13:20 Sam Brady: Kindness

13:20 Sam Brady: Kindness

Postby sambrady » 27 Sep 2013, 13:57

Nathaniel Metcalfe was so spot on that I have shamelessly copied and pasted some bits of this from his report. :)

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. It's also located very handily on a side street that joins Cowgate the Royal Mile - two of the busiest streets in town and prime flyering territory. One thing you do have to be careful of is that things can go missing if left at the venue. Usually it is just because stuff gets moved around and so you turn up and spend ages looking for props/posters etc. It's largely unavoidable with lots of people coming and going and restricted storage space. So the best thing is to be careful what you leave at the venue and leave yourself enough time to find things in case they are not where you expected them to be.

THE PERFORMANCE AREA (in room 2) is similar to 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. It's part of the Free Fringe ethos that this kind of thing is done by the performers on basis (though some performers are more conscientious about this than others.) It also meant that the numbers of chairs put out were often slightly different depending on who put them out.

There’s a considerable sound bleed between rooms 1 and 2. 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. Sound was still disruptive though, particularly if the act next door was a musical acts or if it was a show case with the audience repeatedly cheering people onto and off of the stage.

I had really bad problems a few days with drilling noise coming in from the venue next door. This was due to building work in the adjacent building. This caused severe problems for a number of us and was mentioned in reviews - embarrassing for us and the venue. The venue were very helpful and supported us in negotiating with the neighbours, and after that it wasn't too bad.

The building work was due to be finished in September so hopefully that won’t be an issue next year.

The room 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 advantage over many of the paid venues.

One potential problem is that the two rooms share a common entrance area and people often get confused and walk into the wrong room. This is not only galling for the performer who lost the people, but is disruptive if those people then get up and walk out half way through a show when they realise they are in the wrong place. This can be solved by co-operation between performers to guide people to the show they want (without trying to nick punters). This year, this worked well for me as my fellow performers were brilliantly co-operative. But it's not always the case - I recommend you tackle this early and team up with other acts to usher people.

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. Two of us flyered for just 1 hour before my show everyday. We would have done more but we were full nearly every day so there wasn't much point.

AUDIENCE NUMBERS. Very good. I regularly packed out the room completely, sometimes having to turn people away. Fridays through Monday were always very busy. Mid-week were the quietest shows. My smallest audience was about 20 I think.

BUCKETS were good. I averaged about £70 a day. Rather than a bucket speech, I threw in a funny line about the bucket donation - making them laugh seemed to soften the blow of "begging". The donation per person wasn't that great but I think a lot of people this year were just skint - the bucket was particularly low when there were a lot of young people in.

TECHNICAL SET-UP AT THE VENUE was good. They certainly have everything you could possibly need to put on a stand up show. But in future I will have a tech operating the sound desk to take that pressure off me - 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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