8.25pm Shelf - Lower

8.25pm Shelf - Lower

Postby shelfcomedy » 05 Sep 2015, 13:32

Silk is a really nice venue. We were well provided with PA, microphones, stands, and backdrops. The building is well sound-proofed, which meant there was little sound bleed between rooms, even when the Tattoo was on it didn’t interrupt our performance. The lower room was quite dark, but Space Carrots provided some lights for which the rest of us chipped in; big thanks to them! The stage space and size were very good, the shape of the lower room and single side-door for entrances/exits lending itself to sketch comedy. The tiled flooring was particularly nice for our performance as we had a sketch involving water, which was easy to clean before the next act’s show-slot. The seating was also good, although people further back struggled to see in larger audiences. The venue was a little understaffed: after the first week they understandably closed the bar in Lower, and sometimes people did have trouble getting drinks at the main bar. Glasses did seem to pile up downstairs, meaning we usually had to clear up quite a bit before starting, though this was no trouble. Whenever we approached them for assistance, staff were always very friendly and helpful.

As mentioned in other reports, the location had a real effect on audience. As it is a quiet street, there was little possibility of getting audiences in from passing traffic before the show starts, this was particularly difficult later in the evening. Similarly flyering on the Mile and along Grassmarket yielded little results, as punters struggled to find the venue even when given directions. It seems shows with a strong USP and larger flyering teams were less affected. Similarly those shows on earlier in the day had more success getting audiences down from Grassmarket. Despite these challenges we still managed to draw in audiences overall averaging 10 a night. We only had to pull 4 shows and our largest crowd was around 25 people. This was largely achieved through word-of-mouth, particularly among student crowds via twitter and other social media. We also did several guest spots in more central locations, which encouraged audiences to make the journey down to our venue. Good reviews at the end of the second week helped us get audiences during the final week, which seemed to be particularly bad for lower audience numbers. Even with smaller numbers, the audiences were generous, usually giving between £15 and £25 a night.

Overall we had a really lovely experience, and we’re extremely grateful for all the assistance we received from PBH and other shows. We had a lot of fun: the audience that made it were really on board! It’s a shame Silk is in a tricky location, it’s a great venue: we would recommend it to shows confident they can generate audience, possibly because they fulfil a niche demand.
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