Shantisha's Cabaret at the Tron Kirk

Shantisha's Cabaret at the Tron Kirk

Postby Shantisha » 04 Sep 2015, 21:02

11 pm., Thurs. 20 & 27 Aug. + after-midnight open stage slots throughout the Festival

From the very first moment on stage at the Tron Kirk I knew – this was a very special venue for me. A space, where nothing could ever go wrong. A space that gave me strength and filled me with tons of vibrant blissful energy.

The place itself is a beautiful church with amazing high ceilings and stone walls, ambient lighting, a top-notch sound system and excellent acoustics, an uplifted stage with mic stands and enough space for a band of 5 or 6 with all the music equipment, a bar area and a cabaret style seating with some free space in front of the stage that often served as a dance floor. It might be important for some to know that there is also a proper changing room with a mirror. Very well managed and looked after, the Kirk has a vibe of its own. When filled with people (and there is rarely any shortage – even after midnight) – it turns into one of the best venues I’ve ever performed at.

As for the audiences - the reception was just fantastic! It was really easy to make them go wild in cheering, clapping and whooping, to pull volunteers on stage etc. I also did some rather daring experimental stuff there (like belly dancing to a poem) – and the audience response was fabulous too! One would never have thought – but they could really appreciate it – despite the late hour and the many pints of beer =)

So when after a couple of weeks of after-midnight open-stage slots (I did those whenever possible) an offer came in – to host two 11 pm. cabarets – I didn’t hesitate for a minute and agreed on the spot.

The nature of the place enabled me to invite some really spectacular acts – like acrobats and pole dancers (yes, they brought with them and put up a huge portable pole in the middle of the stage) – and the audience was ecstatic!

Both cabarets were very successful gathering crowds of up to 250-300, maybe more. In fact, there are always people coming in and out of the Tron – the question is whether you manage to hold them in. We did =)

What we learned in terms of the bucket – is that you have to go round the audience with it, they rarely approach the bucket themselves if you just leave it on the stage. Also, we more than doubled our bucket by going round twice – in the middle of the show and at the end. If you’re doing a show at 11 pm. it might also be a good idea to stand with the bucket at the door at the end of it – as lots of people tend to leave after the show is over and you might never catch them with the bucket if you get stuck somewhere close to the stage. And you do tend to get stuck if you are a performer and go round with the bucket yourself – as people want to speak to you, take pictures etc.

All in all, this was a huge learning curve and an amazing experience for me. Having run quite a few big events of a completely different nature, I’d never hosted a cabaret before, let alone doing it in English (I’m from Russia and only came to Edinburgh for the Fringe). These two cabarets at the Tron gave me an immense sense of achievement and made my whole Fringe experience this year feel like a huge success!

None of the above would have ever been possible, of course, had it not been for the overwhelming support and professionalism of the tech team. Cameron, Arno and Jerry made it a pure pleasure for me to work at the Tron Kirk. Special thanks go to Cameron Phair for making me feel so welcome there from day one, enveloping me in care and support and going beyond his responsibilities as the Artistic Director for Music by encouraging me to register with the PBH’s Free Fringe officially, putting me in touch with Luke Meredith and vouching for me as a cabaret host. I don’t know if I can ever thank Cameron enough!

The Tron Kirk management were also extremely helpful and friendly, and so were the bar staff. The pole dancers had to store their pole somewhere for two days after doing their slot at my cabaret. It was taken care of by the Tron, no hassle at all. I also once forgot my silk shawl on (or under?) one of the chairs. One of the staff apparently picked it up after the show and returned to me the very next day, perfectly intact. Amazing people, amazing experience!

This venue has been my second home throughout this Festival. Given the opportunity, I would be absolutely delighted to do Shantisha’s cabaret at the Tron Kirk for the full run of the Fringe in 2016!
Shantisha
 
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