9pm Aidan Greene - (500) Days of Stammer

9pm Aidan Greene - (500) Days of Stammer

Postby aidangreene » 20 Sep 2016, 15:21

The venue:
Sabor is a latin bar, formally a restaurant I believe, just under south bridge. Any time I was in there during the day it seemed very quiet. In the evenings there was often a salsa class and then at night it was a nightclub. The location of the venue was pretty ideal and easy to direct people to.

The performance area:
The venue itself was upstairs through a newly constructed door. The only bathrooms, outside of the disabled bathroom downstairs, were at the back of performing area. It was quite rare that someone would come up to use these bathrooms during the performance and when it did they were polite and quiet, though it was distracting.

The performing area itself was an L shape. The advantage of this was that on quiet days you could put all the audience on one side and it would feel a lot more full than it was. However when the audience was split it became harder to perform as you kept having to switch your attention. If any acts had a projector only one half of the crowd could effectively see the screen.

There were roughly between 40 - 50 seats in the venue. This could be expanded by bringing the bar stools up from the bar which we were eventually told we couldn't do. There was standing room at the back so if you really tried you could pack in a total of around 60+.

The chairs were quite close to the acts so if any of the acts used any elaborate props and/or actions then it was likely affected.

My show was right on the cusp of the venue's issues with sound. For the salsa class downstairs they usually played very loud latin music. I would ask before my show for it to be turned down and occasionally it was only to be turned back up whilst I was on stage. A door was installed at the start of the run but did little to stop the sound bleed. Eventually some acts used pillow to gap any holes which did help.

Just a final note on the venue, it got hot. Very hot. We pooled together and got two fans but the crowd often looked physically drained.

Technical Set-up:
For the full run we had a single speaker. There was word of a second speaker for a while but nothing came of it. As it was an L shape room the angle of this speaker was a slight issue depending on where the crowd sat. We pooled together for an aux chord which was required by most acts. I basically used this to play music whilst people got seated.

There was decent overhead lighting where most of the lights were pointed at the stage. One day these lights broke so we had to get the end of a lamp which was relatively effective. The lighting switch was downstairs in the bar which meant it was often knocked off by accident. Four days in a row the lights were turned off whilst I was on stage. Occasionally I had someone there to go down and ask for them to be turned on but I finished a few shows in darkness.

The bar staff were very friendly and helpful. I mostly interacted with Jelena who was always lovely to deal with. The bar management seemed less enthusiastic about our presence.

There was a constant struggle with the volume of the music and issues with storage. My flyers had been delivered next door to T-Bar. I removed them and brought them into Sabor but after other acts had run ins with management about storing them I split them up. I had one in The Globe bar and one behind the bar in the venue. One box of flyers went missing on me and another was delivered to T-Bar mid way through which was hidden away.

Usually there was only one member of staff on duty which meant people had lots of trouble getting drinks before the gig. Most days I started 5 to 10 minutes late to allow for people to get their drinks.

Advertisement / Marketing:
For my show I got 10,000 flyers and 25 posters. There was a box of my flyers misplaced somehow. With another the flyers were taken out and left on the floor where some got water damaged. So I used most of the flyers I had left.

My flyer was double sided. On the front was this show and on the back was another split show I was doing. This was a mistake in hindsight as often punters look at the back for more details and a map. In future I would include a show description and map on the back.

I set up several posters in my venue though there was not much space. Until the last week most of the posters stayed in storage and then I threw the remaining ones up everywhere. My poster/flyers benefited from their unique look and the associations with the film (500) Days of Summer.

On a usual day I would exit flyer 2-5 shows which I found similar and were before mine. I had two flyerers for an hour outside the venue (either side of the road) and I myself would walk up the royal mile for between 1 - 2 hours beforehand. Flyering this late in the day was more of a challenge as your are up against many big name acts who people have often booked tickets for. My show benefited from good word of mouth and the wbb. One night I had a group of 20 in who had seen the show in the wbb. The show was not in the fringe book or app and in future I would include it in that.

I got reviewed once during the run, a four star, though I have no idea if that had any impact on numbers. The reviewer came in after I flyered them on the street.

Audience / Bucket:
My worst day was the first Monday with 3 people in. After that I bumped up my exit flyering of shows and word of mouth kicked in. I had 60+ in maybe 3 times. I also had nights of 6 - 10 people. The first week was the worst, the second week was consistently high and then third week tailed off a bit.

My bucket varied with a low of 16 and a high of 140.

The Show Itself:
My show was straight story based stand up. It had a central narrative that ran all the way through which meant it didn't really work too well for latecomers. I had ideas of bringing in voice-overs though in the end I was glad I didn't with the technical limitations at the venue.

All of the acts in the venue really came together to make things work. We had a whatsapp group with set up and clean up rotas. Big shout out to Cassie and Daniel who had to set up and clean up each day (Assisted by one of us other acts). Then to Maxine for organizing and Danny O'Brien for doing a large amount of venue related work. All the acts from the venue were helpful and we bandied together very well when we had to.

Although a lot of the above may sound negative I thoroughly enjoyed my run in Sabor. The venue is in a great location and if management were to get on board with the shows it could be a great venue. Lowering the level of the music played, my shows seemed to have a latin soundtrack for large parts, and perhaps if they want to use the place as a nightclub finish the shows earlier would be a great improvement. Extra bar staff between shows would benefit the bar financially and the acts in keeping time. A better sense of camaraderie between the venue and acts would also be very beneficial.

There was a salsa class just as you walked in the door most nights. They were quite hard to get through for the bar and performance area. Often punters would look in, have no idea where the act was on, and leave confused. From the second week I would stand by the front door and direct traffic. So a heads up for any future acts, make sure you station someone at the door to make sure you get your full audience.

A big thank you to all the acts in the venue and others throughout PBH who helped make this a successful run. I look forward to working with you all in the future.
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