Summer season

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Summer season

Postby Harvey » 09 Jul 2013, 09:27

Hi I am planning a summer season at a park near me not a play park a country park it is a victorian hospital i thought it would be a good idea due to this and it is very quite there not while I am around just asking if i should use my lazy tong(and eric sharp) or build a wooden booth.
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Re: Summer season

Postby Richard Coombs » 09 Jul 2013, 11:00

Depends which Summer you are thinking about Harvey ?

You say you are 'Planning; it ...so it might be 2014 or 2015 you are planning ahead for .

If you have the permission / blessing and help of the Park owners , and they will allow/assist you in having a semi permanent wooden booth, then for ease and comfort, that would be my favourite if you are there for the whole Summer.
There is something wonderful about turning up in the morning , unlocking the 'stage door' and unbolting the night board from the proscenium hole ...put on the velvet and fringed pelmet , slot on the proscenium arch -- and away you go !

But if the park in question is not safe at night , ie: it can have vandals or yobs roaming freely through it, then a lazy tongs you take with you and set up each day is probably the best answer.


Have a good look at all the photos you can of wooden booths ..Mark Poultons beach booth is a big and impressive thing ...but look beyond the fancy frills of it all set up for doing shows.

See what it looks like all closed up at night , it is a big , thick and STRONG wooden beach hut , well locked and barricaded , with security cameras and plenty of padlocks and bolts .

It opens up in the daytime to become a Theatre certainly ....but with a wooden booth firstly you have to build for security .

Even at the Heights of Abraham Which is a six minute cable car ride from ground level , and therefore a very long exhausting climb for yobs to reach at night , I have a wooden booth which is Secure.

( touching every bit of wood in sight ) ..in all the years I have been there performing , there has only ever been one night time attempt at breaking into a nearby ice cream booth - also securely locked and alarmed-and the security guards were there in a flash.

The location of that pitch makes it unattractive to drunks and thugs its a long climb up , and a long walk back ..so I am lucky , nobody ventures anywhere near at night .
But I still wouldnt dream of not having a padlock on the booth , or the proscenium window boarded in at night .....And of course the boxes of Puppets are never left inside it at night anyhow.

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I would say that building a wooden booth is a MAJOR task .
( and yes doubtless there will be someone out there who thinks it should be perfectly possible ..indeed a basic human right , for an absolute beginner to to be able to build one on their grandmothers sideboard using only hand tools they fashioned themselves from rocks , and on a budget of £3-50 ! ...but take it from someone who has actually done it - it is hard work , you will need tools and space , a lot of time and a considerable budget )

So perhaps try your lazy tongs for the first couple of Summers there ...if all goes well and you are going to be asked back year on year , then consider a wooden booth in the future..

If you want a documented step by step view of a wooden booth being built , (and then extended )....
look at the "Heights the full story " set of pics on my flickr page "
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rkcpuppets/

All the Best Richard
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Re: Summer season

Postby johnstoate » 10 Jul 2013, 01:53

Hello, Harvey... You DO like big projects don't you! - A wooden booth suitable for a 'Lock-up' in a park is a very serious project as Richard says, and I hope that you have considered your other requirement... If you are going to work a park pitch in the traditional manner you are going to need a crew, If not a 'Major' and 'Bottler' then at least a 'Bottler' - And good bottlers are VERY hard to find. - You have to remember that if you get a bad audience, (ie; A bunch of yobs) You are very limited in what you can do from inside the booth, a good bottler can police the front, as well as getting the best return from your audience, (And 'leading' them if their response is poor :wink: ) I don't wish to in any way discourage you, but do be aware that a booth in a quiet park , for someone of your age and limited experience could, potentially, be a dangerous place :roll: - I have been working the show for a little longer than you, and still get nervous on occasion when working alone in the type of venue you are describing! - If there is a snack bar, or a cafe that you can pitch close to- great, You will get the ' passing trade' and the advantage of potential assistance from the staff should you hit problems. Main thing is, if the park is 'Quiet' there is little point trying to work it, to do a show you need sufficient public to produce an audience, and if you want to 'earn a crust' (And you should!) You need the adults, Not just the children. The ADULTS have the money!!! Best of luck with it though, -Prenty madges!!!
John
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Re: Summer season

Postby Richard Coombs » 10 Jul 2013, 09:12

Harvey , that was Sage advice there from John.

Neither of us want to 'put you off' :.... in any case I am sure we won't ,as you are a keen and fired up young chap , and will I think in the fullness of time ,achieve all you want to in this crazy game ...and probably end up being a driving force running Mr Punches 400th Birthday celebrations no doubt.


But yes , at 14 years old , a Park stint is probably best done with a daily erected booth , not a permanent one ...and with a Minder/Bottler .

You will do it one way or another though I am sure ...I hear your show surprised a lot of folk at the Mayfaye, sorry to have missed it myself.

Let us all know how the Park thing works out ...Im sure a few folk will be keen to hear about it in the Autumn when you have done it .

Best

Richard
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Re: Summer season

Postby Richard Coombs » 10 Jul 2013, 12:50

Having a Wooden Booth and a permanent Summer-long pitch is a wonderful Romantic notion.

And indeed the rosy picture I painted of it in the other reply here is a true one ...it IS grand Unlocking the Booth in the morning , slotting on just a few extra bits of decoration and being all ready to perform ... yes compared to doing a full booth set-up every day it IS a Wonderful thing.

I am already getting tingles of excitement at the thought of it all being about to start again.
Even the two van trips to take the stuff to the venue , and the day spent bolting all the bits together and setting it all up holds a whiff of Promise and Magic ( made even better by knowing that so many of the Staff up at Heights look forward to the day the Puppet Theatre arrives , as it marks the true start of the Summer Season ...and it is SO nice to be eagerly anticipated by others )

BUT ...and yes there IS a But :

If you are thinking about embarking on similar seas of Adventure , here is a another Practical Consideration that the Rose -Tinted-Glasses may just have blinded you to :

Where do you store the Bulky thing the rest of the Year ?



Chances are if you are a Punchman you already have every corner and crevice of your house and garage full of Golfbags full of booth(s) Cases of puppets / sound-system and bunting ( the situation is probably worse if on top of performing , you also make puppets /booths for yourself or others ).

I think Mark Poulton hires a Lock-Up to store his beach booth(s)..Glyn and Clive share a wooden booth nicknamed "The Perfect Little Puppet Theatre" (I think?)..but I am not sure where they store that.


Mine spends 4/5ths of the year in a purpose built , insulated and weatherproofed shed, tailor built to take the wooden panels , and also shelved out to take -well- the 'shelves' and inner gubbins / stool /racks and signboards.
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I have also yesterday , just made a tailored Savante Bag not for Puppets inside the booth ...but to hang up the proscenium parts at night ( the actual puppet savante bag hangs too low to make reaching the parts easy when up a ladder trying to put them on the front of the booth ) This bag will make that part of the daily set up easier and more of a pleasure....it also works well clipped to the shelf in my shed to store the Proscenium .

Image

So Just another thing to think about if planning a Wooden Booth ...Storing it .

Best
Richard
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Re: Summer season

Postby Harvey » 11 Jul 2013, 15:19

I am planning it for this summer
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Re: Summer season

Postby Richard Coombs » 11 Jul 2013, 16:42

Aaahhhhhhhh .....Right .

Okey Dokey.

Well , "Lazy Tongs' it is then.

Good Luck
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Re: Summer season

Postby Harvey » 12 Jul 2013, 11:01

my plan is to get a shed a paint and edit it to look like a booth
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