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Venue Captain! My Venue Captain!

We're part of the PBH Free Fringe this year, where audiences get in for free and performers get their venues for nothing. It feels like being part of the real spirit of the Fringe - people off the telly are mixed up with nervous first-timers on a completely equal footing and everyone's in it for fun, rather than to get on telly or impress agents, it's lovely!

However, as there's no money for staff it means that performers have to pitch in and do some of the actual work. Each venue has a Venue Captain whose job is to make sure everyone actually does join in, and to liaise between the various groups to get things get set up properly, working smoothly throughout the Fringe, and then taken down again at the end. I ended up volunteering to be Captain for our Venue and, though I was initially alarmed by having to do admin tasks when I was hoping to be in the pub, I'm now actually rather enjoying it.

Anybody who knows me in my other life, as player-manager of an indie band, will probably not be surprised to discover that I'm enjoying bossing people around, as that's pretty much what having your own band means. Yesterday we needed to sort out transporting and building a PA system and I leapt into action like a salty old sea dog seeing a chance to ride the ocean waves one more time. I have set up an awful lot of speakers and got minor electric shocks from a metric tonne of microphones in my life and have been taking delight in swanning about saying "Yes yes, I know how to do this, did I tell you I'm in a band? Come on everyone, heave ho!"

I know I'm going to have to be careful about bossiness levels, lest we have a mutiny on our hands, but for now I'm enjoying it immensely - not only are all the acts getting to know each other, but we all feel more involved in the organisation. Having other people doing things for you is a lot less effort, but so far this way's a lot more fun!




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