Off The Top Show Report

Off The Top Show Report

Postby BabaBrinkman » 03 Dec 2015, 22:45

As venue captain I was responsible for acting as a go-between for the acts and the venue, and this turned out to be a year that needed quite a bit of go-betweening. A few weeks prior to the fringe the venue pulled a last-minute change on us, unilaterally declaring that the orientation of the room would change and table service would be in effect during shows. This nearly caused a mass exodus of acts, but we managed to negotiate with the venue and receive assurances that food would in fact not be actively served during the shows, and as it turned out the new orientation was much better for connecting with audiences, even if it did lower the capacity by a dozen seats or so. Having performed in the same space in 2014 and 2015 I can definitely vouch for the superiority of the new room orientation, which really makes for the perfect intimate comedy venue at this point.

There was also an incident where one of the acts was discovered to be performing at one of the other free festivals, which is a violation of the ethos and conditions and meant the rest of his run with PBH was immediately cancelled, including the performance that was scheduled to start in less than two hours. I was busy with other things when word came through about this and had to drop everything to quickly notify both the venue staff and the act of the cancelation and make sure we didn't end up with a train wreck, but in the end there wasn't much fuss about it. Notice to future acts: don't do that!

Off The Top is a two person show, but the space wouldn't really fit shows with more in the cast without some difficulty. We were the opening act of the day each day, running from 12.10 to 1.05, which meant an easy get-in with an empty room pre-show. The sound system has some quirks and for future fringes I would recommend acts familiarize themselves with the sound board and also the amplifier in the back closet, since a few times the sound board overheated and once people thought it had overheated but actually one of the cable connections came uncoupled in the back closet.

I left the black backdrop cloth stashed in the upper corner of the closet at the end of the Fringe, since it is cut perfectly to block the mirror across the back of the stage, so that should save some trouble for next year.

Our show was at capacity about half the time and was over three quarters full the rest of the days with really only one slow day at half capacity, which made for a happy successful run all 'round. I kept a tally and our average bucket take per show was £155, although we spent about £30 per day to hire two flyerers to work the Mile for an hour before each show. The flyerers responded to an add on gumtree.com (along with about thirty others we could choose from) and they were professional and great to work with.

The staff at Canons' Gait are easygoing and our interactions were all positive, and I would definitely jump at the chance to perform there again.
BabaBrinkman
 
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