Hoopla at The Standing Order

Performer reviews of their venues/shows/experience in 2008

Hoopla at The Standing Order

Postby Hoopla » 08 Oct 2008, 21:29

Hoopla Improvisation Show
The Standing Order, George Street


Bloody hell, it went really well. Much better than we thought it was going to go. We thought we would playing to one man and his dog each night, and booed/barked off stage, but we actually ended up with a full audience most shows and we seemed to go down well. We learnt loads and loved it, thank you Peter.

THE VENUE – The Standing Order

It’s a great venue, no doubt about it.
The room is attached to one of the biggest pubs in Edinburgh, which seems to be full up almost all day. The two seated areas of the pub especially seem to be full of people who want to come and see the shows.
It’s also next to the Assembly Rooms George Street, which makes it a great place to catch passing traffic. In addition to this it also has a back entrance onto Rose Street.
The actual performance room was great. It’s a nice simple rectangle shape, with a decent high stage and curtains to close the room off from the rest of the pub. They had a bar at the back but this was rarely used, which was a good decision as it gave more focus to shows. The only possible improvement would be to block the natural light coming in with big black sheets and have more stage lights – it wasn’t a big deal but that would make it feel less like a pub and more like a theatre.
Paul Ricketts did a great job as venue captain, with very little time to set things up on the morning of the first shows he took control and we got it done.


At first they seemed a bit cautious of the shows, it was a new venue. Very rapidly they got really into it though and within two days were making posters to put outside and printing additional fliers. They were great, really friendly and supportive.


This was the biggest education for us, as it was a totally different audience from our usual London shows. They were generally very friendly, but the main difference is they have no responsibility, which is a good thing.
It’s a free show, there are no doors on the room, and there are a hundred of other things going on around the place. So most of them haven’t entered thinking ‘I really want to see this’, they are more thinking ‘let’s see what’s this all about for a bit’.
If they enjoy it, they stay. If they don’t, they go. If a show goes really well, even more people arrive. It was a great lesson in how to maintain attention.
Rather than starting with big huge introductions and forced applause, we actually found it best to start of slow but friendly. Welcoming people in was really helpful, and the simple act of just getting up and saying ‘Good evening, welcome to the Free Fringe, this next act is blah blah and they are going to be doing blah blah’ in a simple manner really settled the audience.
The best thing about the crowd was they were a proper audience. They weren’t other performers, Londoners, or drama student – they were very local to Edinburgh, totally mixed ages and backgrounds. It was really cool.
When a show went well the crowd would be very forthcoming in coming up to say thanks and complimenting us, which felt a bit magic really!


It was a pleasure to be in-between Rowan Campbell and Bob Slayer, they are both great. They both were doing amazing jobs of collecting money for and promoting other shows. The audience loved Rowan, especially the Edinburgh locals, which was also great for us as we were after him. As for Bob, I have no idea where he gets the energy from, he was going at it night after night. Both awesome.
And then later on we had Mr. Methane – again we thought he was hilarious. This was so well suited to the venue too. In fact the venue at times had the feel of an old Music Hall, it was that kind of performing style. It worked having a mix of shows rather than just straight stand up, and made people more likely to stay – well done Peter for doing this.


We hadn’t been to Edinburgh before, so we experimented a bit, but what seemed to work best for The Standing Order and other venues in the area was:

- Flyering with free fringe program outside the half price hut. You can’t go up to the hut, but you can stay on the pavement nearest and most people take one. We could have done with more Free Fringe programmes, as most venues seemed to run out before the end. I suppose this could be done with more advertising sales.
- Flyering outside the Assembly in George Street before show.
- Flyering people walking past and walking into Standing Order.
- Just before show walking around Standing Order inviting people in, it wasn’t actually a hard sell, most of the time just saying the basics of ‘free show’ fifteen minutes was enough.
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2008

Postby bobslayer » 18 Oct 2008, 15:35

You know perfectly well where I get my energy from - its all cider!
It was super following you guys
Posts: 8
Joined: April 2008

Postby Hoopla » 17 Nov 2008, 13:21

Cider is a great secret weapon to have.

I thought I had also put some notes about our workshop but must have forgotten, so here are workshop notes:

Hoopla Improvisation Workshop
The Phoenix, Broughton Street

This was also fun but probably not as well suited to venue as our show. We were running a daily impro workshop, the idea being to attract performers at Edinburgh and also people who wanted to do more than just watch things.

We thought there would be loads of such people but it turned out to be not as popular as show. There are obviously loads of performers in Edinburgh, but as we rapidly learnt most are tied up with performing in their own shows or promoting. So given any spare time people are more likely to want to have a rest or watch something for fun.

Also we found audiences had a thirst for watching stuff but not doing stuff, so it was harder than we thought to attract people to come.

The venue staff were friendly and supportive but just being that extra 10 minutes away from things makes it hard for people to put the effort in and get there. I also think it's hard doing a workshop in a pub, as begineers would benefit from being in more a private rehearsal space to stop feeling self concious.

Also, rather than putting it in the comedy section we would put it in the different section, there were some other workshops listed in a different section.

From a personal point of view we (Steve and Ed) enjoyed doing it as it gave us the chance to teach lots of workshops to loads of varied people, and our confidence in doing this rose dramatically.

I think Ed is up for doing workshops again at Edinburgh but I'd have a tendency to just focus on shows and performing, because I was getting knackered doing both.
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Joined: May 2008

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