18:15 Rory & Tim: On the House

18:15 Rory & Tim: On the House

Postby Rory OKeeffe » 16 Jan 2014, 14:21

- The venue – The Dram House was a great venue. centrally located, and with several different room all showing Free Fringe shows; once the banner was erected, it became something of a more central Voodoo Rooms, a kind of Free Fringe hub. It proved relatively easy to find but measures such as the banner, the chalk signposting on Guthrie Street, and the outside board listing all the shows, really helped improve its accessibility towards the end.

As others have mentioned, the lack of a communal bar space is perhaps one drawback.

- The performance area – We were in the 'Fantoosh', the room right at the top. It was quite a cavernous space for sketch comedy but it meant there was ample space to mark out a sort of stage area. There were around 40-50 seats and plenty of standing room. There wasn't too much in terms of lighting but again this was in keeping with the overall mood of the space. There was one bar at the back which was mostly quiet enough throughout, with one exception.

- The team of staff at the venue – The staff were very friendly and enthusiastic about our show. Many of them came to see it when not on shift or encouraged other staff members to see it/make sure they were on shift in the room. On one occasion, a staff member was being quite loud serving people during the show and even shouted out inappropriately during one of the sketches. We dealt with this in the manner of any heckler, though, so all was fine and this was certainly an exception to the rule. Probably worth mentioning here that Tim's bag was stolen from the staff room where many shows were keeping props/flyers. They were reasonably helpful in looking for it but ultimately it wasn't found so a more secure area would be needed.

Advertising We used the usual combination of Free Fringe brochure, main programme, and lots of flyering. Exit and entry flyering other Dram House shows worked well and, given the venue's location, you can flyer on both the Mile and Cowgate and be well positioned to direct people to the show. For the first time I can remember in the last five years, the Fringe people stopped us flyering in the main box office queue which is a shame, as that was always fruitful. As the month progressed, word of mouth helped and we had several people come who had been to see us in years before.

Poster wise, our posters were never delivered by Cann print and he didn't respond to our calls for a refund. We still have never been refunded and never got our posters. (We only ordered a few, however, as it never seemed to useful to put them up as other shows immediately invade and cover yours up)

- How your shows went in terms of audience numbers – The numbers were good; the seats were consistently full, perhaps one or two spares on the lowest days, then at peak times such as weekends we had a lot of people standing so probably were nearer to the 100 mark than 50.

- Your show itself – Our show worked well and we got lots of positive feedback. We managed to drag fewer reviewers in than last time but the responses were good.

- Buckets – The bucket takings were good, enough to cover a lot of our costs. We found it useful to devise humorous ways of asking for money to avoid any awkwardness. Sometimes mentioning a ballpark figure helped yield greater rewards, as well as having see-through containers to avoid those phantom foreign coin droppers.

- Technical set-up at the venue – We used our own speakers for tech but the PA system looked good and seemed to work for a lot of the other acts. In hindsight, we probably would have brought some of our own lights (like Paul F Taylor did in the slot after us) to give it more of a professional feel.

- Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you) – The communication was good, especially at dealing with the set up days when the venue was yet to officially open and none of the flyers had been delivered (because the venue had been shut for construction). Obviously this was a rare circumstance because the was being renovated especially but the communication was good between people throughout the day. Special thanks to Charles Booth, Venue Captain of The Attic who actually filled in during a couple of sketches one day when one of ours members was ill. The show must go on etc

- Any other learning points for anyone involved – I think ideally we would have liked one more team member to help directing people to the show and sorting our the props etc, as it's always a quick turn around getting in and out of the space (sometimes while audience members are queuing up or have already gone in to sit down before you're there. We do like this intimate feel of the Free Fringe but having an extra pair of hands might have helped us get focused before the show).

The queue was particularly hard to manage this year; as Total Hero Team have mentioned, the Free Footlights always had a large queue but no one there to manage it/answer their questions about the 'Free non ticketed' listing in the programme. Sometimes our audiences overlapped and I always had to check that our audience wasn't lost in their queue. I like the Free Footlights and sometimes if they spilled over, they kindly recommended people go up to our show if we had space. I think it's great to have such a popular show on the Free Fringe, but next year they should definitely check the average time their queue starts and have somebody there to help things go smoothly.

Overall, it was another great Free Fringe experience.
Rory OKeeffe
Posts: 6
Joined: March 2011

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