The ABC Guide to Producing a Burlesque Show: Part 2

Welcome back to the second installment in our mini-series on producing your own show. Last week, we took you through some initial points to consider when taking the leap from the performing world to that of producing. Continuing on, we’ve got some further stages you’ll need to add to your to-do list in the run up to your first event.

Venue: where are you going to hold your show?
There can be many deciding factors when choosing your venue.
*Location: city centre or suburbia?
*Cost: are you paying a set fee to hire the venue or are you doing a door split with them?
*Capacity: is your show going to be small and intimate or larger scale? (Book a venue that suits; there’s nothing worse than having a huge venue and only a dozen audience members.)
*Type of venue: pub, club, theatre, warehouse… the list is endless.
As well as choosing a venue to suit your budget and required capacity, you will also want to consider the type of clientele a venue draws in (does it match your target audience?) and the feel / style of a venue, so you can make sure it works for your show.

Cast: who is going to be in your show?
Choosing your cast is another vital consideration. If you’re staging an end of term showcase for students, you might not need to do a casting in the same way as with a ticketed show aimed at the general public.

Beginners show
The ABC holds showcase events for our students at the Britannia Panopticon Theatre in Glasgow. These shows are a great opportunity for our ladies to gain experience of being onstage.

If you are doing a ticketed event, who do you book? Your budget will be a key factor in your casting choices; if you’re looking towards higher-end, international performers then you have to be prepared to afford their fees and travel and accommodation costs. If your show is largely local performers, you’ll cut down on travel costs and accommodation, but should still be aiming to pay a reasonable wage to your performers. Your choices in casting should also take into account who your audience want to see; a popular headliner whilst more costly, should be a bigger draw for your audience and help boost ticket sales. This obviously works better if you’re marketing to a burlesque-savvy audience who know who’s who in the scene; big names might not work so well if you’re taking a small-budget show to a small town that’s never had a burlesque show before.

Crew: what other roles need to be filled?
Equally as important as your performing cast is your crew.

Stage Manager: You’ll need a stage manager / stage kitten to ensure that the show runs smoothly; especially if you are performing as well as producing. It’s not just about setting the stage and clothing pick-up, the stage manager plays a vital role on the night, making sure performers are where they need to be and liaising between cast, crew members and venue staff.

Viva Misadventure burlesque dancer Cardiff
One of the stage manager’s jobs is to ensure that props are onstage and ready when they are needed.

Sound / lighting technician: This will depend on your venue and what it offers in terms of staging. A small show in the back room of a pub for instance might not having much, if any, in the way of lighting options, however, you’ll still need someone to play the music. If you’re in a bigger venue with a good stage and lighting setup, you’ll want to make the most of the lighting options available so that you maximise the impact of each act.

Door person / ticket collector: Some venues may provide a door person, however it may be up to you; you’ll need someone dedicated to this job, as it’s their job to collect the tickets / money on the door and make sure you get all of your money!

Next week we will be back with the next blog in this series, where we will be giving you more tips to add to your production checklist.
In the meantime, if you missed our previous blog in the series, catch up here: The ABC Guide to Producing a Burlesque Show: Part 1.