Magic Faraway Cabaret

Magic Faraway Cabaret

Postby Luke Meredith » 16 Sep 2013, 15:49

- The venue - what sort of venue is it? Pub, Bar, Club, Restaurant... What sort of clientèle normally frequent this venue
An upmarket cocktail bar that also serves food. It has a reputation as a performance venue year round, mostly music and cabaret acts. This has significant benefits for shows, including the staff's expertise and willingness to help; the predisposition of their regular clientèle to come to shows; and the general layout of the place with the bouncers being terrifically helpful in organising the queues. It's tucked away behind Princes Street near North bridge and doesn't have passing trade but it is a destination venue and Edinburgh people generally know where it is.
- The performance area - stage, separate room, open air?
We were in the Speakeasy, which is a separate room seating about 80. Booths around the edge with fixed tables and about 8 rows of 8 with an aisle down the middle. there's a bar at the back and quite a bit of standing room. The stage is just over a foot high x depth 7' x length 17'. There's a covered pool table stage left with steps up stage right. The curtains at the back of the stage can part in the centre to reveal a full length mirror. Toilets are as you enter the space before going down the stairs and we were able to use one of them as a changing room as there are main toilets in the venue as well.
- The team of staff at the venue - did they assist the shows? Did the show get in the way of the normal business etc?
The staff at the Voodoo Rooms are just brilliant. Every single one of them was on side. Putting on shows and serving drinks and food pretty much is their business, and I believe their takings were up on 2012.
- How you advertised your show - Fringe brochure, flyering, posters, word of mouth etc
We were in the main brochure and the PBH brochure. I cross-promoted through my other show Knees-Up Round the Organ, as well as guest spots every night at other bigger shows like Best of Burlesque, Newtown Bar's Waverley Trust shows and Another F*cking Variety Show. We flyered for the half-hour before the show outside the venue and double-sided my flyers with my other show, making them leaflet quality (so no VAT) and A5 to fit all the information. The only posters I put up were in the Voodoo Rooms and Tron Kirk, which seemed to be enough. It is also possible to go into the main bar and let customers know your show is about to start, although obviously leave the diners alone. As long as you don't hard sell them, you will definitely pick up a few curious members of audience.
- How your shows went in terms of audience numbers - solid numbers every show? Did it vary by day? Affected by weather?
We were packed with standing room only every single day. This was our third Fringe and we've picked up a following so barely had to do any promotion. Particularly rammed at weekends.
- Your show itself - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
The last couple of years we alternated hosts, but this year we had just one which worked pretty well. There were fewer quality burlesquers up this year so we had more variety. We've also figured out which stand-ups work at our night and how to programme it more consistently.
- Buckets - we don't need accounts, but how were the donations to the buckets - bad, good, generous
Varied quite a bit, as is the tendency with a variable bill show, but generally evened out. A few shows took the last day off and I would strongly advise against this as it was easily our best day. Between my two shows this year I turned a profit so pretty good all round.
- Technical set-up at the venue - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
This room has a permanent technical set-up which includes a PA with 2 CD decks, a DI and an iPlayer/laptop input, wall mounted speakers, 2 mics and 2 upright stands. It has four lighting channels to allow mood changes and blackouts, plus a built in projector and screen. The tech box is right next to the stage in a booth so very easy to communicate during the show. All worked fine apart from one day when one of the speakers went, but John the manager was right on it and fixed it during the show.
- Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you) - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
Glasses have to be cleared from the floor between shows, which often held up the audience being allowed in. It would greatly help changeovers if everybody would ask their audience to return glasses to the bar at the end. Also some days the space was empty without days off advertised, especially on the last Sunday. These could easily have been filled if we'd known about them so please, please, check whether your show is advertised as being on in the PBH brochure and if it is, either do your show or make sure the slot is filled.
- Any other learning points for anyone involved - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
As has been pointed out before, while very grateful for the storage cupboard, it gets very cramped and chaotic during the run. Extra shelving for the flyers would be helpful and something to bear in mind for next year. Generally, the Voodoo Rooms is a superb venue, allowing lots of promotion, great tech, super helpful and friendly staff and with a good reputation for quality shows.
Luke Meredith
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Posts: 17
Joined: June 2010

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