Charmian Hughes: The Ten Charmandments 6.40pm

Charmian Hughes: The Ten Charmandments 6.40pm

Postby Charmian Hughes » 30 Aug 2011, 13:31

VENUE: The music room is a lovely intimate low ceilinged little self contained room with a bar in the basement of the Banshee Labyrinth. It is accessed two ways, one directly from the staircase by the front door, and the other through a door from a passageway which is part of the 'labyrinth' at the back of the pub. For this reason you can get the odd 'loose punter' wandering around lost, and on occasions I was asked directions from such in the middle of my show!
It's possible to shut the door onto the staircase, but then you put off any latecomers of which there were many (see below 'visibility of venue'). Roughly It has a full capacity of about 35-40 with seats, alcove seating and standing, but looks quite busy if only 10 people are sitting.

PERFORMANCE SPACE: The music room has a low stage the width of the room, which was perfect for my needs.
There is a storage cupboard on the ground floor where props can be left.

A minor problem was Get-in -was only 10 minutes and because even with house lights the stage is quite dark, could be frantic preparing stage if running late. Personally I emptied my bucket straight into carrier bag and counted it once left music room and would advise all future acts to do this as think as a new audience comes into that tiny window between shows it's chaotic otherwise. On a couple of occasions I didn't set my stuff up properly in the rush and had tech problems later in the show.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT: The music room had good lights, two mikes, leads for mp3 players that could be operated from stage, though mp3 had a bit of a problem every night, was better operated from the box at the back. My laptop refused to work from the stage so I switched to mp3.

VENUE STAFF. absolutely brilliant, helping out beyond the call of duty, really getting into spirit of show and solved any problems with mp3's etc.

ADVERTISING: Fringe programme, PBH Free Fringe programme, flyers, posters. Had a mention in the Scotsman Diary, one on-line blogger review . Targetted my flyers and didnt do blanket flyering. It was just me doing it.

AUDIENCE NUMBERS: Had some full capacity weekends, some mid-week dips of 8-12, built up more consistently towards the end as I got braver about chatting to the people I flyered.

SHOW ITSELF: This was a very learning experience, performing to different numbers and ages of people. The show improved all the time. There is no greater indicator of where the show dips than the feeling that if this audience loses its attention it will walk! I got to thinking on my feet, cutting and adding and improvising. This room was perfect for my show and the capacity perfect for my growing confidence and the days when I felt low too.

BUCKETS: Buckets reflected the way I presented my bucket speech. An audience early in the festival gave me one tenth of what the same capacity audience gave me a week later! It was all in the spiel and I got better at it. Only students were a bit mean but I like to think they had seen lots and lots of free shows and had just divided their little money equally!


These are a few points to do with improving both the Banshee Labyrinths visibility from the outside and organising the punters within!

The planner at front of house was too small- I often had to redirect audiences out of my room into the correct show, or had them wandering in and wandering out again or had my audience coming in late cos they had started out in a different room.

I think a bigger blackboard outside the venue would correct this, listing Who, When, Where in parallel lines with a diagram plan of the interior of the Banshee Labyrinth.. I also liked what they did at The Canons Gait with a chain across the stairs and a sign to get people to wait for the next show.
-maybe a 'please wait in the bar till you are called'?
External Visibility-I think people found the venue hard to find, though not the street. Our Venue Number was not visible from the top of the street as people made their way down looking for the free shows- the street is a short-cut between the Royal Mile and Cowgate but it wasn't that obvious that it was a Free Fringe Venue unless closely inspected.

There was a lot of board space outside the venue belonging I assume to the pub and I wonder if next year we could coordinate to properly wallpaper paste our posters so it made a proper board for the venue. Just the Tonic kept putting posters up on it and it didnt seem like it was related to our venue, but a proper takeover of that board would give a more coherent appearance to the Banshee Lab shows with equal space for all performers at the venue. We could perhaps use those boards for the suggested big board/ index/map .

These are just suggestions because I found The Banshee Labyrinth and The Music Room a really lovely venue and enjoyed playing there so much.!! I think it could grab even more passing trade with greater PBH Free Fringe visibility.

DAYS OFF: By taking all mondays off I think I lost momentum. I think the middle monday was fine to take off, but the first one unnecessary as I hit the ground running on the saturday and then took too early a breather. I think mondays are probably busier than I suspected as weekenders will include monday in their visit. The last monday was unnecessary cos again I was on a bit of a roll. Except for the middle monday where I took a lovely day out, I really missed not doing a show on the other ones!
Charmian Hughes
Posts: 18
Joined: March 2011

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