Got a Booking – You Need To Ask Questions!

So you have a booking… Whether it’s a corporate booking, theatrical show or private party, before you put that phone down or press send on that email, here’s Lilly Laudanum’s useful checklist of stuff you need to know about the booking:   

General for any booking:

  • The contact/booker’s name, mobile number
  • The address of venue
  • Date and time of performance
  • What kind of performing area is it – eg stage/on the flat /in a public place (if so what kind of public space?)/private residence and what is the approximate  size of performance area, including ceiling height (important for private bookings, if you are booked for a fan/isis wing/other large prop act)
  • What kind of place is it at (inside/outside)
  • Type of event it is (is it a straight up theatre show / a supper or show with dining / a surprise private party (in this case you might need to liase with the organiser to remain hidden until time – which can be fun!), corporate event, product launch, etc)
  • Will there be a place to change
  • Will there be a place to secure your belongings
  • Will there be someone to pick up after you have performed (in private bookings, sometimes this has not been considered)
  • Will there be parking (if you drive) / the nearest public transport (if you don’t).
  • Who will the audience be? (eg, with some private bookings, some performers prefer not to perform to large groups of chaps on a stag/ ladies on a hen) 
  • What is the age of the audience (sometimes in family parties, the organiser might want to be reminded that some act content might not be suitable for younger eyes!)
  • Payment – how much and how and when will it be paid.

Corporate Booking/ Product Launches: 

  • What kind of show are they expecting? (Some corporate bookings are looking for something a bit generic, eg a fan dance while others prefer the performer to exercise modesty – ie not go down to pasties)
  • How long are they expecting you to perform for? (Some corporate bookings like a performance of 10mins!)
  • Do they have a product they are promoting? Company Colours? Companies LOVE IT if you incorporate a reference to their product or, if doing a generic act, incorporate their colours into your routine! Hence, more bookings for you in the future!
  • Do they want a meet and greet? A lot of corporate shows like performers to mix and mingle with their audiences, or be there as people enter to welcome them.

Birthday or special occasion: 

  • Who is the special person and what are they celebrating? It’s nice to acknowledge them by name when you meet them and like to take a card for the birthday boy or girl, take a gift of pasties for a hen or make a fuss of a nan! At Weddings, I’ll dedicate my sword act to the newly weds (in the origins of sword dancing it’s considered lucky to have a sword dancer!)
  • What kind of show are they expecting? (again, some private parties are looking for something a bit generic, eg a fan dance while others prefer the performer to exercise modesty – ie not go down to pasties)
  • How long are they expecting you to perform for? (Again, some private bookings like a performance of 10mins or will be expecting a couple of acts)
  • Do they want a meet and greet? Guests and the star of the special occasion (lol! not you, the performer!!) love having their pics with you. You might want to put some articles of costume on before you do this though, just to ensure your safety (Uncle Ernie’s wandering hands!) and so the guests feel comfortable.  
  • Check the time you are required to go on – around 9pm is always good at parties as people are not too wrecked and rowdy to take notice, and by this time the party would have got into action.

Here’s a general note on corporate and private bookings – firstly for your safety. If you feel unsure of the booking, you can politely decline. Ask if there will be other performers present and if not, take someone with you. Not only will this ease any safety fears, you might also feel more confident with a ‘personal assistant’ (not really a personal assistant, but a friend!), with you, and if you need help with anything (pick ups for instance, and getting into your costume, etc) then they will be there to help.

Often you won’t get a sound check so I recommend, wherever possible, making friends with whoever is operating the sound (eg DJ) to check your music works, and to make sure they know your cues (walk on acts work better in these occasions as sometimes the music can be started before you are still and ready on stage)– and that you need the music loud (not as background music!). Also, if you can, arrive early so you know the area you’ll be performing in, and try it in your performance shoes.  

Show Booking:

With a show booking, it’s a bit more straight forward as most of the time you will know other performers on the bill, and in general they will be in a known venue with a paying audience. See our post on show safety for more tips on keeping safe here:  https://bluestockingloungeburlesque.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/staying-safe-advice-to-new-performers/

But it’s always wise to get references from other performers on the show or production team if you’ve not heard of them. 

  • Confirm the acts you’ll be doing. If you’ll need a while to change costume and make-up between acts, it’s a good idea to let the producer know before they make a set list. Also, if one act works better alongside another act or an act works better in a certain order (eg I love doing my Queen Victoria act to open a show – it makes more sense, and a bloody act is better as a second act so there’s not a race to clean up and re-make up for a cleaner act)
  • If they would like your music up front and the format you’ll need to bring it on if required on the night.
  • Call times (what time you’ll need to be there for sound check)
  • Approx end time (important if you have another booking the same night)
  • If there is a curtain call (and what is suitable to wear – some shows like you in costume, some ban any street wear)
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