Mambalsa- One Man’s Quest .... at Pilgrim

Mambalsa- One Man’s Quest .... at Pilgrim

Postby Alastair Sadler » 02 Sep 2015, 17:52

Mambalsa- One Man’s Quest to Create a New Partner Dance - show 436 at Pilgrim Cowgate.
The Venue:
Pilgrim takes it name from the exterior which is grim and at the items being popped by the stag parties! In fairness they only drank, and drank and drank!
This venue has problems all of which are solvable for next year.

Location: Robertson’s close which no one has heard of is actually the slope that runs from Drummond St down to Cowgate. It’s on Cowgate! In fact it’s the first venue on Cowgate, which sounds a lot better than Robbertson’s close.

The exterior looks like a room above an underground car park because it is a room above an underground car park. Pebbledashed walls with the word ‘Kill’ graffitied in blue spray paint under a trenty quote in Neon saying ‘All who wander are not lost” Better to say ‘This is a bar! and Southbridge is up this slope’ My point is better signage please! If not by the venue then gain permission for large boards/ banners promoting the shows at the venue.

The bar is an awkward shape with a bar in the middle of a spare room. Nice windows and trendy fittings if a little tired looking in the daylight. The shows had to be a one end with a blackout blocking visual rather than noise interference.
The acoustic is bright and sound carries from the bar area to the performance area.
The first Saturday saw a feminist folk group competing with three stag do’s!
I was lucky with relatively little noise in my 3-4pm show.
The staff were helpful and did their best to keep the bar quiet but I suggest the later shows should be musical and open to the whole bar to include the locals who were there because of 25% discount card promotion and Groupon offers on the food.
The seating was not flexible but there was lots of light from the windows which made it a pleasant venue for an afternoon show.

Advertisement / Marketing
Mine was is a destination spoken word show appealing to a niche audience who were interested in partner dancing, in short I got it wrong! I should have made it all about people who can’t dance or won’t dance! Moral- Test Your Marketing!
General flyering didn’t work for me at all but conversations with people did.
The big brochure helped but was poor value compared to the wee blue book.
Most effective was reaching out to local groups of dancers and people in other shows.
I had no idea how important this would be and should have done much more.

Audience / Bucket
Smallest audience = 0 (four times!, biggest audience = 15,
Ave. audience = 7.66 people
Avg bucket was £1.55 p/p,

The Show itself
The show went very well and many audience joined me for a dance afterwards or the next morning in the Royal Mile. As a spoken word show I didn’t feel the need to compete with the comedy shows which allowed me to make interesting points as well as funnies.
Having discusses this with similar shows by Michael Burdett (Strange Faces) and Shaun Buswell’s (Tube Orquestra) I feel a new sub genre term of ‘Quest Comedy’ or Project Comedy’ might be used to promote this style of show about a real life project.

This show may have disappointed in terms of numbers but in terms of quality audience and personal growth it excelled.

Colin my VC was always always on hand and worked ceaselessly to set up the PA and manage the noise issues.
Alastair Sadler
Posts: 3
Joined: September 2013

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