Test Tube Comedy (Dec Munro)

Test Tube Comedy (Dec Munro)

Postby DecMunro » 13 Sep 2011, 23:03

This was the Buffs Club first year as a Festival venue. Overall I absolutely loved being there and would utterly recommend it. For me it completely captured the spirit of the Fringe and was a fantastic venue with incredibly friendly, helpful and kind staff and other acts who were really decent and funny people (I'd single out Paul B. Edwards, MJ Hibbett and Steve, Robin Ince, Joe Hullait and the Cheshire sketch guys particularly).

I had, originally, asked to do one show "Test Tube Comedy" (8.45-9.45) and a spot came up at 6.15-7.15 so I took this show up too ("Edinburgh Must Sees"). Both were mixed bill shows with Test Tube having the more established acts (it runs in London each month and they generally came from the acts that play at the Canal Cafe).

The comments therefore apply for both shows.

- The performance area - stage, separate room, open air?
A masonic lodge with a separate (and very cheap) bar.

- The team of staff at the venue - did they assist the shows? Did the show get in the way of the normal business etc?
The staff were fantastic. Really helpful, friendly and they consistently went way beyond and above.

- How you advertised your show - Fringe brochure, flyering, posters, word of mouth etc
Did all these things. I'm certain that personal flyering and the PBH brochure brought in the majority. There was also a sense between the acts of trying to help each other and keep audiences.

- How your shows went in terms of audience numbers - solid numbers every show? Did it vary by day? Affected by weather?
20 plus generally and full Friday. Saturday and Sunday.

- Your show itself - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
I run variety shows in London - generally they went really really well fortunately.

- Buckets - we don't need accounts, but how were the donations to the buckets - bad, good, generous
I didn't have a good closing pitch after the "headline act" - I think this would have made a difference. Overall I was happy with the buckets each time and didn't want to "squeeze" crowds. That said - next year I'd definitely focus on getting a pitch at the end..

- Technical set-up at the venue - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
The tech was great and there's a back room to hold/store stuff. A great room for comedy I thought.

- Admin & Communication process (between Free Fringe, Captains, Venues and you) - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change
This was done really well. There were issues on the first day with getting the programme but it didn't make a big difference in the end.

- Any other learning points for anyone involved - what worked, what didn't work, what needs to change

One thing I would say about the venue is that you don't get "walk ins". Its a strange venue but one I loved with fantastic staff - there are probably others where a well promoted show with strong line ups would tend to fill due to walk ins (it was that way at the venue Test Tube Comedy was in last year) but the beers are cheap, the staff are amazing, the other acts were uniformly friendly and it felt special.

Also, the venue put up a board outside after the first week - this increased the amount of people who could find the place (its on the 2nd floor below a hostel). Definitely worth speaking to them about doing this again next year.
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