Men With Coconuts and the Improvised Panto

Men With Coconuts and the Improvised Panto

Postby Harry Gooch » 12 Oct 2014, 12:24

This year we returned to Sportsters Nightclub for our second Fringe with Men With Coconuts at 3pm and a new experiment, the improvised Panto at 8pm. Our group is 6/7 strong so we were able to have a consistent presence on the Royal Mile flyering - 2 hours before each show up to 15 minutes prior to curtain up. The result was good houses from the start building to great ones for the last couple of weekends. The lowest number we had in was 20 for an early panto, and the highest over 200 for a Saturday MWC towards the end of the run. Buckets were healthy, with punters giving £2 each when averaged across the 23 days.
The tech spec of the venue is basic wash and blackout - which still seems disappointing when you look up at a rig of 100 lights, but then they're old and configured for a nightclub not a theatre. The venue provided Nigel, a helpful guy who was able to make some sense of the lights and get that basic wash and blackout together. The management were available and approachable, and seemed happy with the sales they were making from our fuller houses.
The bar staff were supportive. We would let them know a show had finished and they came as soon as possible to clear glasses and any spills etc ready for the next show. The issue of people coming and going behind the stage remains, and always will as the office is in frequent use. Foot traffic was kept to a minimum and staff were respectful of the show in progress. Its another reminder though that the space is not suited to 'serious' theatre as the atmosphere would be spoilt by this. Robust ensemble comedy fares well here though.
Worth noting the large stage and good amount of storage space would suit big casts and productions better than many venues.
Noise bleed even when a loud football match is on in the bar is not significant thanks to double doors. The smell from the Victorian sewers below was less of an issue this year. The aircon, whilst running, keeps the odour at bay - but the fans are noisy. We found that by reducing the setting of the fans to a lower setting we kept the smell out and noise level low enough to go unnoticed.
For groups serious about promoting their show this is an excellent room with a capacity of 200 (150 seated).
Harry Gooch
Posts: 2
Joined: September 2013

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