14:50 Around The World in 8 Mistakes

14:50 Around The World in 8 Mistakes

Postby Sophia Walker » 16 Sep 2013, 08:13

Around The World in 8 Mistakes
August 5th to 23rd, Royal Oak

The performance room itself is a downstairs room below this folk pub. The pub itself is very central, hugely easy to direct people from the Royal Mile (this proved invaluable when flyering). The pub staff could not have been more accomodating, more helpful or more friendly. This was my third year doing a fringe show and I've never encountered such support from the venue staff before, it was lovely.

The room itself is fairly small. For my show, this worked perfectly. It is possible to fit 35 people in the room. As soon as you have more than that, it becomes standing room only. You can, at an absolute push, have 42 in the room, but a few of those will effectively be standing in a corridor. For smaller shows like mine, this is a god-send. You can make the room feel relatively full with about 25 in, and with only 13 in it doesn't feel empty. The space wouldn't work for a show with a lot of staging, but is ideal for any spoken word show with one or two people. If you need more than two people on 'stage' at once, you might struggle for floor space.

There is no tech available. This, again for spoken word shows, I found an asset. My show worked really, really well in this environment, but wouldn't have been as successful somewhere like the Banshee. If you have a show that is effectively a bit more conversational in style, this is the ideal venue. The lack of tech and cosy pub-basement feel lowers the audience's expectations and means that a more conversational, smaller show is perfectly fitting in the space.

In terms of numbers...my show was packed out most days. In terms of donations I made decent money (well, decent for the fringe). For publicity I was in the free fringe brochure and I flyered. I was also hugely fortunate with good word of mouth, almost from day one. I think the @pbhspokenword twitter account helped all of us, especially with all the retweeting. I felt that there was significantly more word of mouth happening around spoken word shows in general this year, both from us as performers and from crowds. I found the fringe in general to be much, much more receptive to spoken word shows this year. So free fringe guide and flyers...That was the only publicity I personally went after. However, I was one of The List's spoken word picks and it is clear that this was a massive boost on the promotional front. I do think that getting yourself into as many other people's shows as you can is very necessary for the Royal Oak. I've been in the Banshee in previous years; that venue affords the ability to scoop decent audiences from the bar in the five minutes before your show. This is not the case with The Royal Oak where, during daytime shows at least, the bar is typically empty. As a result, you do have to target audiences at other venues, whether that be shows you do or exit-flyering. You also have to spend longer hours flyering. Great audiences are possible at The Royal Oak, but you do have to bring them in yourself.

In general, I don't have a bad word to say about The Royal Oak. I was hugely impressed, and couldn't have hand-picked a better spoken word venue myself. We can only hope they have us back next year!
Sophia Walker
 
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Joined: September 2013

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