Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Nearly-gigs.

The fact I had to cancel Monday's gig goes to show how much harder it is to get an audience in London than anywhere else.

"Now Showing..."

To be fair, that’s a little simplistic. London is saturated with previews at this time of year, with many far more well-established performers vying (yes: “vying”) for attention, so it’s always going to be difficult; it’s a process you just have to go through to pull a show together, but an expensive one at that.

The preview procedure is a bit of a lottery; you start by putting as many dates as you can in the diary, striking a balance between places you’ve played before and a few you haven’t, taking into account which venues are cheapest, which have their own audience and which are best equipped. The Etcetera (where Monday and Tuesday’s dates are booked) is one of the best spaces for me, as it’s perfect for comedy, has a good profile and has a projector and a screen rigged and a proper PA, whereas somewhere like The Actors’ Temple (where I’m at on Sunday) is a great room to perform in, has a projector and screen but no PA. It’s also more known for theatre by very nature of being a drama school, whereas the Etcetera presents a bit of everything and is one of the main venues on the Camden Fringe.

The downside to it all is you have to treat each date like it will go ahead, spending time and money on promoting it, knowing full well it may not happen and that you shouldn’t dwell on it if it doesn't. Using the Etcetera dates as an example, I paid to hire the space, for posters to be printed, for a technician to run it and for my train ticket into town and have already had to pull one of my two shows there, but that’s okay (he says through gritted teeth); it was an educated risk that still has its uses, particularly if Tuesday’s show goes ahead. It’s certainly not personal to me when there’s so much competition and the dates are at the wrong end of the week. What's frustrating is I only needed a handful of people for it to happen, as a party of two did come, which was obviously too few to do it. Just another booking would have been enough to make it comfortable.

At least I spoke to the couple that came, one of whom is based in Edinburgh, and offered them comps should they ever come again. Hopefully they will; if they do, I hope they’re not on their own again or they’ll think I’m a social outcast; I am one, of course, but I don’t want them to know it.

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