Lower Floor 2 - 3pm - Aaaaaaaaaargh! It's the We Didn't R...

Lower Floor 2 - 3pm - Aaaaaaaaaargh! It's the We Didn't R...

Postby tommyjollyboat » 17 Sep 2013, 16:15


The Venue

Cowgatehead was a new venue constructed from Library archive space. It was an excellent large warehouse-like building, with performance spaces constructed with partition walls. The conversion work happened in the 2 weeks before the fringe, and was still being done during our get-in. This is not a criticism, it was quickly and expertly done.

There was still significant work for the performers to do, we spent a day cleaning our space, which was very dusty. This done, it was wonderful. Felt a bit warehouse-like, but provided 4 awesome spaces.

Lower 2 had a capacity of 30 people. One of the Upper floor spaces was larger, perhaps 45.

The Performance Area

4 rooms, 2 upstairs, 2 downstairs, with shallow alcoves down the side. The stages were slightly raised (height of a palatte), constructed from wood and chipboard.

The Team Of Staff At The Venue

Bar staff were all friendly, tho the bars (which were specially constructed for the Fringe) did not do well. After a few days, the downstairs bar was left empty.

The venue was run by people next door at the Cowbarn, who essentially provided us with a great space and didn't interfere after that.

How You Advertised Your Show

The Free Fringe Brochure was essential to Cowgatehead shows. None were listed in the Fringe brochure, due to the lateness of the space becoming available. Word of mouth and flyering carried the day, and flyerers for the most part were very helpful about advertising oneanother's shows. The few days we couldn't flyer due to other shows clashing, we still pulled a reasonable crowd from word of mouth and the FF brochure.

The venue suffered from being unknown, unadvertised and nondescript. Some very large banners did little to help, due to being too large. Some never went up (because there was nowhere legal to put them up), and were a waste of money. PBH intervened and put some red pin-boards either side of the door, which helped enormously. Having a board of flyers outside a venue really helps to establish its presence.

How Your Shows Went In Terms Of Audience Numbers

Variable. It was never empty, and mostly full. On weekends it was packed, with people standing at the back.

Your Show Itself

The show worked very well. It took a little adapting, with running order etc. changing day on day.


Reasonable, as expected. We had an amusing bucket pitch routine at the end, and an overall decent standard of act.

Technical Set-Up At The Venue

We performed acoustically for the most part, although there was a PA provided by the Free Fringe.

Lighting was a little random, with a choice of various configurations of house lights. Different shows came up with different hacks to solve the problem (removing bulbs, turning on fluorescent tubes towards the front, etc). In the 2nd week only, a university group brought spotlights, which was excellent, but the rest of the time, bare house-lighting was adequate.

We constructed a small backstage area, in an alcove off stage. This worked well.

Admin & Communication Process (Between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues And You)

Venue Captain Fleur Alexander was wonderful, and put in a LOT of effort when others didn't. Some shows didn't pitch in with work, but many did. I suspect this is because a lot of people are new to the Free Fringe and have no investment in it.

The venue staff were distant, but helpful at the right times.

The Free Fringe was good at responding to problems, but perhaps divided.

Any Other Learning Points For Anyone Involved

Improving the front of venue is as important as improving the performance space. The boards of flyers outside Cowgatehead and also the Dram House/Wilkie House are a very useful advertising tool for everyone.

The collaboration of performers within their venue group is very important.
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