15:45 William Makepeace Thackeray's belated Bicentenary

15:45 William Makepeace Thackeray's belated Bicentenary

Postby Francis Shire » 18 Feb 2013, 23:16

The venue The Buffs club is a hidden gem. Pints are cheap and it’s also got an impressive darts scoring stream. Just hanging around the Buff’s Club means you stumble across unusual, unscheduled things like the Existential Review and comedians daring each other to take Viagra. Also the club stays open until two AM. For the length of the run I stayed upstairs in the Edinburgh Backpackers, which meant I only had two flights of stairs to go down every day to get to the venue. Sadly, it looks like unless there’s a reprieve the Buff’s is going to be transformed into two luxury holiday flats.

The performance area The backroom of the Buffs is a kind of mystical space decorated with a painting of six fingered knights forcing King John to sign the Magna Carta. Sadly no one decided to tin foil the windows shut this year. Suffered a little from the noise of the builders outside and those pan pipe guys.

The team of staff at the venue Frank and Matt and the gang are always great and hopefully they find a new venue next for the Buff’s Club to meet in the future.

How you advertised your show As I was only there for a week I decided not to go in the main programme this year. This was probably a mistake with a niche show like mine, which is largely going to appeal to the small number of William Makepeace Thackeray fans that still exist...if they do exist at all, even after the show I’m still uncertain?! My initial flyering strategy was to go down to the halfprice ticket hut and give out flyers using the PBH Free Fringe guide as my hook. I gave out a lot of free fringe guides with flyers but it probably resulted in about one audience member per day. I then shifted my approach to flyering the queues of shows with similar 19th century literary subject matter like Miriam Margoyles Dicken’s Women and Austintatious. This produced better results but non-free fringe venues aren’t keen on you flyering their queues. The Pleasance will let you flyer within the courtyard though, so you just have to get their early and spot the Dickensians before they start queuing. In the end I ended up insulting lots of Jane Austin fans but with little reward. The most successful strategy was probably standing outside the venue for about two and a half hours before the show began and then just relentlessly flyering everyone who came past. I nearly got Stewart Lee to come into the show this way but then he said he had a children’s show to go to. Staying in the youth hostel above the Buff’s also meant that I got some people from the hostel to come to the show, but at £20 a night it’s not a cost effective method as they don’t put much in the bucket.

How your shows went in terms of audience numbers The most I got was 12, the least I got was 0 (only on 1 day though). In 2011 we were getting 20 to 30 at the weekends and I think this was definitely to do with going in the main programme, so people who were into Cheshire could spot it. It also gives you a much wider internet presence.

Your show itself This was my first ever hour long solo show. I was generally pleased with how the show went, it seemed to appeal most to the drunken middle aged female fans of Jolly Boat. I only had two walkouts but I wonder why I keep making my shows so niche that it’s really difficult to get people to go to them. Next year I will definitely aim to do something that caters for the One Show crowd.

Buckets Considering my relatively small audience numbers I did okay.

Technical set-up at the venue I came to the Buff’s Club in the last week of the Fringe and the lighting and sound system were all set up by the excellent venue team.

Admin & Communication process Bob ‘Walshy’ Walsh was a great venue captain and everything ran pretty smoothly.

Any other learning points for anyone involved: I had a really great time, thanks to everyone who came along and all the comedians I got drunk with. Lewis Schaffer told me that my I needed to change my name to Trystan Tryst as my current name isn’t memorable enough, so maybe I’ll do that. Also stop hiding behind the cloak of obscurity.
Francis Shire
Posts: 3
Joined: March 2012

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