18:10 - Michelle Wormleighton: Bewildered

18:10 - Michelle Wormleighton: Bewildered

Postby meeshworm » 16 Dec 2012, 10:47

- The venue - Chain Mexican Restaurant... Families, Shoppers, Older Teenagers

- The performance area - Basement - the room was set well away from the actual restaurant, other than the sound of the nearby toilet doors banging there was not too much sound bleeding through. It's a good idea to make sure latecomers shut the entrance door fully as it does not do this automatically. There were two entrances to the space with one operating as a backstage entrance for performers and techs. This was particularly useful for more sketch / theatre based shows. I think the space was suitable for stand-up yet roomy enough to accommodate more theatrical shows like mine. The lighting was provided by up-lights on the walls and a couple of domestic halogen spotlights provided by the performers. You'll need to make sure with the staff at the venue that the lighting is set up properly as it defaults to overhead strip lights which is not conducive to a performance atmosphere. The room had a good sized space towards the back where we were able to store our flyers, posters and props. This was very useful but proved to be an inconsiderate distraction when other shows would walk in and out of the space during my show to pick up their flyers. I had to ask the people involved to not do this again but, frankly, I don't understand why common sense and courtesy didn't automatically come into play here. We all left on flyers on chairs which made the room look messy and it would be a good idea not to repeat this. There was space available at the main bar upstairs to leave small piles of flyers.

- The team of staff at the venue - The staff and manager at the venue were very friendly. The manager was very accommodating and, as the venue captain, I found him easy to liaise with. We were left to get on with things by ourselves and I don't feel the shows got in the way of normal business. On the get-out day, we tidied but the manager insisted that we did not need to clean the venue.

- How you advertised your show - Fringe brochure (incl. main fringe programme), flyers. I flyered other free fringe venues after shows that I knew had big audiences and found people to be a lot more receptive than in the George Street area, closer to the venue. I flyered alongside another show which actually clashed with mine but our venues were within a 5 min walk of each other. We promoted each other's shows and this did produce some good audiences on both sides. I had ordered & paid for some posters which I intended to put up around the venue but these never arrived and I received no reply from my emails to Cann Print which was disappointing. I found my show a little difficult to market as it straddles the comedy and theatre genres. Also my title and blurb was vague. Next time I would work towards more specific marketing because the Chiquto shows which had a catchy title (as mentioned in other reports, a USP) pulled in consistently larger audiences. It would have been good to have an A Board outside the venue advertising all the shows - Amarone had this and people did stop to read it.

- How your shows went in terms of audience numbers - I had to pull 6 shows out of 20 (3 of those I decided to make a dress run). I think audience numbers were down in general but as an unknown solo act I feel I did not actually benefit from my prime time slot as I was up against big acts such as Stewart Lee around the corner in the Assembly Rooms. You need to work harder if you're in the New Town area as passing trade is not as easy to come by. You're away from the heart of the festival and I found that, generally, people were shopping or in the area because they were already seeing something at the Assembly Rooms and could not be persuaded to consider watching a free fringe show. Having said that, some shows were packed out. Whilst other shows appeared to have consistent audience numbers mine varied greatly from 1 - full house. My audience numbers were definitely affected by the weather - heavy rain pulled in little or no audience. If only two people were in the audience, I found they left before the show started as they did not feel comfortable. Having said all that, one of my favourite shows was to an audience member of one.

- Your show itself - I was pleasantly surprised by the space as I had enough room to run around, which was great for my particular show. As above, I think I would have benefited from an earlier time slot in the afternoon and a clearer USP for the show. A raised stage would have been good for me as I did a lot of stuff on the floor and generally threw myself about which not everyone was able to see - during shows that were pretty full, I saw people standing up at the back / on their chairs to see what was going on. But overall I was happy with the space even if I found the location a challenge.

- Buckets - donations varied but by in large when I did get audience in I found they were very generous, with quite a few single donations of around £5 - £10.

- Technical set-up at the venue - Lighting - see above entry re. performance space. We had to set up our own sound using a FF PA system. I got in earlier on the set-up day with my tech who sorted the sound set-up himself. We had a few issues with some of the equipment but this was fixed by my tech.

- Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you) - in general this worked and, as Venue Captain, I'd say some shows took more initiative than others. It was disappointing when some shows did not assist the Get In / Get Out but in the end they were not needed as it was all fairly straightforward and their absence did not have a negative impact. The communication with the venue was easy and the manager was helpful. Overall there was a good sense of cooperation between the venue, the Free Fringe and shows.
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