The Manchester event at Three Minute Theatre SOLD OUT. I was still juggling numbers as I climbed into a taxi at half six. Facebook and Twitter cancellations and then people keen to buy tickets. I felt like a tout for 45 minutes.
This event was the best possible start to The Quiet Compere Tour I could envisage. None of the things that I had dreamt of went disastrously wrong. The venue was open for 45 minutes before the event kicked off, which meant a leisurely start to the evening with a couple of rushes on the door. Apart from one performer, who informed me he had no voice on Tuesday, everyone else turned up, including his replacement. I kicked off the night with a piece I like the sound of and a piece I wrote last week at Sheffield Writer’s Day.
Steph Pike: Then we were taken directly into a set of Love poems (one addressed to David Cameron, Steph got the audience thinking about him aroused) and then took us by surprise with a swift change in the form of a gentle piece about Bees she had written at a Stirred workshop this week.
Jackie O’Hagan: Jackie read a piece from her touring show “Some People Have Too Many Legs” at The Contact, Manchester on 22nd March. This is presently SOLD OUT, but more seats are being organised and tickets may become available. In the meantime, we were treated to stories about Edna and back-tickling and people in the “same coloured pain”. Jackie started giving out Certificates for niceness and in one case “for being very Welsh”.
Ben Willems: As first reserve, Ben fitted into this line-up beautifully and happily for me, read my favourite: “Is your accent strong?” to the tune of “Do You Ears Hang Low?” written in one of my workshops. You’ve got to love a poem that ends: “Ding Dong/witch song/Iron Lady/Rust in Peace”.
Rosie Garland: Rosie instructed us to “Make this your auspicious day.” She performed a piece about mathematic and butchery, rarely seen together in poetry and refreshing. I love the fact Unicorns at 4am get cheers.
Jeffarama: I had not met Jeff before tonight and thoroughly enjoyed his set and it’s inspired rhyming. “It’s the music that matters” stood out for me.
As I come to the second half of the evening and the sixth poet I running out of positive descriptions for performers, also an issue I have when tweeting daily about upcoming events, should I stick with the same one? My favourite is cracking. Wondering if I should hunt out some more positive adjectives before madly promoting York event! I started off the second half with an piece To Manchester and a piece to Birmingham (later in the tour).
Shirley May: I had not met Shirley before tonight and as she took to the stage she held herself in the manner of a seasoned performer (which she is) and took us with her. Her set made me cry more than once (others did this once, I’m such a softie!) and the finale of a poem where the character was given “the keys to the brothel” touched me.
Charlotte Henson:. Since agreeing to perform, Charlotte has moved away and I was chuffed she still returned to Manchester to perform at this. Stand out line: “I am the thing you never asked for, but ended up with anyway”. Charlotte is an accomplished performer who puts so much of herself into her poetry, it hurts.
Rod Tame: I love the poem Rod does about having his own theme tune (am now wondering what my theme tune might be?) I must have heard “Who’s the Daddy?” a dozen times now and it still makes me cry!
Becca Audra Smith: Becca asked us “to tell me something real” about being a man. She performed a piece she was unsure was ready. It was received beautifully and she also wrote a piece specifically for the Volume theme.
Tony Walsh: Tony treated us to a journey through the history of Manchester music. I love “Eyes the size of Timperley” and “passion underlined” and the list of Manchester things including: “rainbow flags/gladiolis/sewn on badges”.
The buzz after the event was palpable, tonnes of positive feedback. Felt like all the planning and promoting that has gone in to the tour so far has paid off a billion-fold. Loved every second of being The Quiet Compere and then had a few days off, doing spreadsheet work. Now back to weekly Quiet Compere Admin and promotion, until I start really plugging York a fortnight before. One ticket has already sold for Birmingham on 21st March! Yey! Love breaking the 0 barrier! Come on York – you next!
As you can tell, I am not a reviewer and am quickly running out of ways to put things, especially with ten performers as part of the night, maybe next time I will mention only highlights, or little bundles or poetic feel. Another thing to add to my list below –become a better reviewer. Hoping someone else may have written a review. Maybe I can ask someone to review the York one in advance, who has experience of reviewing events.
Thanks for following. The Quiet Compere x
Things I need to look at for next time:
1) I will ensure I have a jpeg copy of my logo for projection onto the screen behind performers – I had sent the venue a png document, unaware they don’t have a background.
2) I will set up a photo album on Facebook for the next set of photos from the York venue. Didn’t consider this until I had posted them all separately.
3) I will make it clearer that the event is Arts Council funded at the beginning of each event. Only one person who filled in the questionnaire said they were unaware of this.
4) T-Shirts – The cutter should be fixed (printing company need to get a new part) well in time for the T-shirts to be ready for the York event.
5) I will make sure the guest list comes home with me as this was left (safely) at the venue next time an event is ticketed by We Got Tickets.
6) Next time an event is ticketed by We Got Tickets I need to give someone free entry and a drink to be a door-person as I will be too busy flitting, being mildly flustered, reserving seats, ensuring performers know when they are on and making changes to running order if needed. My husband (doorman) was a star.