14.35 Nathaniel Metcalfe: Enthusiast

14.35 Nathaniel Metcalfe: Enthusiast

Postby nathanielmetcalfe » 13 Sep 2013, 18:30

THE VENUE is really nice cafe/bar/nightclub, very well known to locals. Unlike a lot of Free Fringe venues it also allows under 18s which opens it up to larger audiences. I was unaware of this before the Fringe and so listed the show as 18+ which I wouldn’t have, had I known.

THE PERFORMANCE AREA (in room 2) is not unlike the venues you’d find at the caves or the Underbelly and looks terrific. It seats up to 53 people (more if some stand). The chairs in both venues have to be put out and put back every morning and evening as well as being cable-tied together each morning. This meant that the numbers of chairs put out were often slightly different depending on configuration. There’s a considerable sound bleed from room 1 (and presumably vice versa). We used a thick duvet as a curtain which not only meant we didn’t open on to the bar (closed during performances) but also presumably reduced the sound bleed. I was lucky enough to be performing my show opposite Dec Munro & Mark Dean Quinn’s mixed bill show (in room 1) which meant we could discuss any sound related issues between us and sort them out. The biggest sound bleed tended to be caused by musical acts but most straight stand ups made no noticable noise whatsoever. I had a nightmare for a few days with drilling noise coming in from the venue next door. It was so loud one day that I had to abandon the show half way through which was embaraassing and infuriating. This was due to building work in the adjacent building. Between us and the venue we got them to stop when performances were happening, or at least to drill on another wall (which was still audible but mch less so). The building work was due to be finished in September so hopefully that won’t be an issue next year, but even though it was playable in all but one afternoon for me, it was the first thing mentioned in a couple or my reviews, suggesting it was an issue for audiences too. The room also has the advantage of being air conditioned, to the point where your audiences are likely to be too cold than too hot. This can be altered everyday depending on temperature. It’s a real adventage over many of the paid venues.

THE STAFF AT THE VENUE were brilliant especially Jen and Michael. Very supportive and couldn’t be more helpful.

I ADVERTISED MY SHOW by listing it in the Fringe Brochure, flyered for 2 hours before my show everyday, as well as paying a flyerer to do the same. I also had a PR who got me reviews, including getting me on a couple of “recommended” lists before the Fringe. After a week or so, I asked audiences to spread the word if they liked it. I regretted not doing this throughout the run. The Free Fringe guide is also indespensible.

AUDIENCE NUMBERS. Very good. I regularly packed out the room completely, often having to turn people away. Fridays through Monday were always very busy. Mid-week were the quietest shows. My smallest audience was 18.

BUCKETS were good. I made over £100 some days. However that’s only £2 a person on average. I’m sure a bucket speech would help with buckets, if you can bare to. I was a bit squeemish about it and asked audeinces to donate if they felt it was worth anything.

TECHNICAL SET-UP AT THE VENUE was very good. They certainly have everything you could possibly need to put on a stand up show. I had a tech operating the sound desk and if I hadn’t I might have struggled though. The levels varied day to day, and various wires and mics and things would often go walkabout between days. I recommend you get some tech knowledge.

ADMIN & COMMUNICATION BETWEEN FREE FRINGE, CAPTAINS & VENUES worked very well. Our venue captain, Alastair Clark did a great job. It really does require all of the performers to chip in to make it work, and if you’re not willing to do that, then you probably shouldn’t be doing the Free Fringe.
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Joined: March 2009
Location: London

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