Should we take a part in the Brighton Fringe? See email


Postby PBH » 12 Nov 2011, 00:11

What do you think?
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Re: Opinions?

Postby Charmian Hughes » 12 Nov 2011, 12:11

Peter asked me to post some thoughts re this that I sent him by email as I did the Brighton fringe last year, so here goes -

2012 Laughing Horse put on a paid/ticketed venue system for Brighton fringe which worked out as 15 quid per performance. (I think the higher fees PBH refer to are mainstream things going on). LH have quite a few venues and it worked out as quite a cheap way of doing it- it's not a free fringe though.(though participants can choose not to charge their audience)

This venue fee included good equipment, with professional - standard stage set up and lighting and poster distribution throughout the LH venues. It was up to the performer how much they charged per ticket tor if they charged at all.

Registering with the fringe gets you into the Brighton brochure (paper and online) cost for 2012 not announced yet. .
I had (far too many- you only need 500)leaflets printed, in additon I had some posters, I also contacted lots of online mags covering the fringe.

Doing four consecutive sunday afternoon shows was for me a very good way to develop and warm up a show, but nothing like Edinburgh and not the audience to sustain lots of shows I thought. I charged about four pounds, maybe it was 3.50, choosing a ticket price that would be comparable to the bucket contribution of an enthused individual audience member. My punters varied between 7 and 21 in number. I more or less broke even if I didnt count the hot chocolates I consumed hanging around Brighton.

There are not huge ticket prices to compete with, like in Edinburgh. the cost of going to a paid show is quite reasonable. I felt there just wasnt a big floating audience looking for somewhere to go. Some of the people I leafleted were unaware there was any festival going on at all! They were there for the day to see the seaside or go shopping.

Leafleting is limited to one street by the draconian fringe laws and there aren’t a lot of people to take leaflets.
I leafleted in the dreary lane where the fringe box office was for a couple of hours on arrival each Sunday (i did the quadrant at 4.pm ish for the four Sundays of may)
I know some shows did very well indeed in the evening, but there were some that didnt get a single punter and cancelled.
While Brighton itself bigged itself up as a fringe city, I think the residents were a bit bemused by it all!

One thing that made it a bit of a drag is unlike Edinburgh you don't move there for the duration. I was gong up and down to do my shows which meant keeping a hands on the self publicity was very difficult.

I wonder if a single large venue running PBH free fringe shows all day long - perhaps each show running four times during the duration of the fringe- with a highly publicised and visible poster board outside the venue so that the venue itself was the centre of attention and punters knew there was a whole programme of free shows there, would be the way to go? consolidation of exisitng audience would be the key and the high visibility of the venue paramount!
Charmian Hughes
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