Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Have Socks Will Travel - the tour continues

The 2017 Socks Do Shakespeare tour rolls on, with some great gigs taking place in a variety of interesting venues. Here we see the Socks set up below a parachute. No, me neither. I think it's the soundproofing. This was Stroud Subscription Rooms, where the audience was smaller than some gigs, but a good and appreciative bunch.

And this was a tent, in the grounds of Chiddingstone Castle, in front of an audience of mostly kids. Our first attempt at doing a family friendly Shakespeare show, and by golly we did it. F*** Up Some Shakespeare was the only song we had to drop, and the Equivocator sketch and When We Met needed a bit of trimming, but the rest of the show's perfectly suitable for kids (though it probably takes the parents there to get most of the references). I could be minded to develop a schools version of the show if I thought there was a market.

Talking of marketing, here's the sales graph for the tour, and it's looking rather good. If it wasn't for that plunge in the graph which is our show at the Bill Murray in Islington (fingers crossed we do better than that when we return there for two nights at the Camden Fringe in August), we'd be looking at a record breaking successful tour to date. The two peaks are Aberystwyth and Bath, where we were returning for the third or fourth time apiece and have built a good audience, almost doubling the guarantee at the Rondo in Bath. Satisfying but not astounding are the two-nighters at Leicester and Glasgow (where I've averaged out the two nights every time, and where we do way better than most shows of our size, festivals being an odd business). Very pleasing is Frome, which was a doorsplit only, our first time in town, and did very well indeed. Taking a gamble on doorsplits has meant we slipped below our guarantee in Swindon and Stroud, but not too badly. All good paying gigs, and leaving in our wake a lot of satisfied happy punters. And, as I am reminded by the Chiddingtone Festival gig where I charged less for a 2 and a half hour art class than for a 45 minute show, it pays the best per-minute of anything else I do.

One thing I've missed off the graph is any costs. Never mind the travel costs, which if I billed them at 45p a mile might wipe out a couple of these shows and would put the Bill Murray into minus figures, there are also a few other costs. Leicester & Glasgow Comedy Festivals had listing costs, Leicester's being higher than Glasgow's. But they're dwarfed by the cost of next week's Brighton Fringe gigs which, with a listing fee of £240 and a hotel cost which I daren't even remind myself of, means we need to have a near sellout for both shows to break even. As Spinal Tap's manager might say, in some towns our audience might be coming more selective.

2017 TOUR
May 13 (4.30pm) & May 14 (5.30pm) Komedia Brighton
May 19 - Carriageworks Leeds
May 26 - Aberdeen May Fest
June 2 - Eden Ct Inverness
June 15 - Crescent Arts, Belfast
June 20 - Grassington Festival, Yorks
June 23 - Hertford Comedy Festival
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe
August 15 - 17 Camden Fringe

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