Banqueting Hall - 13:40, Can't Care, Won't Care

Banqueting Hall - 13:40, Can't Care, Won't Care

Postby Sophia Walker » 02 Sep 2015, 09:49

There's a reason the Banqueting Hall is the most coveted venue for all us spoken word lot: the venue staff are incredible to work with, so kind, so imaginative and so up for really pushing the boat out and backing us. There's now a sound link (and will be a tv link next year) into the Cave Bar for the likes of Rob and Harry who ram out their rooms daily. The Banshee just seems to really back spoken word, and really support us. Plus they're seriously good fun, so that's a massive bonus.

My buckets were fab, my audience sizes were fab, I think being in the Banshee with a spoken word show makes it far easier to achieve success. It's our flagship venue, and I wouldn't be surprised if just the act of being in that venue itself boosted audience numbers. For the Banqueting Hall, you can get about 45 in before they're standing at the back. Once you get six standing in the back, it cuts the air off to the room and gets super hot. I'd imagine it also breaks the fire-code. But this won't be a problem next year, what with the fab tv link! But I'm not Rob Auton, so it's not like any kind of tv link is really necessary in my world. But, come on, how cool?!

In case you don't know the Banqueting Hall: there are no doors, and it is sandwiched between two bars. Do with that what you will. If you're performing after half five, it'll be loud. If you're performing right before one of our big stars, it will be loud. But if you know in advance, it's easier to deal with. Also, the sound funnels through the door straight to you: it will be far louder for you than any of your audience. As long as you don't get thrown off, it's fine. It will sound so loud and so awful to you, but the noise is not as transient for your audiences, so don't worry!

Be aware if you have a slot any time between 12 and half 2 that at least one day a week there will be barrels rolling through the hallway during your show. They do everything they can to keep the noise down, and they even warn you in advance, but it's a weekly event and it's disruptive. This is the free fringe though, so just work out in advance how you're going to deal with that and view it as an interesting challenge.

I would say we really need to do more to ensure that people before and after your show in this venue are doing what is asked. No one in the venue anywhere near my timeslot was on the front door directing people, which I thought was something we were supposed to do. There are maps, now, because the venue staff are fantastic. But it's still a labyrinth and we really do need to take turns being at the front door and directing people. If we're going to be standing there for the last 10 mins before our shows trying to grab more folk in, we might as well. I think this was true of all of us, but we weren't really policing each other's audiences either. We weren't helping each other out. I think the Banshee is so established that those of us in there maybe spend less time reading through the responsibilities and expectations than we should. Nothing was intentional, everyone in that venue was professional and a pleasure to work with. I genuinely think we've just all been doing the free fringe for too many years and forget some of the things we are expected to do. So we could all do more on that front. Every single day, without fail, the end of my show was ruined by the next audience congregating outside and being intolerably loud. I ended up having to pay a friend to come to my show whenever she could and sit in the back to keep them quiet. This was not the fault of the person in the show after mine, at all. I did not do an hour long show. I did 48 minutes. 15 minutes before their show, they were always there as they were supposed to be, and always helpful. They did everything they could, and were so kind about it. My show was just only 48 minutes long, and the audience for the next show would appear from about 30 minutes before. I ended up having to cut some of my show to make it even shorter in an attempt to beat the crowd, it really did destroy my show (which has a very intense but quiet ending) most days. This is my responsibility, not anyone else's. I would just say that if you are preceding a star, maybe pay your flyerer extra money to be in the corridor for the end of your show and make sure you can actually a)be heard by your audience and b)hear yourself think.

TL;DR: Banshee's amazing, if you get in here, count yourself seriously lucky. Know that at certain times of day, and if your show precedes certain stars, your show will be intolerably loud. Budget to pay someone to shut people in the corridor up, one thing that was not done this year was the policing of audiences. I'm not sure if it's possible to have a serious show if you're before a star. Maybe we should just keep it to sets or cabaret stuff.
Sophia Walker
Posts: 5
Joined: September 2013

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