As well as being part of the arts programme at the World Financial Centre, the show is here as part of the Under the Radar festival of New Theatre and the American Presenting Arts Promoters conference, so there is much more at stake than just making a good show. So far things are going very smoothly.
On Thursday I was fortunate enough to have the chance of being ‘in conversation’ on stage with Kristy Edmunds, who promoted us at the Melbourne International festival and Bruce Gladwin, of Back to Back Theatre. As this was part of the festival’s opening plenary it was a great way to whip up interest in the show in front of all the delegates. A wonderful side-effect was that it made mine a familiar face about the place and ever since people seem to be very happy to just come up and say hello, which is wonderful.
‘Break-out’ sessions at conferences are often dull affairs but here everything was foreign and thus fascinating. Special guest at our discussion was Ping Chong, whose work I have only heard about, but his warm, composed presence was enough to make me a fan. When asked how much he would charge for his presence he had jokingly quoted a rate of $3 per hour. At the close, against his protests 25c was gathered from each delegate to pay his ‘fee’.
Down at the venue things have been going ballistic. The show opened to 50 people, 150 visited on the second and over 300 passed through yesterday. With little media coverage this is a case study of Word of Mouth power. 30,000 people work at the World Financial Centre so we’re not going to run out of audience, the question is what will happen over the weekend?
Socially things have been a bit strange. My day starts three hours before the show opens so I miss everyone at breakfast. Then I spend most of my time Uptown at the conferences with Charlotte M and Nick S, who are here to help exploit the showcase opportunities. We make occasional dashes Downtown to the show, but immediately get caught up talking to promoters about how the mechanics of touring the show work and how much it may cost them. I have then spent most of each evening in the theatre exploiting the chance to see a host of shows which are unlikely to ever make it to the UK. We have managed one major gathering, late on Thursday, in a dive, drinking terrible beer, soaking up the great atmosphere, celebrating being here, being together and it being my Birthday.