Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Tour Blog – Part 8 (Cardiff)

Audience: 25 (Thu), 7 (Fri) & 7 (Sat)

Technical: Really lovely again. Dan’s a bit of a genius – really reassuring, knowledgeable and calm – also shares my obsession with testing everything in good time to check it works. Will (who also is a Duty Manager and Box Office and Gallery Technician) was brill too and multi-talented!

Marketing: Really hard. I’ve found it really hard to get into the groups and communities who might enjoy the show – when you try to send info to facebook groups for example none accepts as I don’t live in Cardiff. I think the venue is going through a tricky time as well post-Covid. It’s been really fascinating going into different venues to see how they operate. Chapter is a venue that operates in rolling programming it seems (rather than programming season-by-season). I think this is good in terms of giving lots of programming time and a flexibility for artists, and also effective in relation to cinema (which is a different beast) but probably causing problems in terms of longer-term messaging, marketing strategy and also, perhaps, re-building audiences I suspect… However, I’d also say I increasingly think that the show’s marketing (wot I did) isn’t right OR it’s just not popular – a show needs a hook to get an audience, it’s not good enough just to be made – I’m not sure my show has enough hooks to make it a marketable product – which probably explains the sales which have been poor everywhere (not for want of trying from the venues).

Pre-Show: Fine for all of them – I’ve reached a point where my day isn’t ruined by doing a show later in the day. Found some lovely restaurants and cafes – Wally’s, No Beef and the Tapas place (entirely unhelpful for tourism).

The Show: Thursday was okay, a nice audience, it was a clean run and they were appreciative if a little quiet – I was a bit eager, my voice was sore at the end which is usually a sign of not having enough vocal and tonal variation. Friday and Saturday felt really hard, I think there’s a thing where you look round the room and it feels like an empty room no matter what you do and it felt, well, hard. I fluffed a few bits on Saturday night. I think the show works better in cabaret configuration rather than end on, particularly with small audiences – maybe a note for next time – all the best performances have been when the setting is less formal (LBT, Aber) and the fourth wall is already broken a little.

Post Show: 20 minute get out that was very relaxed. The four hour drive home was fairly brutal – had a quite nice doner kebab in Leominster at 11:30pm (that I regretted within 25 mins). It was one of those drives where I was alone with my thoughts a bit too much I think and felt a bit sad. I’m writing an in depth “tour autopsy” to share in a week or two which will go into more detail on this.

Rating Out Of 10: 7. I had a lovely time but I think I struggled being away from home a bit. I didn’t sleep great for 4 nights and felt anxious that the audiences were so low and I’d let the side down a bit.

Nice Feedback:
“#EveryLittleHope also melted my cold, dead heart.

Final Thought: I think this was the first few days where the perils of touring on your own kicked in. I’m fairly insecure as a person at the best of times, and particularly around my own creative work – when left to my thoughts purely to reflect and ponder, it inevitably becomes very dark and quite sad. I think there’s an inherent loneliness to touring on your own (obviously) – that not even the new series of Russian Doll on Netflix (RIP) can resolve.