Cassie Atkinson - Supernumerary Rainbow - 13:30

Cassie Atkinson - Supernumerary Rainbow - 13:30

Postby Cas+ » 14 Sep 2016, 11:19

I had a character show at 13:30 at Sabor - I was busy everyday, a couple of days half full the rest 3/4 full or a full house, I had great buckets but I think my show may have been busier.... here comes the pros and cons.

Sabor is a fantastic location and with the right show/flyering you can have a brilliant run.
Currently the venue comes with a few compromises and being the first year to use the venue it was somewhat a baptism of fire.

The room
L-shaped (Similar to comedy venue Camden Head in London) totally workable. We had just under 50 chairs in and you could squeeze another 10 -20 standing but the max isn't comfortable.
There's a bar (that wasn't used during the shows) in the corner and we made our stage (a floor area about 3 x 2 meters) next to this.
Our chairs, one mic stand and PA (with one speaker) were provided by PBH.
This set up was great for my day show but there were big problems with noise bleed in the evening (read reports from later shows).
The room is extremely hot, there was a door to the outside which at first we could open for air, then the venue were unhappy with us using the key (I'm unsure of the exact details around this) so it remained locked.
So we had 2 fans from PBH and the venue kindly let us use a big fan during the day but it was too loud to use during a show. There is also only one plug socket behind the bar.
The door mentioned is glass and runs along the back of the stage and leads onto a stairwell. We went out and bought black fabric and we made a curtain with that and the PBH backdrop to stop light bleed.*

The lighting at the venue is perfect - but it did break a couple of times - on those occasions we used desk lamps.

Every day we had to set up the venue (put out the chairs, tape chairs together, set up fans and PA, sometimes sweep floor) and every night put it away.
This fell to the first act (me) and the last act. It's quite a big job and this is where I encountered problems.
The venue would open erratically each day between the hours of 11:30am and 12:40pm, then I would need about 30/40 minutes to set up the venue and then my own show (props and costumes) so I would flyer outside the venue waiting for it to open but before 12 cowgate isn't that footfall heavy. Obviously once I started setting up the venue I wasn't flyering and by the time set up was done I had to start the show.
I hired a flyer for the hour before but may have been busier if I'd been able to flyer myself the hour before the show.
We made a rota to help set up and break down.
Each day one person from a different show was to help set up the venue, then man my door- this was a massive help. (And the same for the last show)
There were days when that person didn't show up and that made it very hard - but luckily we had a whatsapp group and the act after me (Calum) was very often my saviour.
The worst days were when my flyerer cancelled last minute - as it's just not physically possible to set up that venue and flyer your show efficiently in the morning on your own, luckily fellow PBHer (Chris Coltrane) was passing and helped flyer and do my door one occasion or I'd of been screwed and Calum again helped me.

There was a cupboard we could use at first but then the venue became unhappy with that so we stored the PA etc behind the bar upstairs, I also stored my props/costumes there. It's not secure but I took the gamble and my things were fine

If this venue is used next year, I would strongly suggest that the first and last acts are 2 handers or sketch groups - that way you can set up the venue, your show and flyer without it having a negative effect on your show. Being the first show at the venue proved quite stressful and I don't think a solo act should cope with it alone.
If the backdoor still cannot be opened - Purchase 1 or 2 more fans (so the room has 3 or 4) and buy 2 more extension cables so that the fans can be placed at the back and the front of the room.

The Venue
Sabor was a restaurant then I think new management took it over not long ago and it became a Salsa bar.
It holds Salsa classes in the evening (Rumour was these wouldn't happen during the fringe but they did so that may have been a miscommunication) and after the classes becomes a Salsa nightclub (see show reports of later shows to hear how it effected them) and was owned by the same person as T-Bar/Tank nextdoor.

The majority of the staff were lovely.

The problems encountered all seemed to stem from poor communication.
There seemed to be confusion around what was acceptable for us to do and what was agreed before the fringe started.
To put things into context (as it often got complicated) there was an area manager who's sometimes around but at no fixed time, an evening manager and one member of bar staff during the day.
Different members of staff seemed to want different things from us and when neither managers would respond to calls or texts it made communication between the performers and the venue (the day bar staff had no control over anything) near impossible. One of these occasions lead to one of my shows being pulled.
The storage cupboard that the venue kindly said we could lock our props in - there was one key that was kept behind the bar.
The story I heard was - one day a member of staff walked into a show during the performance and told the performer the cupboard door had been left unlocked (that performer didn't use the cupboard) and so he was taking away the key and tomorrow he'd open it and we could all take our things and never use the cupboard again. Obviously because the performer was doing their show at the time, they said 'fine' then relayed the message on whatsapp after as that said member of staff had vanished.
The next day the key was never brought into the venue, I called and texted the venue contacts I had but they didn't respond. Unable to do the show without my things I had to pull the show and the show after mine performed without their props. I know the area manager was genuinely upset this happened but it's inevitable when there is no communication between the venue and performers.

Another time the venue built a new front door during the shows, being the first show - this delayed getting into the venue, then my flyer said the venue were telling my audience they couldn't enter the building. When I asked them about this, they said it wasn't true but I'm unsure as to why audience members would say that. But I think it came down to miscommunication again as no one seemed to know what was going on.

If this venue is used next year, I think PBH and the venue need to have a very clear agreement of what is expected and agreed from both parties and make sure that every member of staff agrees to it. - Some things no one could of seen coming so it's no attack on the preparation done for 2016.
(If this venue is used please get in touch with me as I'd love to draw up some pointers to help the venue run smoother - it's got so much potential as a venue and it was frustrating we couldn't make the best of it this year)
This could be a brilliant venue but every single person (performers and venue staff) need to be behind it, if that happens everyone can be a winner but only if we learn from this year.
This year the majority of performers at Sabor really tried to make it work but we often felt like we hit a brick wall.

As it stands (and very much as the first and last act) you have to work hard at this venue - but if you prepare well and the current venue problems resolved the potential to smash it is within your grasp.

I would also recommend as the venue stands no shows after 8/9pm (hopefully a later show will do a show report as to why, I've gone on far too much already!)

*I have left this curtain in a bag labeled 'Sabor' (with the other backdrops) so if we use that venue next year the shows should have an easier time by simply hanging it on the hooks that may still be there.
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