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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Taking the plunge and booking a theatre (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ninjaduffy
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Wow, superb. Thank you, thanks for all the above posts. I was thinking about two shows on one day but I didn't want to run before I could walk. But you never know.

kev.
Wes Holly
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Ninja,
Reading your posts it seems like you are thinking of doing this as a 'neat' thing to do, not as the major production it can/should be. (and I am not talking about making it a huge illusion show) Make use of this opportunity! It might only be a 100 seat theatre in a small town, but your guests deserve a first rate production. (note - 'production' is not the same as 'show'. The show is what you do onstage, the production is what goes on behind the scenes)

You will need a staff. Stage director, marketing assistant, theater manager, BOR manager, stage hands, the list goes on & on. Of course you bribe your friends into doing these roles for free, but have your staff meetings on at least a monthly basis. The creative ideas flowing from a group of people can really lift this project into orbit!

Hire a professional videographer to record your show for future promo uses. Your friends might have good cameras and will do it for free, but a professional will create a professional product.

Don't concentrate on how much money you may make or lose. Making the most of this opportunity means looking into the near/distant future at how this production will affect the rest of your career.

(I think that was my 50 cents worth)
-Wes Holly-
Happily Yours,
Wes Holly
www.wesholly.com
Baltimore, MD, USA
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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I'm getting some good ideas here myself. I have done theatre shows in the past with my wife's "Sweet Adelines" chorus and it was a lot of fun and I learned a little about production and stage management as well. I had done some community and dinner theatre in the past also, which makes me think it might be a good idea to volunteer at a community theatre doing some backstage stuff, and taking the opportunity to learn some technical theatre. Basic stuff like sound and lighting cues, and the lighting itself, sets and backdrops etc.. What occurs to me is that unless you're willing to spend a fortune on production, then it might be best to use simple, available stuff effectively.

Posted: Jan 18, 2009 10:22pm
The venue costs about 120 a night.[/quote]

This, from what I can tell, is a GREAT price by the way, compared to prices I've been quoted here in San Antonio.
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
Red Shadow
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I have never performed a solo magic show in a theatre, but I have helped put on a variety show with singers, dancers and magic for my local drama group. I will offer my advice.

1. Make sure you video every performance. If nothing else, you can sell the DVD to other magicians afterwards and make your money back there. Contact worldmagicshop or alakazam. They are always looking for new projects and they can provide all the cameras and crew for the day. You will be making their job easy because you have arranged the venue etc. You could easily make an additional £500 selling the rights to them. You off course would have some excellent footage for your own show-reel as well.
If you don't approach the dealers, then get your family and friends to record it. If possible, use three cameras for every show - you can hire cameras or simply buy one, keep the receipt and return it the next day. Smile

2. Do two-shows a day. I don't know what days you have booked, but for videoing purposes, I suggest having one show on a weekday, and invite the local school for free (during the school hours). That way you have a packed out theatre for that particular show. Off course you keep this 'free' show secret, but it's also the one you send all your family and friends to. That way all the other shows are pure money clients and you can more accurately see how much you make.
Two shows a day doubles your potential income, and as long as you can easily reset between the shows, It sounds like the logical thing to do.

3. You need a website. Not for promoting online, but for the flyer's and posters, so that the public have a place to find out more information, along with details about yourself for general parties.
You have your own website so just create a page to link from it, purely about the show. You should be advertising it now, especially if you have already booked the theatre. It speaks to clients that you put on a theatre show each year, so you will probably find your general birthday bookings go up because of it.

4. Advertise on here, talk magic, magic bunny etc. If its local and I'm free, I will go.

5. Ignore what the Americans are saying about the 60 minute show etc. This is the UK and I perform two-hour shows all the time. (non-stop with no break). I usually play a few games in the second hour, which you can still play with the children (like head shoulders, knees and toes). But I regularly perform a 90 minute pure magic show without any problems.
However to achieve this length does take a special personality and looking at your website, I believe you have it. But I suggest practicing now at doing longer pure-magic shows since your website says you only do 25 minutes of magic. That is alarmingly small and if 15 minutes of pure magic is the most you can handle, then I would seriously reconsider this idea. While you can play a few games for them, they are essentially paying to see a 75 minute plus pure magic show. The seats make games like the conga etc. unplayable.
You need the experience of doing pure magic shows and your website doesn't suggest that.

6. This is the grand theatre and you need to play for that. Does the theatre have its own backdrop from the last amateur production you can use? - Which drama group has hired out the theatre before you and can you ask them to keep the set they build in place for your show as well?
How about adding some illusions? There are several cheap ones you can make with cardboard boxes. Razorwire, tip over box, giant square circle. Look for the book on cardboard box illusions or Mark Wilson's DVDS on them (http://www.magictalk.com/cgi-bin/reviews.cgi?read=615). They take some rehearsal time, but you have to play for the venue you are in and adding a few big tricks can make the difference.
Contact all your friends at the local magic club and ask if they will lend you any illusions they have for the weekend. Somebody owns a chair suspension, Super X and head chopper. Borrow them for the show.

7. Visit the theatre and watch a few shows before hand. Look at there sound set-up. Have they set-up their own equipment and where did they place the speakers. Watching other groups take advantage of the theatre will help you eliminate problems by seeing others make them first.

8. Contact the others groups who have hired the building before and ask them how they promoted their show. They already know what marketing tips worked for them, so you can take advantage of that and target your time into the avenues which offer the most return. Seeking out the past theatre hires will be a great tool in marketing and promoting your show. They may also have some tips about where the fuse box is and where the plug sockets are. Maybe you can rope one of them in for your support act?

9. Its up to you, but if you are worried about filling up an evening, you could call upon the other magicians you know to fill in a slot. Maybe grab the next entrants to your local magic competition as they are the ones most interested in performing while not being paid.
If nothing else, you could have them perform in the bar during the interval.
I do advertise you keep someone informed on your progress, just in case you break a leg or fall ill on the day, you can have another entertainer who can step in should you need to back out. You don't want to be refunding any tickets now do you?

10. Finally, Good luck.

Steve
paulbrown0833
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Heard about Eric Paul's theatre system. Has anyone bought it?
JimbosMagic
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Hi Kev
I put together a children's theatre show called The Bilston Bear Show.
I made and designed all the scenery, had the Bear and Dog made in the USA, wrote a book, 7 songs on a CD, Badges, Posters etc for after show sales. The over all cost was over Twenty Grand. I put it into 14 Theatres over 17 nights and sold out a couple but had some others that didn't sell very good.
It is a big venture but its worth giving it a go. I had to pay 8 people to put my show on, 4 cast, 2 tecs, 1 Merchandiser/Understudy and me.

If you can do it on your own but make it more of a variety night and get a catchy name for the show, it may do well for you. But getting bums on seats will be the hardest thing you will have to do.

Hope it works for you.
Jimmy
JIMMY CARLO. KIDabra International Family Entertainer of the Year 2009.
IBM Triple Award Winner. Uk Champion of Comedy Magic.
Represented the UK in the United Slapstick Awards on German TV.
European Children's Entertainer of the year 2007/8
Billy Bo
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How is this coming on?
MrGreggy
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Years ago I rented a theater for a show, and included Steve Kissell in the program. After the show, he then presented a lecture to the local entertainers about the show he had just done. The ticket prices were higher for those attending the show & the lecture.

This forum has TONS of great ideas, some conflicting. This can be confusing at times, but you'll learn what works for you and what doesn't. Take lots of notes.
Potty the Pirate
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I will be hosting a day of family shows during the Brighton Festival next year. The total cost for hire of venue (200 capacity), advertising, and signing up for the Festival will be around £450. Booking daytime is MUCH cheaper than evenings. I will offer 3 one-hour shows, and probably charge £3 per ticket.
I agree that advertising is critical, but in my opinion, the cost to me isn't so great, even if I only get a few dozen in for each show.
I won't be laying on anything more than I can already offer for my shows - backdrops, and PA will be the same. The hall provides lighting. All the shows will be filmed, so if nothing else I hope to gain some good video clips.
If it goes well, I could make a nice profit on the day - but bearing in mind the amount of pre-show work, this isn't something I would like to attempt too often!
Potty
Red Shadow
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I would offer one of those slots as a free show for the local schools so that you have great video footage of a full audience. Keep it secret though!

You might want to contact one of the dealers / DVD distributors to get them to film it professionally and pay you for marketing it. Worldmagicshop for instance.

Advertise on here. I'm not local to you, but if I were, I would watch and pay for your show. Your best option for getting an audience for a magic show, is actually magicians.
Bradley Roberts
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Las Vegas
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Just an update since I last posted on my experiance on this. Well in May of this year I found a place to do the show weekly. We are now at the Royal Resort, in Las Vegas, doing the show every Sat and Sun at 4pm. This is Las Vegas' first true Family and Children's show in Las Vegas. It was a risk that I am happy I took. SuperDuperShowlv.com is our website and we even have a ticketing system online.

Let us know how if goes when you do it on the 9th.

Cheers,
B-Rad
B-Rad "The Kids Magician"
Brad Kids Magic Website
"A child's smile is one of life's greatest blessings."
Potty the Pirate
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Quote:
On 2009-11-05 05:16, ku7uk3 wrote:
I would offer one of those slots as a free show for the local schools so that you have great video footage of a full audience. Keep it secret though!
Your best option for getting an audience for a magic show, is actually magicians.

I will be calling a lot of my previous clients (there are several thousand in this area). I don't pay for individual calls, so there will be no cost for a telesales promotion, except my own time. There shouldn't be too much problem getting a reasonable turnout for each show - but of course, 3 shows in one day is ambitious. If I were to offer a free show to a local school, that would kinda defeat the purpose in my opinion. I have already organised a professional film maker who will film the event in return for a kids show (we're good mates).
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