17.00 Fish Finger Fridays: A Sketch Show

17.00 Fish Finger Fridays: A Sketch Show

Postby Rajiv Karia » 08 Sep 2016, 13:37

We had a really positive run with Kilderkin this year. I would recommend the venue to anyone wanting to put on a show with the Free Fringe.

The Venue
Kilderkin is located on the Royal Mile, about a 10 minute walk downhill from the Tron, close to the Scottish Parliament. As it is not one of the more central PBH venues, flyering outside the door isn't usually very effective. However, the distance from the central Fringe area didn't seem to put too many people off.

Venue Staff
I was venue captain, and any enquires I had were always answered helpfully by the staff and management. They were always friendly and supportive of the shows and performers. They also gave all Kilderkin performers a discount card for food. Try to encourage your audiences to patron the bar (great range of drinks and really good food).

The Room
Unlike other free fringe venues, technically the performance space was not in its own room. It is the far side of the main pub area. The pub has temporary walls which have to be put up before the first show every day (at around 4.30), and taken down after the last show (around midnight). This is so Kilderkin can use this part of the pub during the lunch rush. Once the temporary walls are up, it's just as good as being a separate room.

Set up/Set Down
As had been done in previous years, the set up and set down duties were shared between all acts. This year, on every day that they performed, A to Z Improv would take care of the set down 6 days a week (as they were the last act on). We rotated set up duties (and set down duties on Tuesdays). Set up would mean the act chosen that day would arrive at the venue at 4.20 to set up the room (putting up the temporary walls, moving away tables, rearranging chairs, setting up the PA system, pulling down the backdrop), so it is ready well before Fish Finger Friday's show at 5. It would usually take between 15-20 minutes. This year, all but one of the acts were active, prompt and helpful when it was their turn to help set up/down. It is important that all acts at this venue help out with set up/down, and doesn't avoid their responsibility. On one occasion, an acts failure to set down the room meant that the venue staff had to do it. This is not the staff's responsibility, it is ours.

The Performance Space
Once set up, the space allows for around 33 people to sit and has room for a further 15/20 to comfortably stand. There are tables on either side of the performance space, where speakers are placed, and a technician can sit. We are a three person sketch group and we felt that we had ample performance room (its about 4 metres by 1.5 metres, unraised). While the space doesn't provide wings, we gaffered across a curtain on the left side of the stage, which allowed 2 performers to hide out of view.

Light and Sound
The venue does not have any stage lighting. The audience will be as well lit as you are. There are some windows in the performance space and to prevent daylight coming in, I put together some cardboard blockers, which fit in the windows. I'd advise any future venue captains to do the same. We also used a PBH black curtain to cover one window. There is a window behind the audience at the back of the room which does not need covering. If stage lighting could be sourced, that would really improve the space.
While the pub plays music through its PA system, they turn it off during shows (it can be heard in the main space, but not in the performance space). It cannot be heard while you perform. We use a separate PA system, which is provided by PBH. This year, it was very easy to operate and provided a great sound. 2 microphones with stands were provided.
We didn't have any issues with sound bleeding through the pub (but our show was at 5pm, so the pub was quiet). The venue was quite helpful at discouraging people from sitting too near the performance space if they were having loud conversations.

Flyering/Marketing
As mentioned before, the venue location means that flyering out front was usually ineffective. Footfall was low, mainly just tourists interested in seeing Parliament. We usually flyered on the Mile and Cowgate. A good few hours flyering can usually guarantee a decent audience. We had nothing lower than 15 and filled the room a couple of times. Lots of people come from finding your show in the Wee Blue Book so make sure to have plenty of those at the venue and to hand them out when you're flyering. Our buckets averaged out to about £50 a day (highest haul 140ish, lowest haul 12).
If you can afford it, I'd recommend to get listed in the official Fringe guide, that can really help getting people in the door.

Keeping things at the venue
Kilderkin doesn't have much space for things to be kept. We didn't keep anything there but some acts were able to keep a few props and flyers.


Overall, we were very happy at Kilderkin this year. The staff were friendly, the performance space was good and the responses were positive. It's a great room which would suit many acts.
Rajiv Karia
 
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