Running events is a multi-faceted, electrifying and challenging business as I’m sure any of you event managers out there will already know. Any of you who haven’t seen behind the scenes of organising and running events, in particular variety events, let me divulge.
First comes initiating a boom sauce idea that gets your own toes curling in anticipation. Then comes setting up a date with a venue, meeting with them, convincing them that you’re night is gonna be MA-HEGA and all of the liaison around that. Next comes gathering the fabulous artists to make your show a real extravaganza! As you can imagine, this process can take anything between days, weeks and months, depending on the size of your show, the amount of people in each act, whether Dave from Cardiff, who’s still in the band, happens to be in your ends that weekend or whether the reduced band still means that they are comfortable to play.
After booking your myriad entertainers, you have to make sure your space and facilities accommodate for them so next comes accumulating all of their widespread needs, wants and desires. In particular technical requirements, spatial needs and other miscellaneous requests. Whilst you’re thinking, oh wow this show is gonna be UH-MAZING, you’re also pondering how on earth is this night going to run smoothly? So next comes recruiting your team. Your team may include door staff, security, set-up and take down crew, co-hosts, folks with vans, people to cover social media at the event and even some people to engage with the audience.
Then you’re thinking, WAIT! I want people to remember the show in HD, so you book a sound technician (please never consider running a music event without one of these experts, this will be the difference between your night sounding like an awkward village fête and a truly memorable gig) and of course a photographer and videographer if you wanna capture the magical wonderment!
Okay, so now you have a pretty strong team and you pray to all of the gods that your large crew show up on the day. Next comes logistics, how, who, where, what time and WHY did you sign up to organise this mayhem?! I jest, you still writhe with excitement at the prospect of this legendary show! You knuckle down to some of the most fervent admin wizardry you can muster and disperse it to your newfangled team. Be prepared to answer every single question under the sun; the more information you can prepare initially, the less stress you’ll feel when you receive this magnificence of queries.
Be prepared to answer every single question under the sun; the more information you can prepare initially, the less stress you’ll feel when you receive this magnificence of queries.
SOUND THE ALARM!!! One vital element you must not bypass is promotion. Of course, you may have the raddest, most dynamic spectrum of a variety show in history but if no-one is there to witness it, it will never go down. Your decision here lies with streamlining your promotion, which ways are best for your audience? Where will you distribute posters and leaflets? Who will design them? Who will print them? Who will collect them? Who will distribute them? Will you write a press release? Will you try get a slot on a radio show or a piece in the paper? Will you send your event to local events’ listings? Will you share your event across social media channels? Into local online groups? ARE YOU EXHAUSTED YET? Just take one step at a time, you really can never do enough promotion so just make informed decisions about which routes to follow, know your budget and remember to delegate wherever possible!
A lot of these facets will overlap and continue up until very close to the event day/s. A verbal or mental walk through, even a role play, can help with combatting each and every to-be-hiccup or issue. You might realise, oh wait! We need 5 more hangings as this venue is bigger than last time! Or my usual van guy just broke his foot, WHO HAS A VAN? Freaketh thyself not, things will come together in the end. Remember, people are your resource and if you’ve got an issue, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Someone will know someone who knows someone…
In short, leading such a multi-dimensional operation brings a variety of challenges and knowing where best to invest your time and energy is vital. Along the way you learn how to multi-task and be the most productive, how to build a strong core team of people who truly care, how to build business resilience, to delegate and how to make sure everything gets done. Having organised events over the last 5 years for House of Verse, new investments have had to have been made to support our growth. These things include storage space for our expanding gear, insurance to cover our escapades and financial support – thanks to the fantastic Pro Active Resolutions – to help keep track of our records.
And just incase you wanted an extra insight into how the costs for House of Verse are broken down (for a single show), check out the beautiful info graphic below, made by the fabulous EM Design Studio.
In 2014, House of Verse began as an interactive, immersive installation exhibition which I piloted in my third year at De Montfort University, to attempt to make people find poetry more accessible. It evolved instantly after feedback clearly favoured the live performance element and snowballed over the last 4 years into a great big variety platform welcoming all artforms. It’s been one of those rides that I feel like I don’t remember getting on, I didn’t buy a ticket and somehow I’m 4 years in to a self-started creative business rollercoaster and piecing together a giant unknown jigsaw. Brain deep in managing the breadth of ‘departments’ of an entire business flying solo is certainly quite the voyage. Discovering just how many sides there are to one business has been wildly mind-opening. FYI, I’ve got it down to Admin, Liaison, Marketing, Finance, Web, Design, Business and Logistics.
Yes, you may call me Jellyfish Circus.
Managing so many creative souls rustles up a lot of creative and logistical questions. As I experienced working with more and more artists, I learnt that some people require a lot of information whereas others require far less. Preparation takes a lot of time and throughout my 4 years of experience, I have streamlined the information that I distribute to artists and partners to guarantee that they have received what they need to know and feel comfortable when it comes to the event. I have learnt how vital it is for communication lines to be friendly, consistent and reliable. It is very easy to communicate with a few artists; I started with 8 per show. Now I am in touch with up to 50 artists per show so saving time where I can is paramount to fluid coordination.
There was a while where I lived and breathed House of Verse, all thanks to the Crucible Project at The Innovation Centre, DMU, an entrepreneurial programme offered to postgraduates with grassroots business ideas. It was on this programme during an accounting workshop that I met Mahmood Reza, Business Owner of Pro Active Resolutions. I really appreciated receiving support from Mahmood, he is very down-to-earth and encouraging. I had hoped that our business relationship would not end after the Crucible and we kept in touch. After meeting the terrific team at Pro Active Resolutions’ homely office, a three-year sponsorship deal was drawn up and I felt truly blessed.
It felt so empowering to think that such a successful entrepreneur and his colleagues valued my business!
Since then, I have met monthly or bi-monthly with Pro Active Resolutions and they have supported me in countless ways: figuring out strategies, talking through complicated problems, simplifying numbers, keeping me calm when thinking about scary things like finance and tax.
More things Pro Active Resolutions have helped me with:
Thinking about the future
Thinking logically and realistically
Systems and templates
Valuing my time
Quoting up jobs
Managing professional relationships
My personal and professional development as a Business Manager
Working with Mahmood and his team feels like a second family; they are warm and personable human beings. As well as being supportive of me as a Business Manager, I really feel cared about on a personal level which is above and beyond what I had expected. Mahmood is a patient powerhouse of productivity and excellent at explaining business jargon. Maybe, one day I’ll be a jargonaut like him.
Please play these accompanying supersonic vibrations for ultimate blog-eating enjoyment
So the theme has officially been announced!
We’re taking the show further than we ever have before… into S P A C E. House of Verse is blasting off on May 12th, report to the loading bay in 2Funky Music Cafe at 7:00pm and prepare for lift off!
To assist you in your journey to infinity and beyond here’s a handy hitchhikers guide to alienating yourself and the people you love.
Come correct! COSTUMES!
The obvious first choice is to strap into an authentic astronaut suit. Look at her! Look at how much fun she is having! For added effect talk only in sign language and re-enact every Sandra Bullock scene from Gravity.
Why not go one step further and don a rocket inspired look? Have fun speeding your mates to the bar and back piggy-back style; but beware of getting Lost in Space on the galactic dancefloor!
If you want to go even further for your costume why not look a few galaxies over and transform into your favourite alien stereotype? Or if you’re actually an alien, simply strip off your human exosuit.
OH WAIT WE CAN’T FORGET BOWIE
Everyone’s favourite outer space rockstar Ziggy Stardust sadly left Earth to return to the stars, help bring his spirit back down to ground control for another night by following the helpful ‘How to be Bowie’ video below.
Next up, who actually are you:
Here you can find various quizzes to discover things about yourself you never even knew! Such as:
What planet are you?! I personally identify as Venus. Not sure? Find out by clicking the link below!
What alien are you?? Do you come in peace? Or is it game over man?
Do you even have what it takes to be in space? Reckon you’d suit zero gravity? Take this rigorous and authentic astronaut training quiz and find out!
Now, welcome to Astro-University!
Find out all about the space we live, work and play in. Be the envy of your friends at every cosmic happening with the help of these fascinating talks on all things astrophysical!
We love games here at House of Verse (maybe a bit too much). Playing them, watching them, making them… It’s all so much fun. We think you’d enjoy making some too. Here’s some weird and wonderful ideas to get you started.
Lost in Space
Steal various objects from friends (ones with a sense of humour preferably) and proceed to hide them around the universe. Inform your friends that they are now Lost in Space and watch as they almost punch you in delight.
No one can hear you scream
The premise of this game is to convince someone they have entered into the total vacuum of space. Persuade a group of people to lip sync talking en masse and watch as your accidental victim goes insane in the blinding nothingness of space.
Ping pong balls
That’s all. Throw them to make shooting stars, decorate them as mini planets, pretend they’re aliens, probably more.
Factoids and curios
1) One million Earths could fit inside the sun – and the sun is considered an average-size star.
2) For years it was believed that Earth was the only planet in our solar system with liquid water. More recently, NASA revealed its strongest evidence yet that there is intermittent running water on Mars, too!
3) Comets are leftovers from the creation of our solar system about 4.5 billion years ago – they consist of sand, ice and carbon dioxide.
4) You wouldn’t be able to walk on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus or Neptune because they have no solid surface!
5) If you could fly a plane to Pluto, the trip would take more than 800 years!
6) An asteroid about the size of a car enters Earth’s atmosphere roughly once a year – but it burns up before it reaches us. Phew!Ar
7) The highest mountain known to man is on an asteroid called Vesta. Measuring a whopping 22km in height, it is three times as tall as Mount Everest!
8) There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth. That’s at least a billion trillion!
9) The sunset on Mars appears blue.
10) House of Verse is going to be OUTTA THIS WORLD!
Feelin’ inspired yet? GOOD!
We can’t wait to see what you all come up with on May 12th.
Watch out for a whole galaxy of truly interstellar performers being announced soon!
The next House of Verse on Sat March 17th at the 2Funky Music Cafe is officially…
We thought we’d compile an underwater feast of themed finspiration for you to gobble up with your gills and get those brainy barnacles of yours oxygenated! This blog is full of ideas for costumes, games, small talk, sea-based spirit animals, aquatic faux pas… and much more!
(for full effect, feel free to play this relaxing oceanic browsing music)
Fisht off… Costume!
Woah there cool dude, just swimming my own business here
Why not take things one step further and terrify your aquatic compadres with this underwater equivalent of a Halloween costume?
You can go full paper Mâche fantasea of course… but be careful not to take a dip! These costumes may look the party but come into contact with water and you’ll come out looking like a blob fish!
If in doubt, P.Y.U (Pimp Your Umbrella) and set your stingers to stun with this fine look (with the added bonus of not having to talk to anyone you don’t want to talk to).
Now let’s learn the lingo!
Sure you may LOOK like a fish, but can you SOUND like a fish?
Pick up all the hottest tropical catch phrases, pick up lines and icebreakers with our handy pocket guise below!
Why did the vegan go deep-sea fishing?
Just for the halibut!
How do you make an Octupus laugh?
What is the best way to communicate with a fish?
Drop it a line!
Did you hear about the crab that went to the seafood disco?
He pulled a muscle!
What is the best way to communicate with a fish?
Drop it a line!
Pick up lines:
A shark just ate my partner. Will you be my new one?
There are plenty of fish in the sea, but I see you with me!
Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I float by again?
I’m hooked on you!
And if in doubt; FISH DANCE!
Now you’re looking and sounding like fish!
Lets dig deep and learn about life underwater:
Wasn’t that fascinating! You’re nearly 100% fish, now all you have to do is take a gander at our fish-based quizzes below and find out what school you belong in!
What is your soul fish?
Which ocean are you?
Which beach are you?
Congratulations lil sealife!
You’ve made it through our guide to all things ocean! By now you should look fishy, sound like the ocean, know all the tips and tricks to marine life AND have your personal fish, ocean and beach identities to play with. SO… now it’s time to put this knowledge into action and PREPARE TO DIVE DEEP on March 17th!
We’ll see you there along with a whole beach full of amazing live acts to feast your fisheyes on!
We’ve lined up a bountiful feast of delightful performances inspired by Eastern culture to share with you all. From DJs to poets, comedians to musicians, we’ve got something to tickle your every fancy.
So without further ado we’d like to announce…
*drum rolling sounds*
Stand up comedian and creator of ‘I’mMigrant!’ Ishi is a sentient being born to tickle, play and sing to the moon. Skipping along on the comedic yellow brick road, dancing through rain, snow, sun and wind, rainbow lover, unicorn rider. She is exploring the theme of migration, belonging and identity. One day she hopes to do a cartwheel and learn to ride a bike. Current art forms:- stand up comedy, dance, theatre, occasionally poetry and paint splashing.
Shruti Chauhan is a British Indian poet and performer based in Leicester. She has won slams internationally in Chicago and Mumbai, and has performed at Royal Albert Hall, Rich Mix, the US Embassy’s American Centre in New Delhi, the Green Mill in Chicago, and at poetry festivals and events across the UK.
Mystical rhythms and mythical chasms melding the shimmering blims of the hang drum with the slumbering strums of the ukulele, speckled with percussive thwacks and lucid language. Mythm, Carise Zangerle Murray and Jenny Hibberd, fused fuzzings in late 2014 and commenced musicalizing ‘pon the stage at the end of 2015. Joined by rhythm, linked by magical thinks, Leicester based duo Mythm hope to bestow trinkets of adventure through their sonic voyages.
Gypsy popper and full on hiphop funkster, specialising in blending & scratching alternative music of all forms together for people to dance and be happy too. Resident DJ at House of Verse, Candydust & Canned heat @ The Basement. Can also be seen regularly DJing at the Cookie and Anerki. Other accolades include being winner of the basement DJ battle, cypher DJ in the Clarence Street Collective and of course being “the DJ” in Dan Nicholas’ comedy show “Posterboy”.
“my light projection uses moving water, oil and colour. Natural forms develop as a circulation mixes the elements. In common with clouds, these shapes are transitory. In common with clouds, this sometimes reminds me . . . of . . . everything”
Hari Trivedi is a local Leicester artist who has been playing since childhood. He is always innovating and experimenting new mediums of expressing music through sound and media. This is the 5th Indian summer festival performance for him. He is currently a senior student of Pritam Singh of Birmingham. He has played around the world and accompanied a variety of artists from Indian classical, devotional, western classical, theatre production and new age fusion. His main focus in teaching tabla is based on clarity, tone and letting the students think creatively.
Neil Donoghue has been playing the Sitar since he brought his first one back from Jaipur in 2001. He started lessons shortly after and has been playing shows in Leicester, Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Nottingham and elsewhere in the Midlands over the years.