20:40 HOPE & GLORIA - French Quarter

20:40 HOPE & GLORIA - French Quarter

Postby Alex Maher » 08 Sep 2013, 12:00

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

The Voodoo Rooms is an upstairs venue. A lovely, quirky bar/ cabaret venue with a main bar at the top and three separate rooms hosting performances over two levels. It is located off Princes Street and seems to be popular and well known amongst locals. It seems to has a great reputation and it offers food, cocktails and lots of different options for entertainment.

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

The French Quarter seats approx. 60 and benefits from being a separate room with a closing door. It has it's own bar to the right of the stage and toilets at the back of the audience seating. The stage area is about 4/5metres wide by 1.5metres deep. The audience seating comes right up close. The venue is well equipped with PA and simple sound deck next to the stage (ie - on stage). Full blackout is not possible but there is a stage light and you can turn down the house lights to achieve a more theatrical staging. There is a staircase leading down to a fire exit which separates the front section of audience from the back but I didn't find this to be a problem.

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

I can't speak highly enough of the staff at the Voodoo Rooms. Without exception, they were great - friendly, helpful, supportive and never complaining. They made me feel welcome, they supported the shows and they were just lovely people. If you're looking for a venue that believes in the spirit of the Free Fringe and represents it as a brand of quality and professionalism, then The Voodoo Rooms is the place to go!

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

I had an ad in the main guide which I would do again. No one mentioned it to me but it means you appear on the app, audience members can post reviews and you know you're covered in some small way for those Fringe goers who don't know about the Free Fringe.

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

Average audience: 15-20. Lowest audience: 9. Biggest audience: 80+ (standing room only).
Sunday - Wednesday nights were consistently quieter than other nights. Thursdays were unpredictable - sometimes brilliant, sometimes woefully quiet. Friday and Saturday nights were busy and great fun. Obviously, the quieter the night, the more challenging the performance.

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

The show evolved a lot during the run. I had to cut an opening section involving some physical comedy with a box that just didn't work in the setting. I never quite managed to resolve this in Edinburgh and am currently rewriting for my London Showcase. My show is a character comedy piece, involving a lot of audience participation. 18 out of the 21 times, it worked well but I learned that one has to be careful when inviting audience to be involved - you have to have super-fine-tuned judgement to make sure it goes well. The show has now been shortlisted for Funny Women Awards 2013 Best Show so I am pleased with how it went overall.

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

Averaged out at around £40/ show, around £900 for 21 shows.

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

Very good. Room can get very hot and we did open some windows one evening. Maybe it would be good if (the performer) made sure the window was open before getting started if it seems the room will be hot. I would have loved it if there were an option for the person operating Sound Cues to sit somewhere less visible than at the side of the stage but on some occassions, I did my sound cues myself, so I can quite understand why this was the case.

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

James Ross was an excellent, supportive and efficient venue captain. No complaints and only praise on that front. I felt well informed and up-to-date at all times. One small mis-communication was that the Free Fringe instructed me my dates were 3rd-24th August and the venue were running till 25th August. This is perhaps just an anomoly but maybe worth confirming dates with both parties before producing flyers etc for next time...

- Any other learning points for anyone involved - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change?

Be wary of ordering flyers from Andi McCann in Kilmarnock and having them delivered to The Voodoo Rooms. The storage-space at the venue is very small and is used by all of the performers from all three spaces, hence, it is packed full to the point that things can be easily lost in there. Despite assurances from Cann Print, my flyers were nowhere to be seen on the day I arrived, he said he'd delivered them but he had no signature and I had to go and pay over the odds to get more flyers printed up to the first Wednesday of the Festival when Andi McCann delivered a second batch. I never got to the bottom of the matter as Andi said he delivered the first batch but to be on the safe side, next time, I would bring the flyers with me and I would do everything in my power to keep props etc.. to a minimum and store them somewhere else if at all possible. I think that would help everyone.

Also - I didn't book a single day off in the whole run. This was my biggest error. You definitely don't need to do every night. I was exhausted and on those Mondays and Tuesdays when I was performing to 9 people, I really did wonder what had possessed me...

OVERALL -

LOVE the Voodoo Rooms. Really grateful to them and highly recommend!!
Alex Maher
 
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Joined: September 2013

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