20:00 Dr. Professor Neal Portenza's Interactive Goat Hour

20:00 Dr. Professor Neal Portenza's Interactive Goat Hour

Postby nealportenza » 11 Sep 2013, 17:12

Overall Summary
The Free Fringe was an immense experience. IMMENSE. I was incredibly lucky as every show was completely packed out from the first show until the last, which was lovely.
Audiences were terrific and very generous with donations. It's an experience I'll not forget and one that I hope to build on. The venue and the staff at the Dram House were amazing. I was very lucky with an 8pm time slot and a terrific bunch of supportive lovely staff.

Venue - The Dram House Upstairs (Venue 299)
When I first got to The Dram House Upstairs, I was worried about the lack of curtain, speakers etc. The logistics and tech set up were rudimentary, but you have to adapt and make do. Here are some pros and cons:

-Venue staff were the best I've ever had. Truly wonderful, wonderful bunch of people who made the experience very memorable
-The venue has a great vibe, is easy to find and the size of the room is great for emerging performers
-Given there was a fair bit of tech in my show, the venue were very accommodating in terms of allowing me to create and stick up makeshift screens etc
-Plenty of space to put up posters etc. and none of my posters were ever torn down or postered over

-The small room (The Bothy Bar) was a bar, and the bar was in constant use (though I incorporated this into the show)
-The absolute biggest con, was that the Bothy Bar venue was a thoroughfare for another bigger room and the toilet. No room should be a thoroughfare to either a bar, toilet or another room. This should be an absolute blanket rule I think, and it was the one thing that made it difficult for people right down the back of my show (often there was standing room only) to truly enjoy the experience, though I did everything in my power to interact with them and include them in the show. I am lucky in the sense that I'm a very loud performer and am not afraid to incorporate spotaneous happenings into the action, but for set pieces, theatre, spoken word etc, a noisy thoroughfare type of room is not only not suitable, it makes the show almost entirely unworkable and unwatchable. I watched 2 other shows and had to sit down near the back of the room and could scarcely concentrate. My advice to organisers would be to gain as accurate an assessment as possible from the staff as to how much a particular room will suffer from noise-bleed or be used as a thoroughfare. If the answer is: "Yes, this is a thoroughfare", simply don't use the room. It's harsh, and it means there will be less space for performers, and perhaps some performers will miss out, but I think it's something that has a direct impact on the public's perception of the quality of the PBH Free Fringe. Despite the venue being free for performers and audiences alike, it is simply not worth performing in a room where the audience can't concentrate on the show. Sorry to get a bit ranty, but this is one area where there should be 0 compromise. Again, I was lucky because of my booming voice and the spontaneous/improvised nature of my show, but I know that other shows sufferred due to the foot traffic and immense noise bleed.
-The chairs from the previous show were set up in the non-standard direction and never returned to face the standard direction. I didn't mind, and got the audience to help, but I think if a show moves chairs/layout etc, they should move it back to the standard position

Despite the last ranty bit, my experience of the PBH Free Fringe was ovwerwhelmingly positive and awesome. Peter himself is a lovely, passionate, dedicated spokesman, who has made it possible for emerging and established performers alike to get a foot hold in a hyper-competitive Fringe environment, and for this, I am eternally grateful :) All I ever want is a willing, full room of people, and that's exactly what I got. That they were very generous with donations was a lovely bonus.

Thanks PBH Free Fringe!
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Joined: April 2013

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