Show Report- The Large HA-rdon Collider

Show Report- The Large HA-rdon Collider

Postby Haran_X » 18 Sep 2015, 11:28

We (Haran X, Joseph Murphy and Jack Cooper) ran a science-based comedy show for the full-run at this venue.

Serenity Cafe is a charity-led cafe located in Jackson's Entry - a passageway off the bottom end of the Royal Mile. The room is a hall that is separated from the main cafe by a sliding door.

PROS of Venue
- The cafe staff were extremely friendly and welcoming. They helped with the set-up of seats before the performance on several occasions.
- Large capacity room. The room conceivably could have accommodated close to 100 people. Our maximum was about 60. This was on the second Saturday of the festival.
- Audience could get food served to them during the show.
- There was a small raised stage on which to perform
- Plenty of storage space downstairs for props, flyers etc.
- The venue is located close to many of the youth hostels / hotels on Canonsgate. This meant we could entice people in on their way home.
- The cafe doesn't serve alcohol (it is a charity for people in recovery). This meant we did not get the boozy hecklers that you might get in other venues.
- The cafe gave us free drinks etc as we were performing and raising money for them.

CONS of Venue
- Despite a lighting rig, the lighting was not set up for a performance of any kind. We had to block out natural light using drapes and purchase desk lamps to illuminate a performance area
- The size of the room meant that for a smaller audience - it became slightly echoey, obviously underfilled.
- The venue location was perhaps a bit difficult to find for some people
- The cafe doesn't serve alcohol. this may affect evening We lost a few audience because they wanted to drink and watch comedy simultaneously.
- the doors are not soundproof - so sound from the cafe pores

Key questions

Were your buckets good?
Our bucket collections were OK - probably between £1-£5 per person. Given that the Serenity Cafe is a charity for people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction - we gave all of our bucket collections to the charity. This was entirely voluntary and we were not obligated or persuaded into doing so.

What work needed to be done to make the venue viable?
We had to re-arrange the room, buy desk lamps for adequate lighting, block out the natural light from the windows and cover up lots of objects (e.g. tea making equipment) with cloths.

What brought the public in?
It's hard to tell. Our lowest audience was 6. The highest was about 60. On average, we had about 20 each day.

Flyering at the top of the Royal mile ( near Tron Kirk)was probably the best position. The word 'science' piqued a lot of people's attention - there is definitely palpable demand for science based comedy. The majority of the audience were students of science, or people with an interest in popular science.

It is useful to print a map on the back of the flyer.

Did the shows either side of you do the duty as they should?

Yes. We went on first, but the show after us did their duties well (and vice versa, hopefully).

Did the public feel comfortable?

Yes. Although given the large room, it was hard to warm smaller audiences up at times. This may not have been a problem with the same audience numbers in a more intimate setting (e.g. Cowgatehead).

What could the performing team have collectively done better?

James Woe was great and supportive. We set up a small Facebook group which worked well for communication.

What facilities were provided?

The venue has toilets, a cafe serving food until 9pm, non-alcoholic drinks until 11pm, wifi. There is storage room for flyers and props downstairs. There was only 2 toilets, which meant there was a long queue for the loos - this delayed the start of some of our shows.

How positive was your experience?

All in all, a very positive experience for our first Edinburgh Fringe. I would definitely consider this venue again, although it is not suitable for shows that only aim to/ are capable of attracting a small (sub 30) audience. The days (particularly weekends) when he had over 30 people were great.

I think there is a real demand for science-based comedy in Edinburgh and it could help to cooperate with other science shows - Festival of Spoken Nerd, Edinburgh Skeptics etc, to boost audience.
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