'SHIPS: Dr. Audrey's Fatal Mistake

'SHIPS: Dr. Audrey's Fatal Mistake

Postby michellefahrenheim » 03 Sep 2017, 10:01

Ideal room for stand up acts using mics.

This year we took a narrative sketch show to the fringe. It was probably more in the realms of a play, than a sketch show, but we learnt lots about what we do and don’t need from a space.

SEATS/LAYOUT - The Southsider Pub backroom is a 30(ish) seater. There were about 5 or 6 rows of 5 seats per row. If looking at the stage from back of room, the rows are up against the right hand wall of the room and a bench running along the left hand side of the room with an aisle separating them.

STAGE - The stage area was about 1.5m wide and 1m deep (approx) with a bench on the right hand side of the wall which we used for placing props on. There is no backstage area but we used a portable clothes rail covered in black cloth which created a small backstage area for us to change behind. With this on stage, we still had space for performance. This was then moved back and centre for the acts doing stand up. It stayed in room all month, did not need to be disassembled and reassembled.

PA - The temporary PA sat to the left of the stage and was accessible from the stage so we could press play whenever needed.

LIGHTING - The lighting was normal, room lighting. There are three light switches at the back of the room that control the side lanterns, the top main light and then a multi-coloured backlight for the mirror that runs along the left hand side of the room. It was not ideal for performance so we all clubbed together and bought a stage light that sat on a table pointing towards the stage area. This made it look and feel more like a performance space. I think the light was about £50 so not too bad when split between all the acts. We had it screwed into a block - kindly helped out by the people who we bought the light from - so that it would stand on its own, could be adjusted easily to different heights, and not be resting on or touching the table it was on.

NOISE - Although the backroom is a separate room, it does not have a door. Instead it is separated by a curtain. There was a lot of noise bleed from the pub. For acts that are using mics, I would say this venue was ok - although sure they will speak for themselves - but for sketch acts, or anyone doing unmiked work it was difficult to be heard above the noise, particularly when the pub was busy. The gents toilets were half a meter from the curtain/door which was loud at times (and actually quite pungent). There was a fruit machine right next to the room entrance too which often meant the loud sound of coins being poured out could be heard. There were a few times where people would stop outside of curtain (possibly on way into gents) and talk loudly - some even had a few arguments - which felt like they were almost in the room. Could see audience distracted, turning around to see what was going on. The pub is a busy football watching pub which meant that weekends were particularly loud and raucous. We had to ask them to turn the football on TV down on the first couple of weekends as it was really blaring out, but after having asked, the next weekend they put it on much more quietly. You could still hear it from room - especially when a goal was scored - but was better after having asked them to turn it down.

FOOTFALL - Really variable and difficult to predict. Some days we’d have small audiences and then the next, for no apparent reason we’d have nearly full. Probably averaged around 15-20, with mostly full rooms on weekends. Not the easiest to pull people in from outside so needed to either flyer near George Sq or Pleasance. Or have people find you in WBB or Fringe Guide.

STAFF - The staff were helpful. They encouraged us to put out flyers and posters up around the pub, came in periodically to check everything was ok between performances, and as said above, tried to help us out by lowering the sound of TVs. They also offered to change coins for notes after performances so we didn’t have to carry heavy coins around all day.

This is venue is great for a stand up act. If you have a mic and few needs for more than that, it’s ideal - apart from maybe the sound bleed.
As a sketch act or narrative show not using mics, it was more tricky. The space was definitely workable, but we found the sound was a bit difficult to overcome at times.

Really wonderful to be a part of PBH this year and look forward to doing it again next year with any luck! Everyone clubs together, helps each other out and there is a real community feel to it! So wonderful that PBH gives such an opportunity to performers.
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