Sean Brightman's Holiday

Sean Brightman's Holiday

Postby MrSeanBrightman » 16 Sep 2013, 09:50

Venue: The Bristo Bar & Kitchen. The clue is in the name, it's a bar and kitchen.

Performance Space: 40 seats, the 'stage' was in the food service area, with a bannister creating a barrier between you and the audience. I didn't perform behind this. I tried to bring it forward to the audience. As it was storytelling based, I used a bar stool wherever possible. We also performed next to the bar, which was very noisy (even the soft drink dispenser was set to 'stun'). Then the food service area was directly behind the audience. The irony of this place was, the more people in it, the more difficult it was to perform on most days. Despite my timeslot being virtually unworkable with my other show (that one finished at 3.30pm, this one started at 4.15pm), I guess I should count my blessings, as the later the day went, the more difficult it seemed to be to play.

Venue Staff: The management and team at the venue were second-to-none and couldn't do enough to try and help. They wanted it to work, even if the venue was at times unworkable.

How you advertised your show: This show was in the free fringe brochure, on event websites and flyered. The fact that this show started 45 minutes after my other show finished hamstrung me somewhat and prevented me getting a decent audience (i.e. I had 20 minutes to flyer, had to pay two flyerers to stand a chance of getting people in, but then wouldn't make enough in the bucket to pay for the flyerers).

Audience Numbers: Lowest was two (sat round a table and did the show), highest 36. Two days were cancelled due to no audience, including the final Saturday. After week two, I gave up paying for flyerers. Audience numbers dropped off significantly. It's a difficult room to get people in to with only twenty minutes flyering time. Especially when the 'big four' venues take up most of the footfall.

Show itself: the idea of this show was to experiment and learn how to put together a coherent hour. I believe I'm a richer performer for the experience, even though I am much poorer in pocket. I would rather have been able to work on my show at times, rather than learning how to work a difficult situation.

Buckets: Some days nothing, the highest was around £40. Average of about £5-7.

Technical set up: very basic. We were told that the sound could go through the main PA system of the restaurant, but I don't think this was actualised.

Admin: I'm quite frustrated at the Free Fringe over this. When the show offers were made, I replied with my thoughts, saying that having the two shows so close together would be unworkable and that I was happy with the Dram House as a venue at 2.30pm for our first show. I was then sent an e-mail back saying that 8pm was available at the Bristo Bar and Kitchen. I replied, saying that this would be better, heard nothing back, presuming (wrongly) that this would be my show time. As the fringe neared, I e-mailled to double-check and was told that actually the 8pm slot had gone to someone else and that I had been left in the same position! In hindsight, I was probably lucky, having heard what Mary experienced. I have offered the Free Fringe my services as a designer for the last four years for free (which actually costs me a lot of money in lost client work at that time) and I'm not saying that it should give me the pick of the venues, but I should at least have a fair shot, if I ask for a venue change due to being offered two timeslots too close together.

Other Points: I learned how to deal with heckling from coffee and ice machines. There was also an open door to the right of the performance area that more often than not people would run out of straight after the show.

Overview: This venue after 3pm should be used as a music venue, not for comedy. All venues are not created equal.
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Sean Brightman loves comedy
Http://www.welovecomedy.info
MrSeanBrightman
 
Posts: 9
Joined: January 2010
Location: London

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