18:10 - Adam Strauss: Varieties of Religious Experience

18:10 - Adam Strauss: Varieties of Religious Experience

Postby adamstrauss » 26 Nov 2012, 07:15

- The venue - A friendly pub serving a diverse clientele (tourists, locals, students. pensioners, etc.)
- The performance area - A completely separate room in the back for the venue. Well, not completely separate: there is an open doorway. But with two thick curtains, noise bleed was typically not a problem.
- The team of staff at the venue - Absolutely wonderful. Despite the fact that they were often rather harried given how busy the place is, they never failed to be cheerful and accommodating. Truly one of the nicest things about this venue.
- How you advertised your show - I flyered (also hired a couple of people to help but their success was marginal) and was listed in both the big programme and Free Fringe Brouchure. By the second week, I started getting quite a few audience through word of mouth, and this increased steadily for the duration.
- How your shows went in terms of audience numbers - Usually packed. I figured out a configuration that could accommodate 45 (35 on chairs, 2 sitting on stairs, 8 standing); even so, I often needed to turn people away. I had a review in the Scotsman on the last morning, and I'd estimate that over 100 people showed up that day
- Your show itself - I certainly think there's room for improvement, but reviewers and audience alike seemed to enjoy it. Needless to say it got stronger over the duration of the festival, given the polishing that such repetition facilitates.
- Buckets - Far exceeded my expectations. I anticipated pocket change, but in reality a large portion of my expenses were defrayed.
- Technical set-up at the venue - I didn't use a mic so can't comment.
- Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you) - Kelly was absolutely wonderful, and as mentioned the venue staff were as well.
- Any other learning points for anyone involved - There are only two real drawback to this venue, and both can at least be partially addressed.

The first is that it takes a surprisingly (given it's small size) amount of time to turn over the room. There are two reasons for this. First, it is a very narrow, single file exit/entryway. I also did a show at whistlebinkies, and even though the capacity there was more than double the RMT, turnover was much quicker because people could exit/enter 3 or 4 abreast. Second, because the bar is busy, the staff don't have time to come in and clean up between shows, so it's left to performers. The solution is simple: have a 15 minute turnaround time instead of 10 minutes.

Second, the venue is quite hot. When the room isn't packed, it's bearable, but when you cram in 40-45 people, it's truly uncomfortable for performers and, more importantly, audience. I bought a fan, which definitely helped, but it wasn't enough. I don't think there's a complete solution here, but heat could be mitigated by getting the window behind the stage area open (it was stuck shut; were it opened you could presumably get some cross ventilation with the window at the back of the room, which did open) and investing in a second and possibly third fan.

But these are relatively small quibbles. The fact is this is a wonderful and intimate performance space, far superior in terms of playability to many paid venues. And the great staff make it even better. I will always remember this room with tremendous fondness, and be grateful to PBH and the rest of the Fringe crew for securing it (and giving me the chance to perform in it).
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