7:30-8:30 Jollyboat - Not Seen on TV

7:30-8:30 Jollyboat - Not Seen on TV

Postby tommyjollyboat » 17 Sep 2013, 15:38

THE VENUE

Beat (previously Base) is a large dark club venue situated right next to Underbelly on Cowgate. We've performed many many guest spots there between 2010 and 2012, and were very glad to put on our own show there in 2013. The staff are very friendly, going out of their way to help us, and the venue's central, easy to find, and offers an excellent performance space for larger crowds.

The one downside of this venue is that due to its size it's not at all intimate, so it can feel somewhat hollow even with a large crowd. If you've got less than 100 people in, seating them front centre is a must. Christian Schulte-Loh and David Mulholland improved the stage lighting and sound from previous years, which made a big difference, and helped this.


THE PERFORMANCE AREA

The stage is slightly raised and rounded, with a step all the way around. It's a really great stage with a lot of space, and at the perfect height so that you can be seen, but aren't towering over anyone.

There's no backstage, tho there is a side-of-stage which is enough. If you wanted to get changed (as an actor or burlesque dancer), you would change in the cloakroom or toilets, then make your way through the crowd from the back. The stage is big enough that you could bring a curtain rail and MAKE a backstage if required. People can sit to the extreme left of stage. As a visual show, we tended to move them somewhere more central, and when it was full enough that there was no more seated room.

The performance area IS the main bar, which means people either come in while you sound-check and set up, or you must rope off the front of the venue and ask them to form a queue. We mostly let them come in - it might undermine the magic of theatre, but the venue sold a LOT more drinks that way. It's worth noting that there's nowhere for people to wait while the previous show is on, except the corridor, which is narrow and will be used for the previous audience to file out. However there are bars next door on either side, one of which is under the same management as Base, so we sent people there if they didn't want to watch the end of the show before ours.


TEAM OF STAFF AT THE VENUE

Very helpful and lovely, as previously mentioned. Felt like friends.

We had some a laptop stolen from the storage cupboard there in 2010, but the security is much improved this year, with the storage cupboard locked, and an even more secure area available, to which only the manager has a key.


HOW YOU ADVERTISED YOU SHOW

Open spots in other shows and flyering mostly. We invited previous audiences back through Facebook. The Free Fringe programme was a big help as ever. We also had a banner outside, an online competition, and online adverts on Fringe Review and the British Comedy Guide.

Advertising was definitely our weak point - our flyer was so bad it actually turned people away. Next year we'll be putting a lot of money into promotion, and undoubtedly see bigger audiences.


HOW YOUR SHOWS WENT IN TERMS OF AUDIENCE NUMBERS

Most days we had 80 in, Friday/Saturday 110. Our lowest was on the second day (as ever), and was 35. Our highest was 150. Next year should pick up with better promotion.

One thing that was notable is that there was less variation - normally Monday and Tuesday are noticeably quieter, but less so this year. That might reflect the centrality of Cowgate. Being in a later slot, we had a few stag do's in - they all heckled and destabilised the show, all loved it, and were very generous at the end. If you don't enjoy drunken heckles as much as we do, you might want to be careful about taking later slots on Cowgate.


YOUR SHOW ITSELF

Musical comedy duo, with a lot of energy and visual elements. We dropped a few bits in previews, but the show changed little at the fringe, and merely accrued improvements. It was our best show yet.


BUCKETS

The best yet. I think a later timeslot helped us, since our previous shows have been at lunchtime. The smallest audience was by far the most generous per capita (£4.70 average), and as ever larger audiences give less, unless the show was very energetic. I think our parody of bucket speeches helps a lot.


TECHNICAL SET-UP AT THE VENUE

Excellent. The venue has a sound system behind the bar that's excellent for pre-show music, and the PA on stage had enough space for all our equipment. Free Fringe tech guy Alan Sharp worked hard to meet everyone's needs.

There's quite a lot of lock-up space available to store props etc., tho it is shared with cleaners and chairs for the venue.


ADMIN & COMMUNICATION PROCESS

Christian was an excellent venue captain, dealing with various troubles effortlessly. The venue manager and staff were awesome, as previously mentioned. The other performers were all lovely, there were no problems and I doubt there could have been. Great shows and great people.


ANY OTHER LEARNING POINTS FOR ANYONE INVOLVED

Nope, it all floats the Jollyboat.
tommyjollyboat
 
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