Sofie Hagen: Bubblewrap

Sofie Hagen: Bubblewrap

Postby sofiehagen » 27 Nov 2015, 00:17

(Sorry for the lateness of this post, I thought I had to wait for a registration-email which never came - then I tried just logging in and it worked and now I feel stupid. Anyways, here it is, it's been sitting with me for a while)

The venue: The Liquid Room Annexe (Extra)

The performance area: It’s a rock venue - bands like Rage Against The Machines have played there. That doesn’t matter, though. The performance space was curtained off and they built a smaller stage in front of the huge one, so it quickly felt like a very intimate room. I had about 100+ people in, on average, a day. When we ran out of chairs, people could go upstairs and stand on the balcony and watch. They seemed to be okay with this. The room was air-conditioned, even though the air-condition made some noise - it didn’t seem to bother people who used microphones, but if you are doing it without, then it may annoy you. The light worked fine - apart from a few times where a particular lamp turned on and off. There is a bar at the back of the venue, but it was rarely open during the show - there was a beer garden that was open though. There is a ‘hole’ under the stage in which we could keep our stuff; props and the like.

The team of staff at the venue: I cannot recommend the staff enough. They helped out in any way they could and were kind and supportive of the whole festival. It took a few days, naturally, for everyone to understand how we’d go about using Liquid Rooms as a festival venue, but then everything ran smoothly.

How you advertised your show: My show was in the PBH brochure and the main fringe programme. I had posters all over town, in coffee shops etc, I had 1-3 flyerers all usually standing on Cowgate. I flyered, especially after having done other gigs. I had a lovely PR agent who got me interviews with radio shows and in magazines. And I tweeted and Facebook’ed a lot. I had a producer and director who helped me as well, the magnificent Dec Munro.

How your shows went in terms of audience numbers: I had decent numbers most days. I never went below 70, I think. I was lucky to fill it a lot of the days, which was 100+, but I never counted.

Your show itself: It’s mostly straight stand-up, with a bit of reading-from-a-book. I only had walk-on and walk-off music, which I’d control myself from a table on stage. I previewed it lots in June and July, so it was very polished and ready for the fringe’s start. I was really happy doing the show and I was happy to do it in the Liquid Rooms. It was on at 7.10pm. I had someone helping me (either a guy named Jack or my director/producer Dec Munro) set up the venue, get people queueing, make sure there were enough chairs, hold people back when we needed to check if there was enough room for them - and afterwards set up the room for the next show while I was standing with the bucket at the door. I can't see how I could have done it without them - but I think it was down to the vast amount of people coming to the show, it would've been easier to handle if I'd had 30 in.

Buckets: Once I found out how to do the bucket speech, I was very happy with the buckets. If you have people on the balcony, you have to run all the way outside to collect money in the bucket, so you don’t miss some people’s donations.

Technical set-up at the venue: Microphones, microphone-stands, a cable thingie for ipod/ipad, basic lights, basic sound.

Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you): I always felt like I could contact anyone if I had any inquiries. Jon from Liquid Rooms was brilliant and helpful and Miranda Kane was, as always, a hero. I felt like I got all the information I needed from Paul B Edwards and PBH.

Any other learning points for anyone involved: I agree with everything Miranda Kane has said about the venue. Towards the end of the run, I felt like we had most of it figured out - how people could find the venue and how people could be guided to the rooms. I specifically agree about naming the rooms something, so it’s easier to locate them, as for example, “Annexe Basement”.

There also seemed to be a bit of.. hostility?... with the next-door venue. A person from overthere came onto our "turf" to try and flyer me and said something along the lines of, "The good shows are overthere" and I shouted at him profusely. I don't think he did that again, he looked genuinely petrified. But it did seem a bit stupid when they started to tie a balloon-thingie to our fence. I don't think anything *actually* bad happened from all of that, but it might be good to get some kind of ground-rules down and make sure our advertising kicks their ass.

In general, I was very happy and proud to be part of PBH in 2015. PBH was nothing but accommodating and lovely, especially towards the end when I thought I needed to do extra shows. I would love to come back and do Liquid Rooms Annexe Extra again in 2016, so I completely vouch for it. And continue on being part of PBH and feel part of a community. I feel like I’ve had a good 2015 run where I learned so much about “how to do” the free fringe, which I couldn’t have learned from reading about it. Next year will be even better.
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