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My 2015 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers!

March 24, 2016 5 comments

 
 
My 2015 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers!
 
As it is tax season, I am finally getting to my fringe receipts for last summer.
 
These are the numbers with which Andrew Wade traveled to five different cities and performed in their Fringe Festivals.
In 2013, I estimated that I SPENT 1671.16$ more on my tour in expenses than I earned.
In 2014 I figured that I earned a grand total of 83.51$ after travelling through five festivals.
 
So how did I do on my summer tour of 2015?
 
 

Toronto audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

The Most Honest Man In The World - option 2b - Copy# of performances: 7
Total # of audience members: 156
(this number is actually lower — skewed by artist comps not used by people for 1st and 2nd performances)
Average # of audience members per performance: 22 (without 1st comps: 17)
# of comps given away to 1st show to try and build word of mouth: 30
# of comps given away to 2nd show to try and build word of mouth: 10
# of comps to media: 3
# of artist comps (it is SUPER awkward to get other artists comps in Toronto): 5
# of comps to outreach (including to a group of new immigrants): 21
# of comps to VIPS (like artistic directors): 9
# of comps to volunteers: 11
Total # of paying audience members: 11 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 4 + 15 + 15 = 66
Average @ of paying audience members per performance: 9
 

Saskatoon audience numbers
(for William vs The World):

WilliamvsTheWorld - image 01# of performances: 7
Total # of audience members: 120
Average # of audience members per performance: 17
# of comps to fringe staff: 0
# of comps to fellow performers: 37

# of comps to media: 1
# of volunteer comps: 20
Total # of paying audience members: 6+11+8+11+8+6+11 = 61
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 9

(last year’s average of paying ticket holders for Honest Man in Saskatoon was 21.)
 
Nanaimo audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

# of performances: 6
Total # of audience members: 82
Average # of audience members per performance: 14
# of comps to VIPs: 13
# of comps to ‘Buck’ (volunteer bucks?): 6
# of comps to artists via password: 9
Total # of paying audience members: 0 + 14 + 11 + 12 + 6 + 9 = 54
(yes, I had zero paying ticket holders to my first performance. Seven comps, though.)
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 9
 
Victoria audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

# of performances: 6
Total # of audience members: 26 + 19 + 34 + 25 + 18 + 47 = 169
Average # of audience members per performance: 28
# of comps: 11 + 4 + 6 + 8 + 6 + 10 = 45
Total # of paying audience members: 124
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 21
 
Vancouver audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

(Note: the venue could only hold between 30-39 people. The capacity expanded mid-run.)
# of performances: 8 (due to being a BYOV)
Total # of audience members: 238
Average # of audience members: 30
Smallest house: 9
Second smallest house: 25. No one comes out to a 1pm Saturday show apparently.)
# of advance comps: 15
# of artist’s choice comps (videographer): 1
# of comps plus membership purchase: 10 (no income to me on these.)
# of comps to media: 2
# of comps to Rush Passes: 38
# of comps to Super Passes: 5
# of comps to Kick Ass Passes: 6
# of comps to Golden Ass Passes: 3

# of Frequent Fringer 10 or 30 packs: 11
# of Frequent Fringer 4 packs: 11
# of regular tickets sold (with or without memberships): 13 + 12 + 2 + 12 + 22 + 19 + 31 + 25 = 136
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 17

(Vancouver has a LOT of ticket categories!)
 
 
Honest Man advertisement for TITUS program
 
 
EXPENSES:
 
 
Failed Fringe Application Fees:
Winnipeg: -20.00$
Edmonton: -26.25$
CAFF: -25.00$
Total: -71.25$

Toronto Fringe Expenses:
Application fee: -27.50$
Festival fee: -750.00$
Flight to Toronto: -334.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -50.55$
Weekly transit pass: -40.75$
Gift of pillow for billet: -10.00$
Booze = -10.00$
1/2 of cost of flight to Saskatoon: -121.65$
1/2 of Baggage fee of flight to Saskatoon: ~-16.58$
Total: -1374.30$
 
Saskatoon Fringe Expenses:
11780505_10153160690958155_1082156576_n
Festival Fee: -730.00$
1/2 of cost of flight to Saskatoon: -121.65$
1/2 of Baggage fee of flight to Saskatoon: ~-16.58$
Photoshoot cactus prop: -5.59$
Chuck the Cactus in Saskatoon: -11.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -53.94$
Bottle of Fireball Whiskey for my spoof on Spoof Night: -15.95$
Booze = -6.00$
Flight home from Saskatoon: -185.98$
Baggage fee from Saskatoon: -26.25$
Total: -1186.21$

 
Nanaimo Fringe Expenses:
Application Fee: -25.00$
Festival Fee: -175.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (500) from ePrintFast: -39.98$
Booze: -9.26$ + -5.70$ + -6.30$ + -20.00$ = -41.26$
Ferry to Nanaimo (with bike): -18.85$
Ferry from Nanaimo (with bike): -16.85$
Total: -330.21$

 
Victoria Fringe Expenses:
Festival application fee: -28.00$
Festival fee: -572.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Rechargeable batteries for blood pressure monitor: ~-19.00$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -44.07$
Booze from the store: -25.37$
Other booze: -7.40$ + -10.00$ = -17.40$
Ferry to Victoria: -16.70$
Ferry from Victoria: -16.70$
Ferry from Nanaimo (had to head down to Victoria via the mainland mid-Nanaimo-festival for a promo): -16.70$
Bus tickets to/from the Showdown Preview: -6.00$
Bus from ferry: -2.50$
Bus to ferry: -2.50$
Ferry back to Nanaimo: -16.85$
Total: -813.76$


 
Vancouver Fringe Expenses:
Application fee: -50.00$
BYOV Festival fee to the Fringe: -450.00$
BYOV Festival fee to Arts Umbrella: -400.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: 44.07$
Booze: -11.00$
Total: -968.34$

 
Other Expenses:
Travel insurance (admittedly including a two week visit to the States) = -91.98$
Professional photoshoot with Dominic Chan for both shows: -140.00$
Foamcore Posterboards (for all Honest Man shows): -22.29$
Index Cards (for all Honest Man shows): -7.04$
Total: -261.31$
 
Expenses not considered:
Rent paid back home
– Groceries while on tour and between festivals, at home
– Lost income from not working my dayjobs
 
TITUS-banner2-1-980x380
 
 
INCOME:
 
Toronto Fringe:
Advance Ticket Price: 12$ with 2$ Admin fee = 10$ to artist
Full Ticket Price: 10$
(which they thankfully didn’t advertise so much this year as in years past as being amazing because it has never gone up in 20 years, to which all artists respond with ‘inflation is a real thing, you guys’…)
5-Play Ticket Price: 8$
Advance Pass Ticket Price: 7.5$
10-Play Ticket Price: 7.5$

Advance Pass (’10SP85′ and ’10SPOF’ on paysheet) ticket sales: 9 = 67.50$
10-Play ticket sales: 1 = 7.50$
5-Play ticket sales: 1 = 8.00$
At Door and FP (??) ticket sales: 7 + 4 + 4 + 8 + 4 + 14 + 14 = 55 = 550.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 9.60$
Total: 633.00$
 
Saskatoon Fringe:
(all numbers confused by the festival removing GST from payout)
Full Ticket Price: 14$
5 Pack Ticket Price: 13$
10 Pack Ticket Price: 12$
Admin fee per ticket: -2$
Artist take-home of ticket price: 10$-12$
Advance ticket sales (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 10 tickets = 120.00$
5 Pack ticket sales (13$ – 2$ = 11$ per ticket): 2 tickets = 22.00$
10 Pack ticket sales (12$ – 2$ = 10$ per ticket): 6 tickets = 60.00$
Ticket sales at door (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 43 tickets = 516.00$

GST awkwardly deducted (the only festival to do so): -39.99$
Audience donation!: 10.00$
Found a 20$ bill in a gutter one night: 20.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 11.77$
Total: 708.01$

 
Nanaimo Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 12$
Festival Pass Ticket Price: 8$
Advance ticket sales (12$): 7 = 84.00$
Regular ticket sales (12$): 15 = 180.00$
Festival pass ticket sales (8$): 32 = 256.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 9.29$
Total: 520.00$

 
Victoria Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 11$
‘Munch’ Ticket Price: 11$
Frequent Fringer Ticket Price: 8$
(I did not elect to use discounted tickets for students/seniors, which was an option.)

Total Frequent Fringer ticket sales: 9 = 72.00$
Total Full + Munch ticket sales (advance and at the door): 115 = 1265.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 10.79$
Total: 1337.00$


 
Vancouver Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 14$
Frequent Fringer 4 Ticket Price: 13$
Frequent Fringer 10/30 Ticket Price: 12$
Admin fee per ticket on all tickets: -3$
Artist take-home of ticket prices: 9$-11$

Total Frequent Fringer 10 or 30 pack ticket sales (9$ per ticket to artist): 11 = 99.00$
Total Frequent Fringer 4 pack ticket sales (10$ per ticket to artist): 11 = 110.00$
Regular ticket sales (11$ per ticket to artist): 136 = 1496.00$
Total Vancouver ticket sales to artist: 1705.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 10.80$
 
Income for writing TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus: 1000.00$
Total: 2705.00$

 
 
Honest Man - wide arms 700x350
 
 
Total Expenses (including travel costs):
Failed Fringe application fees: -71.25$
Toronto expenses: -1374.30$
Saskatoon expenses: -1186.21$
Nanaimo expenses: -330.21$
Victoria expenses: -813.76$
Vancouver expenses: -968.34$
Other expenses: -261.31$
 
Total: -5005.38$
 
 
Total Income:
Toronto income: 633.00$
Saskatoon income: 708.01$
Nanaimo income: 520.00$
Victoria income: 1337.00$
Vancouver income: 2705.00$
Total: 5903.01$

 
 
FINAL FINANCIAL VERDICT: +897.63$
(due entirely to the 1000$ fee paid for writing TITUS.)

 
Compare to 2014’s +83.51$
Compare to 2013’s -1671.16$
 
 
Conclusion:
It seems that as a producer/performer, I am still only a roughly break-even fringe artist. Plane tickets are expensive, Toronto is a hard nut to crack, and Saskatoon doesn’t want a show-in-progress.
 
As a writer, well, it seems I need to get commissioned to write shows more often.
 
 
WilliamvsTheWorld - image 02
 
 
Other numbers:
 
According to Toronto Fringe…
Total # of ticket sales at Toronto Fringe, according to them: 64,000.
Total # of dollars returned to Fringe artists, according to them: 467,000$.
Therefore, average ticket price return for an artist for Toronto Fringe: 7.30$ per ticket ‘sold’.
Note: this is below the supposed minimum of 8.5$ that an artist should be receiving from 10-play-pass purchasers, which implies that the festival heralds comp/free tickets as ‘sold’ tickets in its marketing.
 
5: TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus received a FIVE STAR REVIEW from The Vancouver Sun! It was also Picked as a Pick Of The Fringe!
 
3.5: The number of stars this iteration of William vs The World received from the StarPhoenix in Saskatoon.
 
17: I have been a part of 17 different fringe festivals since 2011. (2011: Victoria, Vancouver. 2012: Victoria. 2013: London, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon. 2014: Port Alberni, Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria, Vancouver. 2015: Toronto, Saskatoon, Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver. )
 
22: I have been a part of 22 different Fringe festival shows since 2011. (Directed BFA: The Musical! and Clutter and Contamination, Acted in Henry V, Stage-managed Sonnets For An Old Century, Wrote TITUS.)
 
 
Assorted Thoughts:
 
This summer began AWFUL and ended wonderfully. I was super worried after Toronto and Saskatoon, though. Ooof.
 
I can’t get my footing at Toronto Fringe. I just don’t know how to reach an audience there. I felt I had a good show, I had an amazing reception from audience members who came, but never found traction. Not sure I’ll go back unless I’m working with a local Torontonian.
 
Also, the Tarragon Theatre is ridiculously stingy with their furniture. I needed two chairs and a surface to put things on. I had to go wandering on garbage day to find chairs people were throwing out, because the theatre was unwilling to lend me a couple of their own. And then carry those back to my billet on my back to be hosed down/cleaned. Boooo.
 
Toronto Fringe is still THE WORST for trying to get other artists to see your show… they essentially don’t allow any artist comps unless you give them a specific name of a specific person hours before your show begins. Which just isn’t practical. And they wouldn’t let us artists all use a given name as a password of sorts, either. We tried.
 
I had one AMAZING experience at Toronto Fringe, though… a man came up to me after the show, in tears. He actually fell to his knees, then cried into my shoulder a bit. He was a new immigrant from Bolivia who really connected to a moment in the middle of my show when I talk about being the new person to French Immersion, knowing no one, and what courage it takes to do something as simple as start a conversation. It’s moments like that that are why I perform.
 
Okay, and moments like the night in Nanaimo when a pretty lady kissed me on the cheek after a night of karaoke. I’m a sucker for things like that.
 
And the dozen-deep cuddle-puddle of fringe artists by the bridge in Saskatoon at 3am.
 
My Saskatoon show was a rushed job. I fully admit it. I ended up with a good show, but I spent my first while in town finishing and memorizing the script… it’s a good show now, and it’ll be great when I revise it further for Vancouver Fringe this upcoming summer, but aye… I was inside learning lines instead of outside handing out flyers, and the numbers show this. I’m still not sure how to best market the show.
 
This year’s Saskatoon Fringe had the potential to be much the same, so I dropped out. I’ve done the last-minute-build challenge. The idea I’m percolating… I want to give it a year to workshop at home and improve and grow.
Saskatoon’s Spoof Night is still the best part of the entire Fringe tour.
 
Nanaimo Fringe had a steep discount for festival passes, lowering the actual ticket price considerably from the 12$ sticker price.
 
500 Handbills is about 350 handbills too many for Nanaimo.
 
Handbill cost variation is due to where they were being shipped (Saskatoon vs Toronto vs Vancouver) and due to whether they were being shipped together with other orders or separately.
 
The gamer in me loves that my final payout in Victoria was 1337.00$ (1337 = LEET = Elite)
 
Colin Thomas, the big Vancouver reviewer, saw Honest Man in Victoria, and liked it! Well, his review was essentially ‘This was much better than his last show.’ Which I guess is a compliment. He didn’t much care for The Hatter.
 
Vancouver Fringe was my first time ever selling out a house. Granted, it was a house of fewer than 40 seats, but still. Thank you.
 
Also, thank you to the tiny Vancouver Fringe audience of other performers who were willing to catch a Saturday afternoon performance just so that I wasn’t doing the show for two people. I put out a message on the fringe facebook thread and a half-dozen kind souls came over to see the show with them. I love this community.
 
It’ll be hard to see everyone else’s adventures on the tour this summer as I mostly take a backseat.
 
I am trying to get a venue lined up for a couple more performances of The Most Honest Man In The World here in town. Let me know if you have any leads (or can get the Dusty Flowerpot to get back to me)!
 
If you missed TITUS, it’s being remounted at The York this August! And a re-invigorated and refocused William vs The World will be at the Arts Umbrella once more for Vancouver Fringe.
 
 
Nanaimo Fringe wall of love 06crop
 
 

The final leg of the tour

September 9, 2015 Leave a comment

Hello!

Victoria Fringe closed on Sunday, followed on Monday by my moving from Richmond to Vancouver, followed on Tuesday by my tech rehearsal and opening night for Vancouver Fringe. Today I’m typing this out at a dayjob, performing in a Fringe Flame storytelling event this evening, and then both of my Vancouver Fringe shows open tomorrow night! Life keeps running forward. Eventually I hope to buy groceries.

Vancouver is the sixth and final leg in my 2015 summer tour (through Toronto Fringe, then an unfringey stop in Ann Arbor, then Saskatoon Fringe, then Nanaimo Fringe, and then Victoria Fringe), which has kept me more or less away since the end of June. I have much to reflect upon and write about, I’m sure, but reflection is something to be done after the fact! For now, still running around like a silly, silly man.

If you’re at all interested in coming to check out what I’ve been up to, here is some show information for both TITUS and Honest Man in my new home city!

The Most Honest Man In The World is a self-produced personal storytelling show about my life-long obsession with honesty and living life genuinely. If you ever wanted to know far too much about me, here’s your chance. This is the program blurb:

“In this life-long love story about the pursuit of honesty over all happiness, Andrew Wade builds a working lie detector machine and straps himself in. Using stories, music, apps, mementos, and tap shoes, Wade looks at old relationships and insecurities as he tries to learn how to honestly let go. What do you need to let go of?”

I ALSO have spent much of this past year writing the book and lyrics for a commissioned work, TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus, being produced by Awkward Stage Productions! In it, I take possibly Shakespeare’s grisliest play and aim to make it… happy! Here’s the program blurb:

BLOOD, GORE, DISMEMBERMENT.
Made you look! Now imagine it all set to music. Shakespeare’s grizzliest play renewed into the giddiest musical, exploring why violence is so darn entertaining. Appalled? Offended? But you know you want to see it. So tap and sing along to TITUS—more than a parody, more than an adaptation—it’s a bloody grand time. World premiere inspired by Monty Python, Conan, ‘90s rock, Parker & Stone, and classic slapstick. TITUS is a dark struggle for power and revenge—but why slit a throat when you can sing and dance right?

Information for both shows is below.

******

The Most Honest Man In The World - option 2b - Copy

The Most Honest Man In The World

LOCATION:
Arts Umbrella, Granville Island,
1286 Cartwright Street

TICKETS:
14$ + Fringe Membership
Available online at vancouverfringe.com and at the door.

SHOWTIMES: (show length: 65 minutes)
September 10th (Thurs) – 9:45pm September 15th (Tues) – 8:00pm
September 12th (Sat) – 8:00pm September 17th (Thurs) – 6:15pm
September 13th (Sun) – 1:00pm September 18th (Fri) – 6:15pm
September 13th (Sun) – 9:45pm September 19th (Sat) – 4:30pm

“This is a story about how to figure out the kind of truth that only art can help us understand, the kind we have to search within ourselves to figure out… it’s a wonderful, heartbreaking journey to go on with him.”
– myentertainmentworld.ca

and…

TITUS-banner2-1-980x380

TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus

LOCATION:
Firehall Arts Centre,
280 E Cordova St, Vancouver

TICKETS:
14$ + Fringe Membership
Available online at vancouverfringe.com and at the door.

SHOWTIMES: (show length: ~75-90 minutes)
September 10th (Thurs) – 8:00pm September 17th (Thurs) – 10:00pm
September 12th (Sat) – 7:30pm September 18th (Fri) – 5:00pm
September 13th (Sun) – 2:00pm September 19th (Sat) – 7:45pm
September 15th (Tues) – 6:30pm September 20th (Sun) – 2:45pm

Happy to be back home to share my shows with family and friends. Let me know what you think!

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

There’s no time like having no time.

July 4, 2015 2 comments

 
 
So much to do! So much to do! Just keep swimming… just keep swimming…
   
In the past month and a half I have:
1) performed in two very different showings of BALLS! at the rEvolver Festival,
2) workshopped two separate musicals: Carry On (the show being birthed from the 24 hour SMACKDOWN competition) and TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus,
3) acted out several parts of TITUS as part of a public reading for further feedback,
4) officiated my sister’s not-actually-official wedding on an island,
and
5) Opened The Most Honest Man In The World in an extended 75 minute edition as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.
 
Phew. Six more performances here in Toronto to go, as well as preparations for William vs The World in less than a month’s time in Saskatoon, plus more fringe stops in Nanaimo, Victoria, and Vancouver, as well as another TITUS draft sometime in the next couple of weeks.
 
Busy, busy!
 
Now to go handbill some more lines. Wish me luck!
 
(if you wish to come see The Most Honest Man In The World in Toronto, my facebook event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1619597668286790/ and I just received an excellent review from Mooney on Theatre, who called it “engaging, emotional, and oftentimes very funny.” Check out the review here: http://www.mooneyontheatre.com/2015/07/03/the-most-honest-man-in-the-world-spired-theatre-2015-toronto-fringe-review/ )
 
Cheers,
Andrew Wade
 
The Most Honest Man In The World - option 2b - Copy

Thank you for the tea parties.

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

       
A few years ago, I had a crazy idea. I had cloistered myself up in British Columbia, hid away in school for twenty straight years, I was anxious and worried that I wouldn’t get the chances to perform in the real world, once I graduated… so I made a plan. A crazy plan. I decided to write myself a one man show and take it across the country.
       
Andrew Wade 011bI had no idea if I could hold anyone’s attention for an hour. I had no idea if I could write a show that’d work. I threw every theatrical idea into the show, creating a mad, patchwork quilt of ideas, and then threw most of them out. I mostly improvised a run at Vancouver Fringe in 2011. I rewrote the darn thing from the ground up. And then I took a deep breath, spent thousands of dollars, and took my little hat and kettle show on the road. First year, I went to London, Ottawa, Toronto, and Saskatoon, spent over two months away from where I lived – the longest I had ever been on the road.
       
I got stuck backstage and had to pee in a water bottle a couple of minutes before my first performance. I sold exactly zero tickets to three of my first four performances. I was on greyhound buses for forty-three straight hours. I lost money. And it was worth it.
       
The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ONI also met with mentors and brilliant performers who just wanted to help me along my journey. I made friends, colleagues, and talent crushes. I was introduced to the ridiculous art of attempting to smuggle women into your billet’s place without them noticing. I discovered from my billets just how charitable people can be and how awesome retirement is for a lot of people. I traveled the country, flew for only the third time in ten years. I made a man in Saskatoon give me a great big hug, break down, and cry, then loudly whoop at everyone on the street to come see my show.
       
And then, this summer, I brought The Hatter home. ‘Previewed’ it in Port Alberni to an empty town full of good intentions, brought it to Regina and was fed fancy meats while swatting mosquitoes and having a grand ol’ time. Then came the real homecoming tour.
       
Next, I went to Saskatoon, which had welcomed me so warmly, it felt like home. There’s a reason I was able to perform the most personal work I’ve ever written, there: a new show, The Most Honest Man In The World. Me being me. And most people still called me The Hatter, anyhow.
       
Then came Victoria. The big gulp of nervous air, a city of people I had treasured for seven years, then skipped out on when my degree was up. Spent a quarter of my life there. Felt like I was awaiting their judgment, wanting the city, old friends, ex-girlfriends, to tell me I had made the right call, that I’d made something of myself, out there in that bigger ol’ world. And the people who matter, they gave me just that. And oddly, most reassuringly of all, Victoria, well, it didn’t feel like home anymore. The Hatter is a play about searching for home. In its first draft, it was muchly a play of regretting leaving someplace, some people, somewhere. Now, it’s not that.
       
Now, The Hatter is about moving on.
       
And here we are in Vancouver, at home, and The Hatter is about to hang up his hat. No future plans for him. Nothing set. Just one more celebration, tonight at 8:15pm.
       
Thank you for the tea parties.
       
       
The Hat

An interview on The Hatter and life in the real world with The Marble

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

       
The Hatter onstage in Regina - Photo by Shelby Lyn LoweBefore The Hatter hangs up his hat later today (perhaps forever?) with a show at 8:15pm, I wanted to add here my emailed responses to a rather well thought-out email interview/preview I had with Matthew at The Marble.

The preview can be found here: http://marblevictoria.com/post/95353607472/the-hatter-preview-matts-interview
       
1. Well it’s been a while since The University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre Department. What have you been up to since then?

I have been off in the great wide world! By which I mean, in the past three years, I have moved to the mainland, performed in 26 different productions for at least 16 different companies, taken three self-written one man shows (William vs The World, The Hatter, and The Most Honest Man In The World) to fringe festivals across the country (Victoria, Vancouver, London, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon (x2), Port Alberni, and Regina), directed a talent show and a new fringe musical, got nominated for an Ovation Award, was picked as one of Richmond’s ‘30 under 30’, stage managed or ASMed for five productions, had a story make it onto CBC Radio’s Definitely Not The Opera DNTO, acted in a couple of no-budget films, and learned the true meaning of Christmas. Okay, maybe not that last one. Oh, and I have a half-dozen or so part-time jobs that pay my rent and let me disappear whenever I get a theatre gig. Phew!
       
2. That Hatter’s been following your around a lot in the last few years (or at least that’s how it’s looked whenever I’ve had a chance to peak into what you’re doing.) How did the two of your first cross paths?

The Hatter and I actually first met at The Phoenix at UVic! A directing student, Rene Linares, asked myself, then a mere writing student, and Marynia Bienkowska-Gibbs (another writer), if we could write for him a play about Alice returning to Wonderland as a professional woman. This became a SATCo production. So we did! And as we wrote it, I found myself really connecting to The Mad Hatter, really enjoying writing for him.

So when it came next to write a new one man show, there was a satisfying hook there.
       
The Hatter in Port Alberni - photo by Cara Baldwin 023. I was tickled pink at the mention in your press release that you’ll be exploring the character’s, “serious emotional problems,” which could neatly sum up several personalities in the Alice series. Tell me, how much have you taken from the source material and what did you expand on?

When I was looking to write that new play to try and tour in Fringe festivals across the country, I also wanted to explore anger and what it means to lose control of oneself. If you’ve ever read or watched Alice in Wonderland, you know it can be succinctly summarised as ‘A whole bunch of characters yell at an innocent girl.’

In the story, Alice is rejected by many of the characters in Wonderland, and does all she can to escape it in turn. But what if someone landed in Wonderland, and never wanted to leave? And what if they were forced to go?

My writing philosophy also points me towards whatever scares me, and I remember one moment in high school where, without any thought or decision, I instinctively grabbed someone who was bullying me by the throat and shoved them into a chair. I was the most shaken up person about the whole moment, because… aye… it was like it wasn’t me, doing it. (Note: That’s the only time this has happened to me.)

But what about a character who has moments like that occurring throughout his life?
       
4. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered in your developing of the character, the most frustrating and, finally, the most fun?

The most surprising thing about the character of The Hatter, for me, is how desperately he wants everyone to be happy and jovial and delighted and wonderful. Figuring that out turned the show from a variety act into a story of a man trying his hardest to host a silly, happy party, but everything keeps going sideways.

The most frustrating part has been trying to connect this character with a wider audience. He looks like his should be a show for kids. But it’s not. Out of the first four performances I had in the London Fringe, the first time I really got the show on its feet… only one of those four performances had any purchased tickets. The tour picked up from there, but aye, a somewhat terrifying start. How can people know how good this show is, if no one comes?

The most fun part of developing this character, for me, is that he dives into everything, 100%, be that leading a singalong, telling a poem, summoning a Jabberwock, or trying to improvise a silly song on his own. Nothing quite works out the way he wants it to, but it is so much fun to give it a go. Also, I love those moments – such as when they have to step over broken plastic cutlery to get to their tea – when audience members realize that this isn’t a show like anything they’ve seen before.
       
5. The last time I saw you at the Victoria Fringe (2011) you were directing one show, acting in another and assisting in another. You looked savaged by the time it was over, but (other than the merits of organization) I’d like to hear what you took away from the experience and how you feel about your return to Vic Fringe?

I am SO looking forward to coming back! I consider this whole summer my home-coming tour in many ways; I’m returning to Saskatoon (where I had a 4.5 star review last summer), heading back to Victoria (my home for seven years), and then back to the mainland. And as for the mad experience of directing, stage managing, and writing/performing three different fringe shows at the same time, all I can say is, when I graduated, I was sorely worried that I wouldn’t get chances to work on theatre in the real world, so I made certain to say yes to every opportunity that came my way.

I still, mostly, live that way, and I don’t regret that decision in the slightest. Gotta be at the edge of your abilities to really grow and improve and evolve.
       
6. Tell me more about the actual show, what’s in store for the Mad Hatter?

After Alice left Wonderland, The Hatter found himself troubled by little sparks of memories rushing back at him, triggered by his his interactions with this small girl… and it isn’t long after that, that he wakes up one day and finds himself in the real world, in Victoria, and not in Wonderland at all. So he decides to host a Tea Party, the silliest, happiest tea party ever, a shard of Wonderland, to try and find a way back home. (And you’re invited!)
       
7. Now that’s you’re several years out of theatre school, I’d really like to hear your retrospective as well as any advice to young people starting up there or about to graduate and go into the big wide theatre world?

Be rabidly ambitious, endlessly cooperative, and calmly patient. Very few careers in this world happen right out of school, regardless of the field. Never mind in such a frivolous and amazing arena as theatre. But know that the theatre communities out there are full of people who want to help you, who want to support you, and who would love some support in turn. Find those rent-paying jobs that offer up the flexibility to let you keep pursuing what drives you, excites you, fills your boots with glee. And ask the elders… pick the brains of the theatre people around you and find out where they get their opportunities, where they want to go next.
       
8. So as a performer, is there anyone you’d say you took inspiration from more than others?

Oh, inspiration comes from all over. Sometimes, the reassuring kind, where older actors tell me how much easier it is to find work when you’re one of the four 70+-year-old actors in town, rather than one of a million 20-somethings. At other times, the blistering heat of coming across someone who is so pumped up to get to be doing what they’re doing. Or the reasonable kind, seeing how actors pay the bills and getting that calming feeling of ‘I could do that’.

Honestly, the most inspiring thing is just being able to look back at the last three years and see a slight progression towards doing more and more paying acting, writing, and other theatre work. Slowly expanding that portion of the income pie, until hopefully someday it can reach right around. (Or at least do its very best Pacman impression.)
       
9. Distilling it all down, why should folks come and see The Hatter?

Come to see a 4.5 star reviewed show that has been described as ‘like nothing you’ve ever seen before’. Come to have a free cup of tea, meet a man, have fun, and be moved. Come to help out a fellow trying madly to get home. Come because the best of Fringe Theatre is all about walking into a room, engaging in an experience, and then walking out, saying, ‘I don’t know how anyone in their right mind came up with that, but I am so glad I got to see it.’
       
10. Finally, what tea can patrons expect to be served?

It’s The Mad Hatter’s tea party! You’ll have dozens of options to choose from, and even some mustard and relish if you want to add a condiment or two.

See you at the tea party!

Cheers,
Andrew Wade,
The Hatter
   
(Their resultant review can be found here: http://marblevictoria.com/post/95810700942/the-hatter-charming-stranger-review )
       
The Hatter in Port Alberni - photo by Cara Baldwin 01

Hey Vancouver! What people have to say about The Hatter:

September 5, 2014 Leave a comment

   
   
Hey Vancouver Fringe! Here are a few things people have to say about my show, The Hatter:
   

“A frenetic explosion of a well loved literary character…This was one-man theatre as I’ve never seen it… You must buy this ticket. You must take this ride.” – The Marble Theatre Review (Victoria)

   

Andrew Wade shows fantastic range, flipping a switch between wackiness and depression… you’d be mad to miss this play. 4.5 / 5 stars! ” – The Saskatoon StarPhoenix

   

Wade embodies the character of the Mad Hatter perfectly.” – Apartment 613

   

People’s Choice Award! – Alberni Valley Fringe Theatre Festival

   

The effect is phenomenal… It hits the right notes: it never takes itself too seriously; it shows a clear mastery of the style and text… a fascinating, frantic, engaging character who can draw our attention by simply being in the space… the Jabberwocky alone is worth the price of admission.” – Mooney On Theatre (Toronto)

   

Wade’s performance as the jaded, lonely Hatter is a delight, convincing and poignant, not quite what one would expect, which is perfect for a Fringe festival… you quickly learn to expect the unexpected, which can only be attributed to Wade’s fine acting skills.” – London Free Press

   

Clever and funny, with a polished, lyrical style.” – The Beat Magazine

   

Wade’s charm is undeniable.” – Production Ottawa

   

 What do YOU think? Come check out the show at Studio 16 on the times in the poster below, join the tea party, and then let me know!
   
The Hatter returns home… tonight until the 13th!
   
Hatter Poster - Vancouver 2014 02 fontsoutlined
   
   

Cheers,
Andrew Wade,
The Hatter

Summer in a Fringe-full World

July 3, 2014 Leave a comment

   
   

Hello!

   
The unfortunate part about keeping a blog is that the times when I have the most to write about are also the times when I am expending all my creative energy being rather busy elsewhere!

I don’t want to leave you all in the lurch, so here’s a quick recap of all the Fringe-ful activities I am up to this summer:

   
   

Alberni Valley Fringe Theatre Festival – June 21st-22nd
The Hatter

Alberni Valley Fringe Poster - The Hatter
Right, this one already happened! In which Andrew learned the difficulty of remounting/relearning an hour-long show in a week’s time, while also acting in five performances of another show (Gay’s The Word with APPLAUSE! Musicals) and while replacing a stolen bicycle. But it happened, it was lovely, and I was awarded the only two awards the festival gave out, the People’s Choice Award and Best Quote (for ‘God Shave The Queen’)!

   
   

Regina International Fringe Theatre Festival – July 7th-13th
(these festivals have surprisingly long names!)
The Hatter
Hatter Poster - Regina 2014 textconverted
A much spiffier poster! Well done, me!
The festival in which I am actually away for more than a weekend. Also the festival in which I don’t have a stage manager… so this’ll be interesting!

   
   

Saskatoon PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival – July 30th-Aug 10th
The Most Honest Man In The
World
(okay, so I am sometimes partial to a long name, myself)
Honestly squareThe festival I was actually profitable in last year! This year… an experiment! A new show! It may succeed, it may fail. My attempt at a personal storytelling show, described as ‘A life-long love story about the pursuit of honesty over all happiness’. Expect me to tape tissue paper to my head, walk around in tap shoes, and neurotically ponder old relationships and what it means to let go.

   
   

Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival – August 21st-31st
The Hatter
The Hatter, picture 1
The first of two home-comings.

   
   

Vancouver Fringe Festival  – September 4th-14th
The Hatter

Photo Credit Lachlan McAdam

Photo Credit Lachlan McAdam

A return! The show was first birthed in a highly improvised fashion in Vancouver, three years ago. Now I’m bringing it back. (Also, now people know who I am in Vancouver! The first time, I had been off the mainland, over in Victoria, for seven years, and had moved back to Richmond a mere three days before Vancouver Fringe began.)

   

BUT WAIT! I’M NOT DONE!


   
   

Vancouver Fringe Festival  – September 4th-14th
Clutter and Contamination: An Obsessive Compulsive Disaster

DSC_0590For the third time in my life, I am a director, tackling my fellow UVic Writing alumni friend Kayla Hart‘s one woman play, Clutter and Contamination. The play will be performed by the lovely Christine Robinson. It has been a pleasure to work with them on the show so far! Directing a show while out on the road will be an interesting experience!

   

 And from there… new adventures and challenges await. Bring’er. 🙂

   
   

Some men run to feel the wind in their hair and the blood in their veins, excited muscles and pounding heart. Others run to get somewhere, or to get away from somewhere. Some run because they don’t know what else to do. Some run to inspire. Some to improve themselves. Some to prove to themselves that they can. And some run because they’re afraid of what might happen if they stood still.