Quiz in my Pants (6:15pm)

Quiz in my Pants (6:15pm)

Postby nicola.bolsover » 31 Aug 2017, 15:54

16:15-19:15 - `Quiz in my Pants` - Subway

The location of Subway is brilliant – it's on Cowgate, next door to The Cow Shed which gets busy, and opposite Underbelly, where there are lots of potential audience members. On the other side are two more PBH venues (Opium and Sneaky Pete's), so there's a good community spirit there.
Subway is a nightclub so not normally open in the daytime. The decor is nightclubby, and there isn't much light; in particular the entrance is dark and narrow, which can be confusing for audiences (popping signs up at the entrance to direct people would help). The staff are incredible, always happy and friendly, and very helpful. They employed door staff from 5pm Friday-Sundays, primarily to check IDs (the venue's licence is for over 18s, so shows must not advertise anything other than an 18 certificate), but the guys did also help with queue management and directing audience.
The drinks are cheap, which means that you can sometimes get audience who are there to drink, don't realise there are shows on and/or don't want to watch the shows. It helps if you're around before your show, so you can talk to people as they come along.
This year Subway was host to the Edinburgh Pub Crawl. It started at 10pm every night, leaving 15mins to take down the venue and make it look like a nightclub again. It's important to note that the rest of the year the pub crawl starts at 8pm, so often punters turn up at around that time, expecting the pub crawl. Again, this is easy to keep under control as long as you're there.

Performance Area:
The nightclub is one very large room. It can comfortably seat around 80-100 people, then there is plenty of standing room. Subway had chairs which we put out every day, plus there were benches around the walls of parts of the room, booths along one side, and high stools around tables near the bar. Audience sat in the booths and on benches didn't have quite as good a view, so it helps to direct people to the chairs.
The room has a very high ceiling, and a mezzanine which is not usually in use. The performance area is raised so visibility is good for the audience, but there is a column stage left which obscures the view for audience on that side. The stage is curved and large, so there is a lot of room for groups and props.
During very busy performances, Karen (club manager) was prepared to open the mezzanine area to audience. However, this is totally on their terms, and a kindness they are under no obligation to provide. There is a bar upstairs, so a member of staff is needed to man it (the bar wasn't open, but the staff were there to ensure nothing was pinched!). The way it worked this year was that all staff manned the main bar (downstairs), then once that was clear and they could spare staff, one would move upstairs and it would become open to audience. This sometimes meant either delaying the start of the show, or doing this within the show. I did the latter and didn't find it to be a problem at all; I told standing audience about it before I started the show, then when the staff were ready I let the audience know.
We had use of the cloakroom to store our things. Access was in the corridor, and the door was always locked. So all our stuff was safely stored, but we had to ask the staff for keys when we needed to access it. It's not a huge space, and not exclusively ours to use, so I'd advise keeping props and belongings to a minimum.

QimP was entered in the official Fringe programme and the Free Fringe programme. I had no flyers this year and did no on-street promoting. I tweeted every day with the line-up about an hour and a half before the show, but otherwise it was all down to reputation and word of mouth. I gave out badges that said "I quizzed in my pants..." at the end of each show, which may have helped advertise the show.

Audience numbers:
It ranged from 30-150+. The last week was quite quiet for me, and Thursday-Saturday were always my busiest days.

Show Itself:
The show went really well. It’s QimP’s eighth year and its most consistent in terms of quality. Numbers were about the same as last year, and takings were up. As it’s a show with guests every day, there is often an inevitable no-show, which can throw a spanner in the works, but I have a way of finding an audience member to join in the fun! The audiences enjoyed themselves, for the most part, and we even have people coming back on other days to see the show again with different guests, which is a great thing to see!
We did really well with bucket takings, and I managed to make a profit. Audiences always seem happier to part with money when you’re open and honest about the bucket, and it’s always good to get a joke out of it. The badges helped a lot in getting money from people, as a thank you for their donations.

Subway has their own sound system, which I believe meant it had been noted in the FF database as not needing PA, but their sound system doesn't reach the stage! Between us (Jollyboat, Clusterf*ck and me) we bought a mixing desk, all leads, and two mic stands; Clusterf*ck, Worst Show of the Fringe, and Jollyboat donated microphones. We managed to rig the sound from the mics, through the mixing desk, and into the sound system. About halfway through, Subway's management found us two speakers, which we then used with the mixer to rig as a normal PA. I use a third mic in my show, and used the venue's sound system for that. In the end we had pretty good, consistent sound, but it did take more than a week to get it all sorted, and we did have to put our hands in our pockets to make it happen. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!
It would be really helpful for 2018 if Subway could be listed as a venue needing PA, even if just for the speakers.

Admin & Communication Process:
We split the equipment duties between the shows and this worked well. The cast of the final show (Clusterf*ck) packed the equipment away at the end of each day, which was very good and kind of them, and helped the rest of us out a lot.
In previous years the venue staff have put out the chairs each day, but this year they couldn't do it because they didn't have enough time to do that as well as set up the bar. Thankfully, the Oxford Revue group were there each day to set up their tech, so helped out with the chairs. Ed from Jollyboat also came in every day to check the sound, despite having another show to get to! I was Venue Captain, and spent 8 days at the venue from set-up time, to make sure people knew how to set up the venue, and to help throughout the day. I hope that won't be the case next year!
There was some stress for acts who had other shows on near the time they'd be setting up. We were able to get in the venue at about 1:30pm each day, with the first show starting at 2:30pm. If you're given a slot at this venue for 2018, please consider the times of any other shows you're doing and whether they would make it difficult for you to do the set-up.
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