14:00 The Impenetrable Click (Venue Captain)

14:00 The Impenetrable Click (Venue Captain)

Postby Sarah Cassidy » 21 Nov 2011, 20:06

The venue space was erected with portable walls and sacks of cardboard in the corner of Bar 50, which is part of a bar connected with a Smart City Hostel. It was a good space because of the high traffic from the hostel, and its proximity to the Royal Mile meant that flyering was relatively easy. The venue is in a good area but in somewhat of a hidden courtyard that could be easy to walk by unnoticed. I would highly recommend placing a small map on anyone's flyer to assist people in finding the venue. More signage on both the Cowgate and Blackfriars entrances would be advisable for next year.

As a first time free-fringer and venue captain, the biggest surprise was that our performance space was being built the day before the show. The hours leading up to the first show on Saturday morning were spent stuffing sacks full of cardboard in order to soundproof the gap between the portable walls and ceiling. The walls were lightweight and needed to be pushed back into place over the course of the month, along with the curtain door. Max and Rachael probably did the most to help in this regard, and I thank everyone who contributed to keeping alive a space which needed a lot of time to maintain. As our show was a sketch troupe of four members with a number of props and costumes, the stage area was not ideal for us as it was a bit cramped (this would have also been true in a number of other spaces, I acknowledge). From the guest stand-up spots I did in Bar 50 in other people's shows, it was a very intimate space to engage with an audience, despite its somewhat makeshift appearance. Noise pollution through the walls was a problem on some days, but as long as the level of noise was constant it was easy enough to ignore. We were not using mics and so this may have been less of a problem for shows using the sound equipment. There was one day when the noise became so distracting that the audience had difficulty engaging with the show and a group of people left. It would be better suited to straightforward stand-up shows who are using mics. This was previously suggested in show reports from last year, and I would reiterate this point.

Staff were helpful and often very busy. I would say that overall, the managers were understanding and courteous. They treated the performance space as a separate entity and left us to our own devices. The performer discount at the bar & restaurant was greatly appreciated!

We advertised in the FF guide and we tried to flyer for about an hour before the show every day. I have no idea if a later showtime would have meant higher audience numbers for our particular. Audiences ranged all ages, if anything the young adult hostel crowd was not really awake yet at 2pm. We had difficulty filling the show but it could be said that we did not flyer as rigorously as we should have because our sketch show required a great deal of setup every day. Our smallest audience was less than 8, the largest about 25-30.

As a sketch show with a number of props and costumes, we learned that in the future we will have to scale things down for convenience, as our own difficulty in organisation backstage translated to some hiccups on stage.

However the show went, we typically made about £2 a head. We were always happy with it but we never had any plans to live off of the takings.

The venue provided the PA system including speakers, one mic, mic stands and soundboard. The equipment functioned well, we had no problems with it.

As was mentioned in other show reports, there were too many emails from other free fringers. One major suggestion is that I think all show announcements advertising stage time should have to post this information on the fringe forum. This will lead to people checking the forum more often in search of stage time, which is how the regional comedy forums operate and stay healthy. Perhaps major announcements should be posted on the forum instead of through email, with emails sent out as a courtesy notification that people should check the forum. This will ensure better privacy for people's email addresses.

Because of email traffic or due to a forwarding error, I did not receive an important email for venue captains right before the beginning of the month and this led to delays and confusion on the setup day, for which I apologise to everyone. I tried my best to keep good contact with everyone over text and emails throughout the month, and everyone was good at responding to me when I needed them.

Thank you so much to everyone at Bar 50 for your help and support throughout the month, it was a truly enriching experience and I can't wait to see you all again in August.
Sarah Cassidy
Posts: 4
Joined: June 2011

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