18:20 - Dan Simpson: Nerdsmith

18:20 - Dan Simpson: Nerdsmith

Postby Dan Simpson » 01 Sep 2015, 14:31

The Venue
Banquet Hall: a brilliant PBH Venue - especially for spoken word. This pub is certainly the spoken word hub of the Free Fringe, if not the Fringe itself. A legendary Edinburgh pub, with myriad rooms and a dark / metal sensibility. That said, it's hugely welcoming, largely due to the staff being incredibly friendly. The Banquet Hall is a cavern in the back of the pub, so can be tricky to find out of the three spaces the pub runs. The signs help, as does guiding people to the right spaces just before your show.

Performance area
40 capacity room with some space at the back / doorway for standing. Great little stage that can be adjusted or put to one side as needed. An excellent PA, and lights that can be adjusted or left on full wash.

Technical set-up
The Banshee are incredible - setting up and striking the PA and sound desk themselves daily. Very little for PBHers to do in initial set-up and packing away - though I always made a point of offering if needed. There is even semi-secure storage for larger props and equipment.

Some of the best staff for being generally welcoming and happy to have you and your audiences in their space. Most of them came to my show at some point, and they seem to be thrilled with us being there.

Advertisement / Marketing
I did not go in the big brochure. I think this affected reviews the most - I got just the one. Possibly lost some passing traffic from the Fringe app, which can be used by punters to find out what's on now and nearby based on time and their location. I doubt this would have been worth £300 in my bucket. I flyered every day, and mostly exit / entrance flyering similar shows (spoken word, geeky, science / rationalism) - this always feels more effective than generally flyering the Mile or anywhere else. I did lots of guest spots, which also brought people in. Put posters up in the venue mainly so people knew they were in the right place.

Audience / Bucket
Smallest audience = 10, biggest audience = 40 average audience = 22. Pretty pleased with this. Fridays and Saturdays were big audiences, mid-week a little slower. Friday and Saturday means people are more likely to be drunk - not a huge problem as I was finishing around 7.15pm, but I know later shows struggled at times. If you're on later than 7pm, you might want to consider asking someone to help manage the door / gently dissuade super-drunk and disruptive people from entering on Friday and Saturday nights. Bucket take was good, sold 70-odd copies of my book and even if people didn't buy it they gave money. Bucket average (minus book sales) seems up this year for me - around the £2.50 / head mark.

The Show Itself
This was a delight to perform - a set of stand-up poetry and spoken word, given a theatrical treatment with sound FX, music, props, and a flipchart. All linked by chat and jokes. One or two tougher shows - mainly due to small and tired audiences - and some really excellent ones.

Communications were great - felt I knew what was going on all the time. Huge thanks to PBH and Matt Panesh as Spoken Word Director. And to Chris Coltrane, fellow VC at Banshee - he was always tidying the piles of flyers, carting WBBs up, and just generally being a legend.
Dan Simpson
Posts: 7
Joined: September 2013

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