How to draw the perfect stage plan / plot

I work for a London PA Hire company & a London sound hire company and I've dealt with a lot of band stage plans in the past. I've come across lots of different styles and ideas of what is acceptable. Some are good, some not so good. In this short hub Im going to show you how to draw the best stage plan an engineer, promoter, stage manager could hope for! Want to view more posts from me? Check this one on eliminate feedback!

How To Make A Stage Plot

Remember, the idea of a stage plan is to communicate the set up and lay out of your bands to different people working at the gig. You don't always have to provide them but its good to have one prepared when you get asked for one. It should be clean, uncluttered and to the point. People will be looking at them in a hurry on a dark stage so they don't want to look at a mess of cables and coded boxes with a key next to them showing all the different routing options!

Stage Plot Example

Below are a few good examples of real stage plans I have received in the past.

Excellent stage plot. If you look closely the band is quite complex but the plan is clear and easy to read.
Excellent stage plot. If you look closely the band is quite complex but the plan is clear and easy to read.
Awful stage plan, really difficult to read in a gig situation & very confusing.
Awful stage plan, really difficult to read in a gig situation & very confusing.
This is a good stage plan. Clear and easy to follow.  We even know what everyone wants to hear in there monitors as well as names so we can communicate easily from the front of house desk.
This is a good stage plan. Clear and easy to follow. We even know what everyone wants to hear in there monitors as well as names so we can communicate easily from the front of house desk.
This is a great example of a stage plan. Clear and very easy to understand. Having each drum marked is a great idea. although it misses out there monitor preference
This is a great example of a stage plan. Clear and very easy to understand. Having each drum marked is a great idea. although it misses out there monitor preference

Have you noticed a subtle difference in these two plots? One has the front of the stage at the top of the page and the other at the bottom. These plans miss off the location of the audience. You should really have something saying 'front' to make everything clear.

This has to be one of the worst stage plans Ive seen! After a few seconds of looking at this Id fold it up and just let them set up before plugging everything in.
This has to be one of the worst stage plans Ive seen! After a few seconds of looking at this Id fold it up and just let them set up before plugging everything in.

So basically, keep it clean and concise. No cables to the stage box, you don't even need to ask for things to be mic'ed. Just simple, bold outlines of everything in the correct location!

I would recommend using bold square boxes for each amplifier or instrument that requires a microphone. In that square box, write the name of the instrument. In front of the box, mark a microphone (The standard is a cross, write this in a key on one side anyway though) or DI box (again a small box with the letters DI would be perfect). Then draw in more boxes to denote the monitor positions. Mark them as 'monitor mix one - Drums' etc.

Don't draw any cables & do not draw a details picture of what the instrument looks like.

If you wish to add a little about what mix you require in the monitors I suggest doing this away from the picture. Just below would be perfect.

Don't forget to write the name of the band at the top of the page!

Another thing that you may possibly need to note is where you require power supplies. Make up a symbol (usually a lighting bolt shape) and mark it on the key with an explanation.

Good luck

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Comments 1 comment

Craggle 3 years ago

Thanks for this. Big help!

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