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Southside Cabaret

PostPosted: 21 Feb 2017, 14:50
by NoniTownshend
In 2016 I ran Southside Cabaret with Ben Dali, for Simon South. In 2015, I had both worked on Southside last year (at CC Blooms) and at The Street (with Simon South Plays With Cards) as a sound tech so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

:idea: Location: The Street is pretty centrally located, opposite the Omni. Most people going past where usually on their way somewhere, so flying directly outside had mixed results, but it's close enough to other hubs of fringe activity (eg, the gallery, the mile) that it wasn't too hard to get audiences. It's also close to the train station, which was good for me, as I was commuting from Kirkcaldy every day. I would emphasis that as an option to people who are looking for somewhere to stay at the Fringe, but do bare in mind that trains and buses stop much earlier on Sunday's. That caught me out.

:idea: Space: The performance space is in the basement of building, and is normally a lower seating area/bar. The bar isn't used during shows though. The "stage" area is in front of a curtain, and next to a mixing desk. The audience is mostly sat on built in couch-like chairs, or low stools around tables. It's definitely not a large space, but if like me you enjoy your shows to have a intimate, conversational feel, or if you have a lot of audience interaction, then it is ideal. The room itself is somewhat L shaped, with the stage area at the bend, though one side is normally closed off, though you can open it up for extra seating if you need/want that.

In terms of backstage, there are a couple tables that can be used during the show which are out of sight of the audience, or the aforementioned closed off part of the L. There is also a table and a small amount of space behind the curtain that makes up the back of the stage, which we used, for instance, to put a pre-set up keyboard before the show to cut down set-up time between acts. The bathroom can be used for changing. There is also a small storage room which The Street's acts were allowed to keep some props (we didn't need to use it, but if you plan to, it is small, and used by everyone and the venue for some of their sound gear, so leave as little as you can).

:idea: Tech The tech set up was a pretty standard DJ/mixing desk, with a mini jack, two CD players, a wired mic and a radio mic. To the best of my knowledge these belonged to the venue. They all worked pretty seamlessly, the biggest tech issue we had was not realizing the radio mic battery had been put on charge and wasn't in the microphone. In real terms, you don't really need a mic in a room that size unless you are super quiet, but it can help with setting tone. I would recommend anything with music forsake amplification though, as you really won't need it. In terms of lights there is one focused on the stage, which can't be moved. The room is bright enough that stepping out of the light wasn't a big deal though.

:idea: Staff: One of the main reasons I loved being at The Street was the people. Everyone who worked there was so lovely, kind and happy to help if we were having any issues. Communication was clear and, as the last show of the evening, we had a solid idea of what was needed from us each evening. Literally nothing but praise here.

:idea: Our Show: Southside went well this year. We usually had around ten-fifteen people in the audience, our lowest was around four or five, and our largest around thirty (which is about the most the room can comfortably hold), and there wasn't a single show that didn't run. Our buckets went between £10-£40, but normally hovered around the £20 mark. There were occasional disruptions from either people being loud in the stairwell, or in the bathrooms (which are across the hall), but they were minimal, only happened a few nights.

In general, 2016 was a successful Fringe, we had good audiences, had great acts, decent buckets, and an awesome time. This Fringe, as every one before it, I met some fantastic new people, who I am so excited to see again in 2017.