19:30 TIME SMASH! at the Wee Red Bar

19:30 TIME SMASH! at the Wee Red Bar

Postby hturnbull » 28 Aug 2014, 11:31

TIME SMASH! At the Wee Red Bar (19:30)

Let’s start with the good stuff:

This was the Wee Red Bar’s first year with the PBH Free Fringe. The performance space is great. It’s quite large, though the stage isn’t raised (but that doesn’t really matter). I’d compare the size of the stage to that of the Voodoo room’s Speakeasy. There were roughly 60 seats, though that hadn’t filled the room. If you packed the place, I reckon you could fit 90 or 100 seats (though that may be a fire hazard). There were also a row of seats flanking the stage on either side, but we ended up moving those so our chaps could “get offstage” as far as possible.

There’s a little tech box to the right of the stage area. From there you can control the lights. There are white, red and blue sets, all on sliders (our tech chap was chuffed). There’s also a music system, which we plugged an ipod into for some tunes before we started the show.

The manager, Colvin Cruickshank, was a delight to work with. We exchanged emails in the run up to the fringe to ask if we could have flyers delivered to the venue, which he was happy to receive. He also asked for a jpeg of the flyer to put on the Wee Red Bar’s website and facebook page, which was very nice. We asked Colvin if we could tuck our suitcase of hats away in the tech box, which he happily obliged too. We also gave him some posters to stick up around the venue, and he was always happy to supply us with Wee Blue Books when we asked for them. The doorman, whose name I forget, was a nice chap too, and was keen to ask when he should let in the audience. We said we didn’t have anything to set up, so we decided to send people in after Legion of Doom’s audience had come out. He also made a count of audience members.

Our get ins and get outs were pretty simple, and the show before (Legion of Doom) and after (Goodbear) were all great chaps.

Now for some slightly less good stuff:

The location of the Wee Red Bar is a bit far out. Anything further than Grassmarket is too far for some people. Even for people who were willing to go the distance, the venue is quite tucked away. We put a laminated poster on the corner of Lady Lawson street to guide people in, and another by the gates of the College of Art. Once in the college the venue isn’t immediately apparent as it was obscured by a pair of shipping containers. The main doors of the venue were boarded up, so the side entrance (fire exit) had been propped open, though it was hard to spot as it was by a mass of scaffolding. It all worked out in the end, as the main door was repaired for out 6th night of 7. Of course, all this could be temporary, so it may be much easier next year. Better signage with arrows and “Wee Red Bar over here” would have really helped, though it baffles me as to why none of our venue group thought of this at the time. Plan ahead for next year eh?

We weren’t aware that the bar is an 18+ only venue, and as our show is suitable for 14+ some of our audience were turned away. I probably should’ve asked when I was offered the venue, but it would be nice to be told it with the offer, as it’s something a first time Free Fringer might not think of asking.

Time for some numbers:

Our show ran for 7 nights from Sunday the 10th to Saturday the 16th.
Our average audience (counted by the very helpful doorman) was roughly 20-25. On the Wednesday (black Wednesday I heard someone call it) we dropped to about 12. Our largest night was the Saturday, with about 45. I think we had only hit our stride in terms of audience numbers on the Friday, so perhaps a longer run would be better to keep the momentum up.
On the bucket, we made roughly £350, though as a university troupe, it always helps that cast members parents come to the show and drop a £20 in.

All in all, we had a great first time with the PBH Free Fringe, and now we’ve got the hang of how things work, perhaps we’ll go for a two or even three week run next year (or the whole month, let’s go mad).

Harry Turnbull
Director of the Red Herrings
Posts: 1
Joined: August 2014

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