12:05 Cold Chicken

12:05 Cold Chicken

Postby andrewjlederer » 11 Sep 2011, 18:58

The venue - what sort of venue is it? Pub, Bar, Club, Restaurant... What sort of clientèle normally frequent this venue
A wonderful bar and restaurant. Great music plays. Frequented by cool people.

The performance area - stage, separate room, open air?
Separate room with a stage, sound, lighting and its own bar.

The team of staff at the venue - did they assist the shows? Did the show get in the way of the normal business etc?
The rotating bartenders (entertaining in themselves) were all terrific and supportive. The staff in general were very kind. I believe business benefitted greatly from the FF shows.

How you advertised your show - Fringe brochure, flyering, posters, word of mouth etc
I was in the Free Fringe brochure and not the Fringe bible. Experience has shown that many people choose shows from the Free Fringe brochure irrespective of their presence in the Big Book of Fringe. Also, I flyered, though with less success than last year (when I was in no programme, so good it was not the other way around) due to poor content decisions in designing the flyer (my fault, not the excellent designer, Sean Brightman's). There was some positive word of mouth. Twitter has become a serious factor here.

How your shows went in terms of audience numbers - solid numbers every show? Did it vary by day? Affected by weather?

Only a couple of really good days, attendance-wise, though the show did go on. Don't know if weather was ever a factor. Part of the problem was there were two more compelling shows at almost the same time in other rooms at the venue. I quickly made peace with the fact that an ordinary punter would more likely choose a magic show or a show called Happiness than mine. Still, each day there were at least a few souls who responded to what I had described in the FF brochure and they were generally happy.

Unfortunately, because it is difficult to enter the venue much before noon when the place opens, I was usually setting up while the next show was standing in front, flyering. And as a goodly number of "uncommitted" audience members simply seeking the first show were happy to follow the first available Pied Piper, I often lost some -- who had loosely intended to see my show -- to the show that started shortly thereafter in Space 3. To their credit, the Ester and Son boys were responsive to my concerns and agreed that the door to Space 3 should remain closed until after my show had started. This alleviated the problem to a certain extent but I found that I had to go downstairs around ten to twelve and ask who was there for Cold Chicken and carefully direct them not to follow other crowds or enter other doors. I then had to stand by the stairs asking people what they had come to see and directing them to the appropriate showrooms in order to make certain my handful would not vanish into the throngs.

Once inside the Speakeasy, I more than once asked my audience what they had come to see, making certain not to pilfer my neighbors' punters. This was not all altruism as I was reasonably certain those seeking the sketch show or the magic show would not be happy with what I offered and I wanted to be certain people knew what they were getting (into).

Conclusions from these experiences include a belief that the first show of the day should be in Space 3 and not in the Speakeasy. People automatically enter the first brightly lit showroom with an open door and, visually, with Space 3 beckoning as it does (this was its first year, so it was not a problem last time round), the Speakeasy does not exist. This is only a problem with the first show of the day.

I also think it might be better if there were no 12:05 show at all as it's only 5 minutes after the building opens and it seems to me the staff needs more time to get ready. Gordon, one of the managers, disagrees with me on this point.

Your show itself - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
The show was changing, in effect being created, day by day. Audiences liked it, with rare exceptions. As with this year's 9/11 (5pm, RMT), which started in the 12:05 Speakeasy slot last year, a reprise later in the day next August will probably be very effective.

Buckets - we don't need accounts, but how were the donations to the buckets - bad, good, generous
The amounts were considerably higher than audience numbers would have suggested.

Technical set-up at the venue - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change

Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you) - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
I'm not sure I even met the venue captain. Got e-mails, though. Everything was fine.

Any other learning points for anyone involved - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
I guess I said all I needed to say above. Love the venue. Hope to be back.

Oh, wait. One thing more -- the notion that we should wait for show changes, which could mean the better art of an hour before fetching flyers or other items from the storage area in the Ballroom, is nuts. We must try to be quiet, of course, but this is the Fringe and there is no perfection -- the Ballroom performers should understand this. For God's sake, the wait staff moves in and out of the kitchen throughout the shows, so how could entering a room at the back be an issue?

That's all. Yeah, I'm done.
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