Postby tom baker » 16 Sep 2013, 15:00

The Southsider is a pub and at the time our show was on it was mainly older gentlemen that were present. A couple came along to our show and seemed to enjoy it.

The performance area is not really a stage, just an area at the end of the seating, just like many Open Mic nights are run in rooms of pubs. There isn't any sort of lighting other than the house lights which only give the option of on/off or a strange downlighting effect.

Our audiences varied wildly from 3 to having to turn people away (max was about 30). We're still not sure what the factors were as it didn't seem to follow much of a pattern or reflect how hard we had flyered. We were flyering on the Royal Mile mostly and then flyered closer to the venue nearer to showtime.

It was initially exciting getting larger audiences when they turned up but this didn't necessarily turn into a better show - the more people that were in the room, the hotter it got. We think this had a hugely detrimental impact on people's ability to enjoy the show as they got uncomfortably warm. Also the noise drifting in from the pub meant that the last couple of rows at the back in the room had that distracting them. We didn't want to use the polystyrene board to keep noise out as it would have made the room even hotter. Some of our better shows had only a half full room so it was cooler and they could all definitely hear.

For me, for this room to honestly work well for any show it needs at the very least solutions to the heat and noise problems. I know this is the free fringe and there are probably much worse rooms than this in Edinburgh, but people need to be able to feel comfortable and to be able to hear otherwise it's always going to be a bit awkward with both audience and performer cheated of what could have been a much more positive experience.

We advertised the show on the fringe website and flyering. We were too late to get in the hard copy fringe brochure. We also tried sending out a press release but I think we did this too late.

Our show worked when the audience were on board and were willing to make some noise, but when for whatever reason they decided to be completely mute it was fairly disastrous. One of our best gigs was to 5 people who were all on board with the show, one of our worst was to a full room who were terrified to make a sound with some people clearly pissing themselves but not willing to actually make any noise. This made it quite tricky to work out what genuinely 'worked' and what didn't as there was rarely any consistency.

Admin-wise everything worked well, Richard did a sterling job of being captain and you can't fault any of the organisation from him or the Free Fringe. The staff at the venue were perfectly nice, didn't have any problems there.
tom baker
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