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Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver Fringe’

Fringe By The Numbers: My Reactions

September 7, 2013 7 comments
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My last post, A First Fringe Tour: By The Numbers, already has the second most hits of anything I’ve posted onto my blog. Thank you everyone for your responses and for sharing it around. Here are my own thoughts:

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Yes, I lost money. A fair chunk of change. 1,671.16$ , to be precise. But I’ve been spending money on learning experiences for a number of years now, beginning with seven years of university, followed by the National Voice Intensive last year, and now, this tour. Was I hoping to at least break even? Of course! But to take a wider view, I traveled to amazing cities I’d never visited, had grand adventures, even kissed a lady or two, and got to tell a story worth telling to hundreds of people (okay, 534 people + ushers + technicians) across the country.

For my own personal growth, I desperately needed to travel. It was all 100% worth it. Over the course of two and a half short months, I learned a heck of a lot about theatre, life, and myself, and I can’t wait to get back out there next summer (if the Fringe lotteries are willing to let me).

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The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ON* * * * *

As a former professor once told me as he suffered through the first couple of years of his own theatre company, it’s not at all uncommon for businesses to lose money for their first two or three years of operation. This was my first ever tour. Hopefully now I have a tiny base of fans in each city, who might possibly come out and see a show of mine in the future!

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In each city, to keep this numerical, I think I knew 1 (London), 3 (Ottawa), many (Toronto), and 1 (Saskatoon) people, respectively. No hometown advantage for me.

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Hey Fringe Festival volunteers! You know how you happily exclaim to audience line-ups about how lovely it is that you haven’t raised your ticket price from 10$ for the past fifteen years or so? Well, inflation exists, and what you’re telling artists is that they’ve been earning less and less per ticket for every year for the past decade and a half.

I did not once hear a single complaint on the street or in the theatre about Saskatoon’s 12$/14$ ticket prices. Just sayin’.

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Also, it’s interesting that even with a 2$ administrative fee and GST being factored in somewhere, I still came out earning 11.20$ per ticket in Saskatoon, compared to 9.94$ in London, 9.35$ in Ottawa, and a mere 8.92$ per ticket in Toronto.

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Speaking of which, that shortfall in Toronto exists almost entirely due to the five-pack and ten-pack deals in that city. While I love having frequent fringer packs exist, compare Toronto’s 7.5$ tickets to Vancouver’s frequent fringer packs, which still offer 9$ per ticket to the performer. Seriously consider raising those frequent fringer rates, Toronto. You certainly have a reputation as being a place where performers don’t make any money. I enjoyed my time in the city, but 7.5$ tickets are hurting your reputation and hurting a performer’s chances of being able to break even in your city.

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* * * * *Hatter Poster - Toronto - for printer 2

Every city is so different when trying to figure out the right number of flyers and posters. Before I set out, I pre-printed 25 posters and 500 business card flyers for each city. Rookie mistake, as I learned when I saw other performers in London editing their poster files for upcoming cities so as to include London review quotes. Come Saskatoon I finally began taping quotes onto my posters, but printing posters for each upcoming city as I go seems to be the smarter solution.

So what are the right numbers? Well, 25 posters and 500 business cards felt alright for a sleepy Fringe like London, but I could probably have put up 75 posters in Ottawa, whereas getting 25 posters up in Toronto in anywhere worth looking, proved difficult. Also in Toronto, I ran out of flyers before the fringe was half over – I could probably have handed out 1500. As an experiment, I brought 1000 flyers to Saskatoon, and despite the Fringe’s smaller size, still gave out most of them. So every city is different, and I’ve still more to learn! (It also makes a difference as to how many people you have out there, flyering – being on my lonesome can be a downside when it comes to talking up enough lines to find an audience.)

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I gotta admit, it was disappointing to be one of 36 shows in Toronto not reviewed by Now Magazine. A few ‘N’s might have helped! (For a few more numbers, there were 148 shows in the Toronto Fringe Festival this year. 112 of them received a Now Magazine blurb and set (or lack thereof) of shiny ‘N’s.)

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In London, I recall one performer saying that two or three days before the festival opened, they visited Tourism London to ask for Fringe information, and the person there had no idea the festival was even happening. At Nuit Blanche, I (in full Hatter garb) was asked by several people when the Fringe Festival was beginning. That was the second-to-last night of the festival. It seems London is a hard place to get word out about the festival, which was evidenced by my having zero advance ticket sales, compared to 9 in Ottawa, 23 in Toronto, and 15 in Saskatoon. Toronto is very much more of an advance ticket city than the others – perhaps there’s more of a traditional theatre-going habit there? Or is there less financial disincentive to buy advance tickets in Toronto (when compared to additional fees other festivals add onto advance ticket purchases)?

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The Hat* * * * *

I’m honestly impressed with myself that I was able to keep my grocery bills down to size, even while on tour. Chalk it up to a combination of kind billets, hunts for grocery stores, and restraint whenever out and about with fellow performers. You guys feel free to order your meals at the bar; I’ll just wait until I get back to the food I bought with my big grocery trips on the day before each festival began.

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I didn’t have nearly as strong a show at the beginning of June as I did come mid-August. To be honest, it took me until Toronto to figure out the core of what the show was about – a man trying to get home – and so my show pitches for line-ups weren’t great for the first 2/3rds of my tour. Please don’t take any of the above as me making excuses for perhaps not being as financially successful as I would have preferred: I fully accept my tour as it was.

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Which is to say, a brilliant, daring adventure. 🙂

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For another view into my time on the fringe, as well as my original By The Numbers post, I also put up a By The Emotions post which you might enjoy.

As with before, if you think any of this may be helpful to someone out there, please share it on! I hope these posts are worthwhile for someone else out there. And if you have any reactions of your own, please add them to the comments below!

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Happy Fringing!

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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State of the Person Address – December 2011

December 13, 2011 2 comments

Well, then!

Life has a way of quickly coming to a head. After the madcap rush that was Vancouver Fringe, my life held to a quieter pace afterwards. Working extremely sporadically, the only large project on my plate for a while was A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. And to be honest, in that timespan… I felt sluggish. Like I wasn’t pressing forward adequately, wasn’t being productive enough to meet my own standards. After that came to a close, I quickly stepped into rehearsals for The Metro’s Christmas Panto (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves – with our preview on Thursday), but still, my plate was somewhat insubstantial.

Then in the past two weeks… how about a week of full-time training for my new part-time job at Science World, two bike flats, three auditions, two exciting job interviews (including one for voicework on a game), four Fringe Festival draws (none of which chose me, sadly), a ladyfriend event, a trip to Victoria, applications to other auditions, several job shifts after the end of training, and final Panto rehearsals.

Whew.

This has meant that other enterprises (such as signing up as an extra, finding a film/tv/commercials agent, learning how to drive) have fallen by the wayside for yet longer, at least temporarily, but I have also been pulled through a furious bout of productive and exciting living. So I’m relatively content.

If you know me, you know I prefer a busy, full, active life. 🙂

Here are a few of the projects coming up for me:

Yes, I wear one. Yes, that makes me tickled pink happy.

  • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves – A Christmas Pantomime! – I play Wakey Faker in this silly, funny, family-friendly funtimes pantomime, complete with Dame, singalongs, Oh-No-You-Don’ts, much musical choreography, and an audience encouraged to heckle the actors. Plus, with British parents, I needed to be in at least ONE Panto. Just had to happen. And I get to play a romantic lead! Sort of.

    • Venue: The Metro Theatre.
      The Metro’s Website.
    • Show Dates:
      Evening shows at 7.00 p.m. – Dec 16,17 ,22 ,23 ,26, 27 , 29 , 30 January 2,5,6,7
      Matinee shows at 2.00 p.m. – Dec 17, 18, 26, 27. January 1, 2, 7

Original poster.

  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood – My second foray as an actor with Fighting Chance Productions, and my first chance to work under director Ryan Mooney. Working in the ensemble, I’m sure I’ll grow my choreography skills with this Tony-Award-winning (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Performance of a Leading Actor in a Musical – 1985) that comes complete with multiple endings determined by audience vote.

Geodesiceriffic!

  • Science World part-timery – An incredibly flexible part-time job encouraging curiosity in children and adults in a great working environment. True, it’s minimum wage, but there are far worse ways to earn rent to allow for more theatrical endeavors. So happy to be back. 🙂

    • Venue: Telus World of Science.
      http://www.scienceworld.ca/
    • Show Dates:
      Whenever I’m scheduled!

      I made a graphic for the show! Like it?

  • The Romantics @ The You Show! – The month of May will be a busy one for my script, The Romantics, a winner of the 2011 Vancouver Young Playwrights Award. On May 12th, in Victoria as part of The You Show!, a full-length, two act version will be performed/workshopped, script-in-hand (so, a staged reading, with two or three rehearsals having taken place beforehand).

  • The Romantics @ IGNITE! Youth Festival 2012 – As part of the prize for winning the 2011 Vancouver Young Playwrights’ Award, I get to see the first act performed as a one act play at IGNITE!, full costume, with mentored young actors and director. But before that, I get to be mentored on script edits by Vancouver playwright Amiel Gladstone

  • Sin City Improv – While I’m not in Victoria anymore, I’m hoping to come back and guest-act for an episode or two, if I can, because the show is fantastic, the show is challenging, the show is hilarious, and the people are simply… family.

  • 4villains.org

    4Villains.org – I’ve been recast after they decided to move their Master Malevolent scene to a better location. But no worries! They are writing me a larger, recurring role that I should do some filming for relatively soon into the new year. The dedication this crew has for this project is nothing short of inspiring. Marvelous people. The website is up now! First episode airing later this month! Check’em out!

  • Clown Doctoring? –  Next month I have an interview to potentially become a clown doctor? Another part-time job, and it’s unlikely I’ll get it (strong competition for limited spots), but too amazing an opportunity not to want to share with you. 🙂
  • Auditions ahoy! – Aaaaand hopefully one of my recent auditions will pan out and become a paying acting opportunity – my first since graduating, outside of Fringe. Thus far, the shows I’ve been doing have been out of the kindness of my hear, for training, and just because while paid opportunities take priority, I would rather act and not be paid than not act at all. 🙂

    • Venue: Vancouver? Victoria? Vancouver Island? Alberta? Toronto? Anywhere!
    • Show Dates:
      Hopefully soon!

My summer is looking rather nebulous, with a string of Fringe Festival rejections (Okay, I just wasn’t picked out of their hats, but they still sting like rejections, a bit). Thus far, I’ve only been accepted into London, Ontario’s and Regina’s Fringe Festivals. Not enough for a tour. Winnipeg chooses next.  Hopefully, one of those paying acting opportunities panning out will make this decision for me, but if not… I need to realistically look at whether or not I would be able to break even on this Fringey endeavor, this year.
I hope to see you at the Panto! Be loud! Be grand! Stay awesome.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

September 10, 2011 3 comments

Photo by Sarah Koury.

Wow!

This show was a wild ride to finally put together. I had the original idea five years ago, after working on a separate show, Alice From Wonderland, as a SATCo performance (Student Alternative Theatre Company at UVic). A director asked myself and another writer to put together a show with multiple endings and music, based on Alice returning to Wonderland as a professional woman.

Not THAT kind of professional woman.

Anyway, after working on that, I saw how much fun the Mad Hatter could be, as a character. As evidently Johnny Depp agrees. That said, for such a long genesis, I can’t say I had much of a script until… three days ago?

Yeah, this show was put together slowly and quickly. Props, costume pieces, and ideas accumulated over the past few months, but the actual words and depth, I hadn’t had time for during the Victoria Fringe crunch of performing William vs The World, directing BFA: The Musical!, and stage managing Sonnets for an Old Century.

So, we came to tonight, to the first ever performance of The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. A show designed to be an experiment with everything I’ve ever wanted to put into a show – audience interaction, a fight sequence, sing-along songs, an improvised song, friendly semi-forcing-the-audience-to-be-involved-in-the-show… silliness abounds! And all with a heart to it. A core.

A core I discovered at about noon today. The show went up at 10:15pm. Yeah, it was tight. Oh, and we finished making the large hat timeline backdrop prop half an hour before the show began. Wow.

Admittedly, the show is highly improvised and includes a lot of audience interaction, so I can’t guarantee all performances will go as swimmingly as tonight’s did. But it was well attended, the audience dove in and got involved without resentment, and I had two strangers make a point of seeking me out on facebook afterwards to say how much they liked it, saying:

I saw “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”, this evening and just wanted to say thank-you for the great show, and that you’re an incredible performer.

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Wicked show – loved it from start to finish. And I had two cups and they were delicious.

Well, doesn’t that just make me all peachy inside!

If you would like to come, I have five more performances! Free tea and a chance to BE the Jabberwocky!

Fri, Sept 09 – 10:15pm – Portion of ticket sales go to the Food Bank
Sat, Sept 10 – 4:30pm
Sun, Sept 11 – 1:00pm – Half Price Show
Mon, Sept 12 – 6:45pm
Thu, Sept 15 – 8:30pm
Sat, Sept 17 – 8:00pm

At Studio 1398 on Granville Island!
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=119844848114618

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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