Hiring FAQ’s

Q: What spaces are available and what are the capacities?

  • Theatre – capacity 400
  • Studio – capacity up to 450 depending on layout required
  • Room 1 – capacity up to 10
  • Room 2 – capacity up to 40
  • Learning Room 2 – capacity up to 20
  • Learning Room 3 – capacity up to 30
  • Gallery 1 – capacity up to 80

Q: What types of layouts are there for the Studio?

Reserved full bleacher seating – raked seating (capacity 270)

Clubstyle – lower level unreserved tables & chairs / balcony reserved seating (capacity 226)

Cabaret Style – lower level reserved tables & chairs / balcony reserved seating (capacity 218)

Gigstyle – standing lower level / balcony reserved seating (capacity 450)

Standing – standing only (capacity 300)

Q: What is the difference between Community and Commercial bookings?

The difference between Community and Commerical bookings is as follows;

Community bookings are applicable to

  • Registered Charities
  • Public Sector Bodies
  • Sefton Community Organisations

Commercial bookings are applicable to

  • Professional Theatre Companies, Booking Agents
  • Business Users; for example a business user is a limited company (not charity), a partnership, a sole trader, a franchisee or friendly society
  • Private Functions; for example a private function is an event organised by an individual or group where entry is by invitation only

Q: Does The Atkinson operate with split agreements rather than a straight hire?

No, The Atkinson operates with a straight hire for anybody wishing to hire a space. Split agreements are generally only applied to The Atkinson’s own promoted events within the professional programme.

Q: Does The Atkinson carry out marketing for hirers events?

No, but we offer the following;

  • An event page on theatkinson.co.uk website. Hi res jpeg images, video if possible, reviews and links to external websites can be included. All to be supplied please note we have the right to amend/review copy and remove inappropriate content.
  • Display of A5 flyers in the venue
  • 2 x A2 posters outside if supplied with all information, ready to be pasted
  • Event added to the Digital Screens, high res jpeg image to be provided
  • Occasional retweets on Twitter, if @AtkinsonThe is mentioned
  • Sales reports on your events

We ask that all publicity material is proofed by the Marketing Dept before going to print to ensure correct logo and information is correct. The Atkinson logo is available from the Marketing Dept email marketing@theatkinson.co.uk. All publicity material must be handed to a member of The Atkinson staff who will ensure the publicity is displayed.

We also offer additional marketing at a cost – The Atkinson – Marketing Package – Hire.

Q: What are the hire charges?

Hire charges depend on the activity/event taking place and which space you wish to hire, email venuehire@theatkinson.co.uk with your details and a member of staff will be in touch.

Q: What is included in a performance hire charge?

Performance hire charges include the following;

  • Hire of the space
  • All front of house, box office, event management staffing
  • Full ticketing service (online, telephone, over the counter)
  • Technical staffing (1 lighting technician & 1 stage manager)
  • Website listings on The Atkinson website and digital screens
  • Leaflets displayed in the foyer
  • 2 x A2 posters outside if supplied iwht all information, ready to be pasted
  • Event display on the Digital Screens
  • Occasional retweets on Twitter, if @AtkinsonThe is mentioned
  • Sales reports on your events

Q: Do I receive net or gross ticket income after the hire charges are deducted?

Gross ticket income is paid to the Hirer once all hire charges are deducted; as gross ticket income is paid directly to the Hirer it is the responsibility of the Hirer to pay any VAT applicable.

A ‘Licence to Occupy’ is a standard legal agreement for a short term let. The Council has made a specific grant of a licence to occupy a space within The Atkinson to the Hirer. As part of the agreement when the ticket income is paid over to the Hirer, Output Tax will not have been accounted for by the Council. Therefore if the Hirer is VAT registered, the Hirer will be required to account for VAT on the ticket income to HMRC, on their own VAT return.

Q: Why do I need Public Liability Insurance?

The Atkinson’s Public Liability Insurance policy only covers any accidents or damage caused by us, the Hirer is required to take out Public Liability Insurance to cover all their activities/events taking place within The Atkinson. As a Hirer you are responsible for any accidents or damage to our venue, equipment and to the public caused by your staff, performers etc.

Hirers are required to send in a copy of their policy before the activity/event takes place, without this we are not able to hold the activity/event at The Atkinson.

Please note: Hirers must also ensure that they have in effect at the time of their use of The Atkinson, appropriate insurance cover for any equipment they bring on to site to use during their hire, Sefton Council will not be held responsible for any loss, theft or damage of any equipment.

Q: What is PRS (Performing Rights Society)?

PRS for Music represents members’ performing rights, whenever a piece of music is performed or played in any public space or place outside of the home. Performing rights royalties are paid to a songwriter, composer or publisher whenever their music is played or performed in any public space or place.

The Atkinson holds a PRS licence and we are obliged to make quarterly returns to the Performing Rights Society. If you have obtained a licence to perform or letter of permission we require a copy of this for our records or we will have to charge the current PRS levy applicable to your event.

Q: Is there on site parking at The Atkinson?

No, there is no on site parking at The Atkinson.

Pay & display parking is available around Southport (free after 6pm), there are also car parks in Tulketh Street, Central 12, Marine Drive, Floral Hall, Dunes Leisure/Splashworld as well as a number of off-road car parks.

There are three operating Park & Ride services in Southport; the Esplanade, Kew and Fairways. Click on each name for further information on the current service offered. Park & ride is also suitable for tour buses, coaches etc.

To find a car park visit Find Car Parks

The Atkinson has recently partnered with NCP Southport Train Station Car Park to exclusively offer visitors to The Atkinson 4 hours of parking for £2. For more information on how the discount works visit NCP Car Park Discount

Q: Is the venue fully accessible and what facilities does it have for disabled people?

Yes, The Atkinson is fully accessible.

  • The main entrance is flat, there are automatic doors and there are lifts to all floors.
  • There are accessible toilets available on all floors and the first floor accessible toilet has full adult changing facilities. This will soon be a registered Changing Places toilet.
  • An induction loop is set up on our Visitor Services counter and full infra red emitters in all our performance spaces.
  • There is a portable induction loop available for any space in the venue.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome.


  • The Atkinson does not have its own car park but due to being located in the heart of Lord Street, there is pay and display street parking that disabled drivers can use (please remember to show your blue badge).
  • There is one blue badge parking space on Market Street, next to the old Carlton Hotel and on the corner of the Vincent Hotel (approx 5 minutes from The Atkinson). There are also two spaces on Eastbank Street facing Superdrug (approx 6 minutes from The Atkinson).


Q: Is there parking for loading and unloading?

Yes, there are 2 loading bays.

Theatre events the loading bay is accessible from the front of The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB.

Studio events the loading bay is situated in Sharrock Street, Southport, PR8 1QE (off Eastbank Street – located behind The Atkinson).

Vehicles must be moved once unloaded/loaded or you will incur a parking ticket.

Q: Do you take commission to sell merchandise?

Yes, The Atkinson will take a 10% commission rate for any merchandise sold at the event and will provide a suitable space for this purpose. The Hirer must supply a member of their company to sell the merchandise.

The Atkinson has the right to sell The Atkinson’s merchandise for the duration of the Hirer’s events.

Q: Do you charge booking fees?

Yes, the booking fee is £1 per ticket online and telephone.

Q: Do you produce a What’s On Brochure?

Yes, inclusion of event in the brochure is subject to a fee of £50 + VAT (community rate) / £75 + VAT (commercial rate). Please note entry is a listing only (no copy) if submitted in correct timeframe. 10,000 copies of the seasonal brochure are distributed every season.

For more information email: marketing@theatkinson.co.uk