Since most of the Arts establishment seemed to be closed down over Xmas we have a drasitcally cut-down art's page this month, so for your delight and delictation we offer forward our very own Jaspre Bark and stand-up. But next month we're going to be back on full form with a guest novellist of the Month so stay tuned for cult detective writer Nicholas Blincoe.
Get to grips
Standup for your right to partyyyyyyy
Thee motto of the now legendary punk fanzine Sniffing Glue was "here's three chords, now form a band." And in the same spirit, here's three acts:
Adam Bloom: -contact c/o 0181 694 2884
now start a comedy club. This month's Stood Up is all about starting and running a comedy club. A sure fire way to make a fast buck or a recipe for hassle and stress ? We let you decide as we lift the lid on the comedy promotions business.
Dave Mason and Jeffrey Peacock are setting up a club in Woolwich called Gritty Fingers. "The first thing you've got to find," says Dave, "is the right venue." Jeffrey continues, "we were really lucky to find a pub with a massive function room next door that was also being used by the rock promoters Phobia, so it had a stage a PA and everything." Dave adds, "it helps a lot if you pick a venue that's got a lot of activity, but no comedy, going on there already. That way people are used hanging out there, it's a known venue and it's easier for them to pop in on another night for a giggle."
The next step is finding and booking your acts. "The best way to find acts is to go and visit other cabarets that put on the kind of things you want to," says Robin Smith, organiser of Deptford's Wibbly Wobbly Cabaret. "Approach the acts you liked best after the show and get their phone numbers. Clubs that have try out spots, like the Comedy Cafe and Downstairs at the Kings Head, are also good for picking up excellent and cheap up and coming talent. And other promoters like myself are also good sources of information, if anyone phones up looking for good acts I'm always willing to pass on phone numbers."
So you've got the venue, you've chosen the name, booked the acts and chosen a date to start on, now all you're missing is that one vital ingredient in any successful cabaret: an audience. To get an audience you've got to promote. "There are three main areas of promotion for a live venue," Steve Rumney, founder of The Custard Aquarium, tells us. "The first is the listings press, magazines like Time Out and What's On, local listings publications that your local council puts out and your local papers. The second is leaflets and posters, hand these out at as many other similar gigs as you can and amongst your friends and try and put up posters where ever you can. And finally the most important and effective means of promotion is word of mouth. Try to start a buzz, tell all of your friends and acquaintances, phone up everyone you know and try and get them to bring along and tell as many people as they can. If you can get all this right you should fill your club."
But with so many other clubs already out there, the sixty four thousand dollar question is why would anyone want to come to yours. "The key to that is innovation," Jeffrey states knowingly, "there are a plethora of clubs that provide nothing more than four people and a microphone and a lot of them showcase the best talent around. If you want to compete with that you have to offer people something they're not going to get anywhere else." Dave pipes up "which is exactly what we're doing with Gritty Fingers. What we're presenting is the world's first live cabaret Chat Show. The whole evening is a sort of spoof Letterman format, complete with comfy sofa and skyline backdrop. We've got a completely new style of house band called NoseBleed House in the form of DJs and a percussionist to provide music throughout the evening and to jam with the acts. When the acts come on they're treated as guests and interviewed before or after their set. We've also got all sorts of regular features and skits going on between the acts." Jeffrey concludes, "it promises to be a new and totally unique cabaret experience."
So what's stopping you, get out there and get your own thing going.
Gritty Fingers starts on 17th January and will run every Wednesday at the Walpole Arms, 83 Brookhill Rd, Woolwich, London, BR Woolwich Arsenal.
The Wibbly Wobbly Cabaret also runs at MacMillans in Deptford, BR Deptford.
Steve Rumney is holding a private view in Lewisham in February, for invitations ring 0181 852 1609.
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