Lioness Theatre has officially opened its debut show, "The Black Stuff" at GM Fringe. We did two dates in two venues: Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, and The Kings Arms.
These were very different venues, but both super helpful and they gave us a warm welcome. The Unitarian chapel is a beautiful building, set in the round, and its central location on Cross Street near the Royal Exchange is handy for attracting foot traffic. We did so with our huge roller banner and flyers - though the half-page listing in the Fringe brochure may have helped too :)
The chapel has an unusual history, having been an active supporter of the Suffragette movement, and it's now known for its friendliness towards the LGBT+ community. Being LGBT, Unitarian, and a feminist myself, I couldn't be happier that we chose this particular venue.
Pre-sales weren't great at first, and I feared we'd be playing to four people. Luckily numbers turned out to be healthy, and after changing the setup from in-the-round to thrust, we were able to make good use of the space. The acoustics of any perfectly round room such as this will direct all sound back to the centre spot, which was also brightly illuminated. This of course meant in rehearsals we all took our turn shouting at the walls and marvelling at the strange effect. It was like being miked up.
The audience was enthusiastic and responsive, clearly enjoying the humorous aspects of the piece. We had a fair few tweets afterwards. My favourite was simply the word "MELTED!" from a fellow GM Fringer - a reference you'll only understand if you come to see the show!
The following morning a review was posted by MCR Fringe Review which was largely positive: "catchy tunes, sound story-telling and some incredible vocals".
Next up was our second performance at Kings Arms Theatre - the hub of GM Fringe. As it was an afternoon show with no-one on before us, we had a generous amount of time to set up, though not enough time for a full run. With our usual selection of CDs, glossy programmes, and keyrings available, we took a fair amount in merch and on-the-door ticket sales.
The second performance was even better, thanks to the extravagances made available to us at this venue, for instance: an actual lighting rig! We were pleased to welcome Manchester Theatre Awards at this event, and you can read their review here.
Certain things jump out at you when you perform a piece in front of an audience for the first time, so we'll be tightening up the script a bit before our next performance at DN Festival in 2 weeks' time.
After that we have our London performance to look forward to, and hopefully some other theatres. Onwards & upwards!
Hollie Morrell - writer/composer