12:30 - David Narayan: The Psychic Project

12:30 - David Narayan: The Psychic Project

Postby david_narayan » 30 Aug 2017, 18:18


My show’s called the Psychic Project. It’s a mind-reading show based on the Cold War’s psychic spies.


I was the second show of the day (12:30pm). This was an hour earlier than my slot last year and I think that made a difference to the audience numbers - the audience was about 10% smaller than last year.

Although I think a later slot would get better audiences, I wouldn't want my show to be too late in the evening as I need the audience to concentrate (luckily I only ever had one drunk person).


Numbers were better than I'd expected for the time slot. The show was full at weekends and about 75% full other days (CC Blooms has a capacity of 53). I removed the front row some days, if I thought it wouldn't be full, in order to improve the sight lines.

The audiences left good reviews / tweets. The bucket varied a lot, between about £2 per head and £4.50 per head - a bit more than last year on average.

The bucket takings seemed to depend on the level of reaction during the show and the quality of my bucket pitch. I got less in the bucket on the days when I rushed or shortened the pitch. I got more in the bucket when I did the bucket pitch before the final effect, compared to doing it right at the end of the show.


CC Blooms is an amazing venue - well organised and with a really helpful team. The performance space is downstairs, separate from the bar, which means you’re not interrupted during the performance and people don’t get up to get drinks.

It’s got a good technical set-up including 4 x LED lights, 2 x hand-held radio mics, a good PA system, a projector and a screen at 90 degrees to the stage. It has a 3m x 1m stage, approx 30cm high.

There’s an area for changing / prop storage in the cellar - CC Blooms even set up a rail with coat hangers.


My show takes me a long time to set up each day and I need to get the audience to do things on the way in. That meant that I had to shorten my show a bit.

If possible, I’d suggest keeping your set-up as simple as possible, or taking that time into account when working out your show length.

Audience members often wanted to chat after the show, which is great - but it slowed down clearing the space. I tried to speed that up by announcing that we had to clear the space for the next act and that I’d be in the bar later. It’s also worth asking people to use the upstairs toilets rather than the downstairs ones.


I normally arrived at CC Blooms about 10:30, 2 hours before my show, in order to set up some things before the first show started (my show was the second show). During the first show, I did flyering and prepared my props. I normally left the venue about 14:30, after door duty and putting props away, etc.

I spent the rest of the time marketing, meeting up with people, and seeing other shows. I also tried to do a bit of my day job, but it’s hard to do that and to make the most of the Fringe (unless you cut back on sleep… which was my approach).


I put some posters up in venues, but not as many as last year. I think it might have made a difference (though hard to tell…). Next year I’ll come up a day early and spend that day specifically putting up posters everywhere rather than trying to do it in spare time each day (turns out there isn’t much spare time!).

I did one hour of flyering myself each day and another hour through Jen, an amazing professional flyerer. I think flyering works - I see people in the audience that I've given flyers to.

I did two guest spots in compilation / variety shows at the Voodoo Rooms this year. I think it’s great to do just for fun or to try new material, but I’m not convinced that it helps get audiences in.

Having said that, Tom Crosbie has a very effective spot as it contains a teaser for the ending of his main show. Next year I'll try to design cabaret spots that work better as teasers for my main show.


I applied for a half run this year due to work commitments. But, having now done both full and half runs, I’d definitely recommend doing a full run.

This is because:

  • The time overhead of bringing the show up (i.e. preparing props, marketing, setting up, packing up, travelling, etc.) is the same whether doing a full or half run.
  • While bucket income is halved, the total cost is actually pretty similar whether doing a full or half run. This is due to accommodation being more expensive for shorter periods. Also, as half runs get scheduled last, the cheaper accommodation and train tickets have gone.
  • I felt that it took me the first week to get the show how I wanted it, then I only had a few days left performing the show at its best.
  • A half run gives less time to build word of mouth and to get reviewers in.
  • It’s exhausting trying to also see all the other shows you’ll want to see if you’re only there for half the time!

So, in hindsight I think it’s definitely best to do the whole run if at all possible.
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