Cabaret Voltaire - As a whole

Cabaret Voltaire - As a whole

Postby greg21 » 07 Feb 2011, 15:24

Suicide & Crumble – Cabaret Voltaire

Pros:
Location - makes it incredibly easy to flyer, thanks to the proximity of The Royal Mile and Hunter Square, there is an incredible amount of passing crowds and punters. Also it is flanked by several other venues which means that you can team up with other groups and performers to corner the most amount of audience.

Small Downstairs Space - it's a classic Edinburgh cave, and actually feels like a performance space, rather than something co-opted for the purpose. It allows an intimate setting as the audience are right on top of you, but this is exactly what you should be wanting from an Edinburgh venue, allows for so much more. We are a sketch group so it took a little extra thought to negotiate the performance area as it is tight, but can be done with relative ease. The backstage area is nicely curtained off, have to negotiate stairs to get on stage but very few.

Large Downstairs Space – Is next door to the space talked about above. It is a far larger space and with the cave like design it is a very good space to perform, by far our favourite for the whole time we were there. The audience stretch back a long way yet due to the room design never feel like they are untouchable, we didn’t use any microphones and had no issues. The performance area is raised so easy to be seen, as well being a large enough area to accommodate four of us acting like crazy comedians and never once being worried about logistics. The backstage area is very large, but there are stairs that have to be negotiated to get on and off stage, the same as the Small downstairs space.

Cabaret Voltaire Speakeasy: Must be taken into account that the design of the chairs makes audience visibility in this space very awkward. The stage isn’t raised so anything done lower than waist height cannot be seen by many. The backstage area is incredibly small for a group to organise themselves, but not impossible with forward planning. The size of the space is good; it is large and designed well to focus the audience. The biggest problem in this space is technical, boards etc were often left in a mess, and added complications with setting our sound and equipment as you get little time.

Cons for Cabaret Voltaire:
There is a lot of noise bleed between Large Downstairs and Smaller Downstairs space, and if you have one subtle show and one loud and brash occurring simultaneously then there are issues that arise. The same if one audience is very much enjoying a show it can bleed through. The technical limitations in the upstairs space created a slight issue for us and the room behind stage, but we managed to negotiate that a as sketch group, so I am sure anyone can.

Daily set up – We performed all over Cabaret Voltaire for the short run we were at the festival, so set up was different every day. We kept things very simple, but must say that the help we got (and hopefully gave) was very beneficial when it came to preparing each space, and on occasion had to borrow certain things from others, and everyone was very accommodating. If performing in Speakeasy I would suggest just keeping in mind that there are technical limitations, and maybe taking the time to lay out the backstage area in a well organised way to make most of the space.

Staff – All the interactions I had with staff were very positive, they understood full the ethos of the PBH Festival and were willing to help and find solutions to certain problems. I was very impressed, and on top of that they allow you to feel at ease when you are around the space.

Posters – As with all posters anywhere in the world, often they were taken down or ripped (in some rare occasions you had someone put theirs over yours). However space was at least provided to be able to advertise the show, plus inside at the entrance desk you can display your flyers alongside everyone else’s, and as previously mentioned this venue has a lot of through traffic.

Conclusions: Cabaret Voltaire would be my prime recommendation for the PBH Free Fringe, the three spaces differ in their layout and style and this is great within what is essentially one venue. You get great exposure due to its location and the staff were very helpful and accommodating. There is a slight issue for me with Speakeasy, it is a hard space to manage and work in, with certain issues with technicalities and space, but even in spite of this it still offers a strong performance space for a one person act or even a technically light ensemble.

Advice: Make sure that you are open to helping others in the spaces; the turnaround for all of us is tight so any assistance is always welcomed and in some cases needed. This need increases in a space like Cabaret Voltaire where three shows are running at the same time, if you are in the two downstairs spaces keep in mind the noise bleed that occurs, it is not a case of altering your artistic approach, it is about working to the PBH ethos. In the Speakeasy help the next act to find what is needed technically, see if they are having any issues and help in any way possible.

Big thanks to Tom and Stuart who seemed to win the favours of everyone performing there, due to their never ending passion to help and put people at ease.


Greg – Suicide & Crumble
greg21
 
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Joined: February 2011

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