickets via the phone. West of Lenin does have a show line (extension 10) in case people call us, but we do not guarantee that we will be responsive to messages in a timely manner to an evening’s show time. Questions or inquiries left in a phone message or on the general WofL website inquiry form may not be answered in a timely fashion.
Publicity and Marketing…
Can West of Lenin help with our publicity?
We do a number of things for our renters: Pictures, links and descriptions from your event go up on our website, we frequently tweet and post on Facebook about our shows. We have a video screen facing the sidewalk that has a running slideshow featuring pictures of current and upcoming shows, we also send an eblast about once a month describing the shows we have coming up.
We won’t take out any ads, nor will we contact reviewers on your behalf. We do encourage you to send notices and press releases to local media outlets that do art reviews. This includes the Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Stranger, Seattle Gay News, City Arts, Sunbreak, the Seattle Star, Seattles, Crosscut.com, Seattle Magazine, KCTS, (specifically Art Zone), KING, KOMO, KPLU, KUOW and the local university newspapers. Contact emails for them can be found on their websites.
Once you have received the form for our Publicity Rider, we highly suggest filling it out as soon as possible. We cannot advertise your show until it has been properly filled out. Read the document closely to be certain you have the correct image sizes!
Where should I put the West of Lenin logo?
Please use our logo on all programs, posters, print and internet advertising. The proper name for the theatre is “West of Lenin.” Please do not use “West of Lenin Theatre” in your advertising., Please note the proper abbreviation is “WofL” (pronounced “waffle) and not WoL.
Do we need a curtain speech?
West of Lenin strongly recommends that you have a live or prerecorded curtain speech. The Venue Manager can provide you with a script or the House Manager can deliver a speech if you have no one available. The following information should be included in your curtain speech:
1) Mention of West of Lenin’s community partners.
2) Use crosswalks and not cross the street mid-block for everyone’s safety
3) Any upcoming events at West of Lenin
4) Encouraging people to sign the mailing list.
5) Art in Gallery is for sale
If you do not have or do not wish to have a curtain speech, we can supply you with a single page, double-sided program insert upon request.
Can we get our own community partners for our show?
We have carefully cultivated relationships with our business neighbors in Fremont to offer discounts for patrons. If you are interested in working a new angle on behalf of your show, we want to make it work for you, but we do need to make sure it does not conflict with one of our existing relationships. We are open to cultivating new ideas! So please feel free to discuss with us.
Strike and Load Out…
What is necessary for us to do at strike?
We ask that you restore the theater to the state it was in when you came in to the space. This usually means:
- Removing any and all set/props/belongings
- Restoring the rep light plot
- Focusing the rep light plot
- Restoring platforms and seating to rep configuration.
- Restoring all speakers
- Restoring any sound panels.
- Sweeping and mopping
- Cleaning the booth and dressing rooms
We do ask that you do a final walk-through with the West of Lenin staff member present for your Strike. If you have any specific questions or requests for your strike, please let us know well before your scheduled strike.
REMINDER: Our dumpster is not available for strike garbage. You will need to haul all set pieces, etc.
For inquiries regarding potential rentals or scheduling:
General Manager – Liza Comtois
phone: (206) 352-1777 (ext. 12)
For questions once you are a current renter or for venue emergencies:
Venue and Production Manager – Caitlin McCown
cell: (360) 813-8966