Blonde Compassion

Blonde Compassion

Postby Richard Hillier » 02 Nov 2011, 09:34

Space 13 was a disused shop in Princes Mall. With imagination and determination we were able to turn it into what 'The Scotsman' referred to a 'a dinky little theatre'. Several but not all of the companies working there contributed to this process. We did not however manage to obtain a PBH Free Fringe branded black. Lighting and sound was provided by two of the companies working together. Projection was used extensively with one fixed projector and other companies using movable rigs for extra projection needs.

The stage was a corner stage with the ability to use entrances and exits for actors. This was used very flexibly by different companies in the space. The seating capacity was easily fifty and with more chairs we could have made up an audience of 60 with good sight lines. One company decided to ignore the stage area and perform in an unmodified corner of the shop. The only problem this caused was that the audience chairs had to be moved both before and after these performances which wasted time during get-ins and get outs.

There were no staff at the venue itself and we had to cover for each other as much as possible. The Princes Mall Security staff were very helpful and facilitated the get-in and get out by allowing us to use the loading area of the mall for cars, accepting deliveries of flyers and helping out with ladders and troubleshooting the air-conditioning. Generally people worked cooperatively and respected each others time and space needs.

We advertised Blonde Compassion via flyering, a website, youtube a London preview and regular guest slots on the Late Show with Joanne Good on the BBC.

Audience numbers varied, The smallest audience was 9, the largest 40. On average we had around 30 audience to each show. However people often said that they had found it hard to find the space, buried deep in the Princes Mall.

Audience donations into the bucket averaged at about 70p per person over the course of the run.

The lights looked good, the Asda black sheets made effective blackout and the sound was suitable for the venue's size. The main problem technically with the space was that the door was open to the mall and, although we were able to put blackout over the door to keep out the light, sounds from the mall intruded into the shows from time to time.

Administration of the venue worked better once we started to run the venues as separate entities. Kim Shields worked hard and effectively with us as the Venue Captain for Space L13. She was available by telephone despite working at her day job at the same time. I became the proxy venue technician and was available as much as possible by telephone if I was not in the Space.

We had little however to do with Sarah Ruff, who devised the scheduling for both spaces then concentrated more on Space L8. It may be that in the future the 2 venues should be run with a clear separation of responsibilities from the start. At times Space L8 performers would ask us in Space L13 for help and advice and we did the best we could but they appeared to be relatively unsupported in that space during the performance month.
Richard Hillier
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Joined: November 2011

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