1820: Artificial Ineloquence

1820: Artificial Ineloquence

Postby Dan Simpson » 01 Sep 2016, 12:19

The Venue
Banquet Hall: a brilliant PBH Venue - especially for spoken word. This pub is certainly the spoken word hub of the Free Fringe, if not the Fringe itself. A legendary Edinburgh pub, with myriad rooms and a dark / metal sensibility. That said, it's hugely welcoming, largely due to the staff being incredibly friendly - lead by David, who is always happy to help make things work better! The Banquet Hall is a cavern in the back of the pub, so can be tricky to find out of the three spaces the pub runs. The signs help, as does guiding people to the right spaces just before your show.

Performance area
40ish capacity room with some space at the back / doorway for standing. Great little stage that can be adjusted or put to one side as needed. An excellent PA, and lights that can be adjusted to different colours / states, or left on full wash. I could even set up a little projector and screen this year with no trouble!

Technical set-up
The Banshee are incredible - setting up and striking the PA and sound desk themselves daily. Very little for PBHers to do in initial set-up and packing away. There is even semi-secure storage for larger props and equipment - though I would hesitate to leave anything valuable in there, just in case!

The best staff for being generally welcoming and happy to have you and your audiences in their space. They go above and beyond - I ran out of post-its (used in my show) one day, and someone found me a spare pad of scrap paper so I could start on time. The very best.

Advertisement / Marketing
I went into the big brochure for the first time in two years - perhaps gave me a slight bump on numbers (up an average of 5 per show this year) but still just one review. However, I did get more industry interest, which I think is worth it. I exit / entrance flyerered similar shows daily (spoken word, geeky, science / rationalism) - this always feels more effective than generally flyering the Mile or anywhere else. I did lots of guest spots (lots!) which also brought people in. Put posters up in the venue mainly so people knew they were in the right place.

Audience / Bucket
Smallest audience = 14, biggest audience = 49 average audience = 27. Very pleased with this. Fridays and Saturdays were big audiences, mid-week a little slower. Friday and Saturday means people are more likely to be drunk - not a huge problem as I was finishing around 7.15pm, but I know later shows struggled at times. If you're on later than 7pm, you might want to consider asking someone to help manage the door / gently dissuade super-drunk and disruptive people from entering on Friday and Saturday nights. Bucket take was good, sold 70-odd copies of my book and even if people didn't buy it they gave money. Bucket average seems up this year for me - around the £2.70 / head mark.

The Show Itself
... was a real struggle at first, as I had too much material and didn't know the links well enough. Lots of editing over the first 3-4 shows tightened it all up substantially, and after that it was more fun to perform and better for the audience. Lesson learned: much more scratching, many more previews. I had one really hard gig, a couple of quieter ones, but many were an absolute joy to perform. I ended up with a strong show - phew!

Communications were great - felt I knew what was going on all the time. Huge thanks to PBH and Matt Panesh as Spoken Word Director.
Dan Simpson
Posts: 7
Joined: September 2013

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