16:30 Payne killer (upstairs) 12th - 24th By The Uplifters

16:30 Payne killer (upstairs) 12th - 24th By The Uplifters

Postby theuplifters » 17 Oct 2013, 17:20

- The venue - what sort of venue is it? Pub, Bar, Club, Restaurant... What sort of clientèle normally frequent this venue

Picardy Place is a bright and nicely decorated bar/restaurant with a few rooms used as a hotel bedrooms on the top floor, of which there are 4. The ‘upstairs’ venue we used was on the first floor. I think the usual type of clientele would be more middle class as it is quite expensive and up market with classy décor, except for the lower ground where the ‘downstairs’ venue was, which was quite basic and not well maintained with the entrance being right next to the toilets. (We were glad not to have had this space to perform). Apparently they are planning to turn this into a coffee bar next year.

- The performance area - stage, separate room, open air?

We were very lucky to have this lovely function room to perform in, as it was an enclosed room, without any customers/staff/animals passing through during performances!! There was no stage area as such, apart from a single, small rostra which would have been ok for stand up, but all the shows ‘upstairs’ were plays. The rostra was sometimes used to put seating at the back to enable audiences to see better as there was some restricted views if too crowded. We had the ability to move the seating to suit, which worked well for us. We had a very large area at the back of the performance space to store set and costumes as well as a small “back stage” area that worked perfectly for our play. Both areas could have been kept neater and cleaner by other companies which was sometimes not the best.

- The team of staff at the venue - did they assist the shows? Did the show get in the way of the normal business etc?

Dean and Jonathan who had just taken over and refurbished the venue, didn’t realise that Fiddlers Elbow – as it was formally called – was planned to be used for the Edinburgh fringe, and coped brilliantly, and were very accommodating, helpful and friendly at all times. They helped with keeping the flyer area neat and tidy as possible and supplied a few boards for posters inside the reception area, but it would have been better to have more clear signage outside, as we didn’t have any warning of the venue name change and everyone had Fiddlers Elbow on their Flyers/posters and we were not able to put flyers on the tables outside either. Saying that, we loved the venue, and were very happy to have the opportunity to perform there.

- How you advertised your show - Fringe brochure, flyering, posters, word of mouth etc

Flyering, flyering, flyering!!! 4 of us about 2 - 3 hours a day. We mostly targeted the Royal Mile but for quality the half price ticket booth stating that ours was better than half price as it was free. We always handed out the PBH programme first asking if people knew about it and if not, we explained the ethos of PBH Free Fringe. Also asking why stand in a queues to pay for shows that they may not like, when they have a choice of over 300 free shows to see and usually can walk straight into? We never handed out flyers without talking to the public. The programme was great as it was chronological and easy to read. (Also our show was top of list for our time) Few posters – but most places wouldn’t allow them to be put up. We didn’t go in the big fringe programme to save ourselves money, and we think we made the right choice as there were no less audiences because of it. Found quite a lot came through word of mouth. But we got no reviews, which was a shame.

- How your shows went in terms of audience numbers - solid numbers every show? Did it vary by day? Affected by weather?

The audiences varied quite a lot, dependent on the week day and also the weather. The smallest audience was approx. 15, and other times there was standing room only with some seated on the floor, which is brilliant for Edinburgh!! Nearly every show ‘Upstairs’ was a well attended.

- Your show itself - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change

Our show worked really well in the space as it was set in a living room and the function room was very cosy and appropriate. The best we could hope for was a bit of a stage area to raise us up for optimum viewing for the audience. But the intimacy and close proximity of the audience really added to our psychological thriller – one woman was so shocked at one point, that she jumped and threw her drink over herself! 

- Buckets - we don't need accounts, but how were the donations to the buckets - bad, good, generous

We were very fortunate that the audiences that were small were more generous, so we did well by almost breaking even – a definite success by Edinburgh standards!! We were very happy. We had a good, well rehearsed bucket speech, which we felt gave an air of professionalism which definitely added to the collections. We saw so many good shows, which were let down by unprepared speeches.

- Technical set-up at the venue - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change

Technically it was very limited at the venue. We had a PA that worked ok mostly, but occasionally cut out, probably through overuse! There was no lighting to speak of except a dimmer switch on the side lamps. We brought a strong torch and used that with gels to create spotlights! Luckily my daughter and her friend came with us to control the techie stuff, which they did brilliantly. We had fun with some cardboard, gaffer, blue tac and a coat stand to reach the high ceiling to block out a random light as we needed a complete black out for one scene. There was a bit of a problem with the blacking out of windows and since we started on 14th August, we had to spend a lot of time making the venue useable. But considering it’s a free venue it was fantastic. We have no complaints at all.

- Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you) - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change

The communication with our wonderful venue captain Ashley Edwards was exceptional. He was so supportive and hands on at all times, attending many of the shows at our venue more than once. He saw ours 3 times! Mostly everything worked, it just would be great to have more blackout material for the windows. We have had experience of other Edinburgh venues in the past, free and paid alike, and found PBH to be the best by far. We would be more than happy to return next year if we are welcome to. We are so grateful and blessed to have been able to perform with PBH. Thank you.

Hilary Palmer & Rowan Dixon
The Uplifters.
Posts: 3
Joined: April 2013

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