22:00 Hairy Feet

22:00 Hairy Feet

Postby HairyFeet1 » 11 Nov 2011, 14:46

The venue

The Kiwi is a bar. It is a part of the Walkabout - the famous Australian themed chain bar - but it is separated from the main Walkabout bar by a public thoroughfare in the Omni Centre. The Omni Centre is a little away from the city centre, on the way out towards Leith. It is a standard Walkabout bar so the main clientele are people watching sport on large TVs. On Friday and Saturday nights it is busy with loud pop music.

The performance area

The Kiwi bar is separate to the main bar which has its benefits and drawbacks. A benefit is that it has its own enclosed performing area. Chairs were set out from the start and there was a good sized stage area - not elevated. There was also unfussy but dedicated lighting and mics.

The team of staff at the venue

We didn't see the staff much. Occasionally one would pop over to serve a few drinks. It seemed the show got in the way of normal business at weekends as on Fridays and Saturdays it was generally impossible to have a member of the bar staff serve drinks when audiences were arriving because of the masses of people in the main bar. At 10pm on a Friday and Saturday we lost a lot of punters who were annoyed that they couldn't get a drink. Also, bizarrely there was an open-mic night in the main Walkabout bar on Thursday night which started at the same time as our show.

When we could get one, bar staff were pleasant and helpful during the week but weekends were difficult. The main problem was the conflict with Omni Centre security staff. In the absence of bar staff, some audience members tried buying drinks at the main bar and bringing them across but Omni Centre corridor but security staff stopped them. This was a pain and got audiences wound up. We had comments from other staff and security implying that they were doing the Free Fringe a favour and would rather not be.

How you advertised your show

We did a lot of on street flyering on the Royal Mile and then harassing the public outside the Omni centre before the show. We also showcased, followed by flyering, at other shows when possible. We had posters up in about 7 venues around the city centre. We did not have anything in the main Fringe brochure or any paid for advertising and generally didn't have a bean to spend on publicity.

How your shows went in terms of audience numbers

Show numbers fairly random. Some excellent full nights, other nights very low. Not sure what the secret is. Anything between 5 and 30. It seemed down to our flyering and striking lucky with meeting the right people interested in the show. All in all fairly random. Some disasters where we attracted a good number crowd but they didn't understand the show and got a few walk outs. Other nights had some really fantastic responses. Rain or not no difference. Our numbers picked up towards the last week.

Your show itself
The show was really well received in general. We do a selection of skits. If anything the planned show was too long to start with so we learnt to adapt the structure. People particularly loved one act in the show and we adapted the show to make sure this had a bigger presence and cut down or rotated other acts. We extended the intro as the run went on to get people more warmed up and do a lot more audience participation. This was an effective technique and got people in the mood.

Buckets
Buckets felt reasonable considering the numbers we were getting in. We got better at encouraging people to donate generously after feeling a bit awkward about it at the start. Overall, quite random. It can take just a couple of generous folk to make a big difference. Other nights, you can have a nearly full room but they are all skint.

Technical set-up at the venue

The sound setup was reasonable. Tech was very easy to use and we developed the show to take advantage of the PA by using a sound man with sound effects. Mics and DI boxes were very handy and worked well. Lighting was good. We hadn’t expected to have proper stage lighting but it was very effective and easy to use. It would have been useful to have a proper changing area for costume changes and walking on/off stage.

Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you)

Our venue captain was excellent and we had good communication with her when needed. Wouldn’t change anything about the arrangement and recommend she would make an excellent venue captain at any venue.
Venue communication was non-existent.
We had regular contact with free-fringers over email but didn't really communicate with Free Fringe directly apart from other acts in our venue. The meeting at the start was useful to get a flavour of what was going on. Felt a bit out on a limb as first timers. Not sure what the solution is. The mass emails that went around generally were OK to an extent but it seemed there were lots of people with unresolved issues.

Any other learning points for anyone involved

Overall it was a good setup. We enjoyed the straight forward nature of having a performing space ready to go and we could simply turn up and get on with performing. Maybe it could work better if there was a more structured support network. But generally an excellent experience and we'll be more prepared to take it on next year.
HairyFeet1
 
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