Yianni Agisilaou in 'The Universe: A User's Guide'

Yianni Agisilaou in 'The Universe: A User's Guide'

Postby Yianni Agisilaou » 03 Dec 2010, 10:38

I performed my show 'The Universe: A User's Guide' in the Cabaret Voltaire Smaller downstairs room. My experiences follow.

Being so close to both the Royal Mile, Hunter Square and Cowgate was very useful for flyering. Also, having three venues in the same building allowed you to sometimes nab a few people walking out of earlier shows which allowed for punter retention. Great location.

The venue itself was small, intimate and felt full even with a small crowd. However this really only applies to the upper part of the room (see cons below)

Staff were always supportive and helpful, if slightly low in number, especially when it was busy (Saturdays!) I never had a problem changing my coins for notes after shows.

I had the Magic Faraway Cabaret before me and the Comedy World War on afterwards. Both shows were always helpful and supportive and it was a pleasure to work with them

We had 'sound proof curtains' initially but these were removed because of fire restrictions (?) and subsequently there was a LOT of noise bleed during my show, especially because the show in the larger venue was music heavy. Next door asked me to ask my punters to keep quiet whilst leaving so it was obviously a two way issue. The sound bleed was very noticeable and had an impact on the enjoyment of the show.

Probably specific to my show but I had a star projector which projects a night sky onto any dark, flat roof. Unfortunately my roof had an air conditioner on it which slightly lessened the effect.

What also lessened the effect was the segmentation between the upper area and the lower area. The room was set up so that people on the lower level had a significantly less enjoyable experience than those closer to the stage. The back of the room truly held 'the cheap seats'. Attention levels were much lower for people in the back and I definitely noticed more walkouts from that area, which - having watched other shows from that vantage point - I can understand. The room is essentially 30 good seats and 15 odd average seats and 15 odd poor seats.

It was a constant battle to have any sort of consistent publicity in the venue. Posters were taken down nightly and you had to get into an annoyingly unnecessary habit of repopulating the area with posters, flyers, etc

Not a problem in the self-contained Speakeasy, the fact that there were two venues downstairs did cause some confusion. Punters needed constant guidance as to which venue was which and this wasn't helped by the nightly removal of our signs listing the shows. Plus Cab Vol is fairly labyrinthine. Having show posters around more would help, as much of the time you would think you were in the wrong venue as all you would see was nightclub posters.

The stage is quite small and - if you have people downstairs - the room layout leaves very tight sightlines which limits your potential movements around it if you want everyone to be able to see you. Thus, it suits a stand up show where the acts don't move much more than it does any show which requires movement/wings/etc

What was good about the venue was very good and I enjoyed performing there, especially as I really got on with the shows before and after me. I probably wouldn't want to perform there next year, but that is only because the show I'm planning requires a more 'theatre' style venue. For stand up shows, I can highly recommend, especially if the sound bleed issue can be resolved.
Yianni Agisilaou
Posts: 5
Joined: June 2010

Re: Yianni Agisilaou in 'The Universe: A User's Guide'

Postby PBH » 03 Dec 2010, 22:10

It always concerns me when things can be better, and here we have such an instance. Yianni's shows are good ones, and I'm glad to have them on board. If there are problems that make them less effective than they ought to be, that's a pity. But I cannot remember the circumstances which led to his getting this particular venue; whether it was a late application, or whether, not having used that venue before, we did not know enough about it. Nobody should expect perfection from our venues.

I have discussed the issue of noise leakage with the entertainments manager for the group that owns Cabaret Voltaire. I have asked Tom Bellhouse, who was venue captain for 2010, to continue the liaison so that we can find a solution. If no solution can be found, we will only use the large room in 2011, but we need space so I am hopeful of a feasible solution.

One thing is definitely decided: assuming we use both rooms, shows will start at the same time in both and not have staggered start times as in 2010. By these means the effect of noise due to show changeovers will be minimised. And we shall have one captain per stage, not one for the whole venue as this year.

I have also spoken to the entertainments manager about the issue of posters. There is no perfect solution to this, relating as it does to the use of the space as a nightclub after we've finished. But the management are aware of it.

As always, things improve with repetition. I think Cabaret Voltaire is a very good complex of venues, and there is willingness on their management's part to make it better for us. Given that nothing can be perfect, I still maintain that this is very good space.

I hope everybody realises that these show reports are important, and they're used to help improve things in the venues for future years.

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