The Adventures of Nellie Bly

The Adventures of Nellie Bly

Postby smxl3371 » 18 Sep 2015, 12:26

I had a very good two week run at Cafe Camino with my solo show. My time slot (14:30) was perfect for my show. My audience numbers were between 20-40, and my bucket was excellent at the end of each show - my audience were generous with me. For the most part I had locals and people who had heard of Nellie Bly and were interested in the topic of the show. Some audience members were people I had flyered to.

Some other shows didn't have such a great time, and I think it is a mixture of the location of the venue and the kind of show/marketing.
This venue is excellent around lunch time, a LOT of locals go there, and word-of-mouth definitely seemed to happen for my show. It was much more quiet in the evenings.

Good points: Cafe Camino was a large space, great storage room, with natural lighting, the staff in the actual cafe were lovely and kind, our venue captain Shaun did an excellent job, there was a core group of shows who all worked together to put up fabrics and curtains. The fabrics were a good idea that not all the shows felt was necessary, but ultimately, they were useful for sound and in making the space seem smaller.

Other than the noise from the construction, I really felt lucky that I was able to use the space in Cafe Camino, and hope they carry on allowing the free fringe to use it. My set was large and this was the only space I could have had both storage and be able to wheel it from storage to the performance area. There are spaces people pay for that are not as good as this one, but of course - it's not a real theatre space and never will be. I really think the pros outway the cons and for a free venue, I really appreciated being able to use it.

Points to work on:
-The space could use a set of theatrical lights to give focus to the 'stage' area. Maybe an investment by the entire team.
-The space became very warm during the day and it was a week before we all caught on to the fact we could open the emergency doors to let in some air IN BETWEEN ACTS (health and safety said we couldnt' have them open during). Warm room means sleepy audience...
-In general, neither show that went before mine stayed to be my ushers. Actually, a lack of an usher is a problem - more than once I had families with little children walk in 5 minutes into the show, when I was not able to tell them the show for adults and 9+. Apparently they thought it was the magic show that was happening the week after mine! It was disruptive and distracting - could have been avoided if the shows before mine had stayed long enough to help and could have stopped them coming in.
- It would be better to have 20 minutes between shows rather than 15 minutes. Very stressful for the show after mine, though I hired someone to help me get-out (I had a 20 minute get-in, so didn't have the same issue).
- the space started to get a bit messy. Because of back-to-back shows, no one really had the chance to fix up the fabrics that had fallen down. In the future would be good to have a once-a-week 'clear up' schedule or something.

-It's not a place you can easily flyer around. People in that area are on their way to something, or shopping at John Lewis - I would flyer every day for 45 minutes in the Royal Mile and then walk over. I DID see people that I had flyered to attend my show, however, so they didn't mind the walk too much.

-People DO and WILL come into a show and walk out again. It is extremely distracting, but as it's free fringe, not much can be done. Also, with the natural lighting in the daytime, the performer sees everything that is happening in the room.
- There were three occasions when a local homeless person/ a local drunk, decided to come in. They were not sooo disruptive per se, but the Cafe didn't want them in, and there was a concern of theft. I don't know that anyone's stuff was actually stolen, but I had a bad experience with one man who snuck into the room between shows, waited til I was setting up and then begged money from me while I was alone - it made me feel very vulnerable. He left after I gave him a quid, and the Cafe banned him. As Cafe Camino is part of a church, people seek sanctuary there - and this is the side effect.

Cafe Camino is not central but it's also not too far. We had the bad luck of being there when they had closed down the road next to it and were doing LOUD construction during the day. I doubt this would happen again so wouldn't be as much an issue in 2016. You can hear noise from the kitchen, especially the smoothie machine.

Thanks again, PBH Free Fringe and Cafe Camino!

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