SHORT: Dreamgun Are Back In Town

Take a look at the latest comedy short from Dublin-based collective, Dreamgun – Back In Town.

Irish comedy collcetive Dreamgun are Back In Town for their latest short, only this time they’ve roped in an army of support from other actors and filmmakers plying their trades in Dublin and further afield.

In what could be a Love/Hate parody, Back In Town takes one ‘gangster’ fresh out of prison who’s looking to get back in the game, only there’s some added competition on the streets these days. Continue reading “SHORT: Dreamgun Are Back In Town”

Online Ticket Sales For Theatre Companies

Recorded reading of Can't Pay? Won't Pay!
Recorded cast reading of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay this past Saturday. That’ll be me pictured on the right of show, playing the role of Giovanni.

THE DEVIOUS theatre company, one of my other / many hats, have announced details of our first major production in 2010, Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! and I’ll be on KCLR96FM around 4:15pm afternoon chatting about the show. You can tune in via KCLR96FM.com (live stream link).

We do a lot of things online as a company, given we have no physical premises as such (bar sharing each others offices for the odd rehearsal / recording session). We blog, we connect, we share videos, tweet, hold our meetings online, use private forums for staff discussion, provide online resources, scripts and schedules for cast and crew, we advertise (and have completed a few useful Facebook ad campaigns), we podcast, we’ve an online CRM setup for managing contacts and suppliers and a whole lot more besides. The next logical step of course was to start selling tickets online.

I had long thought about it for the group, given the wide variety of venues we’ve performed in, the growing and varying audiences we’re attracting show-on-show, and the difference in management for pre-bookings or box office practice per venue that it would be good to introduce something online that we could manage ourselves, cost effectively as well.

Enter Eventbrite, which within ten minutes of using I had our December performance of Accidental Death of an Anarchist up and running, with five nights of tickets to buy for, connected out to our Facebook profile to plug the event there and (add on another five minutes or so) tickets available via DeviousTheatre.com with their embedding service.

So with a new show on the horizon and tickets gone to the printers, we figured we’d do exactly the same for our production of Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! in March.

There were a lot of plusses for using the service. To start with, it opened the door to a potential new revenue stream for the group. We decided that 2010 would be the year we focus on turning the group towards a business, the first step for us in bringing the company “professional” (join the queue for the debate between amateur and professional theatre) and as such, revenue streams have to be looked at. We spend a lot of time, as a group, online in promoting and documenting our shows and we felt that online ticket sales would give us the ability to reach those that are the more serious web users, those au fait with booking online. We also wanted a way to provide ticket sales to people traveling from out of town, those who couldn’t travel to Kilkenny before the box office closed at six, or those who didn’t want to give credit card details over the phone. On both, accounts, it worked.

That was the test – would it work. I would have considered it a success if one person had bought one ticket online, at least we know it worked. But one turned into three, turned into 17 and more as the weekend theatregoers turned up with their pre-printed tickets (made available by Eventbrite), our door staff crossing off the checklist of those who registered and paid for tickets online (also made available by Eventbrite) and as a plus for us, we had immediate access for funds to use online in advance of the production. As the payments go from Eventbrite to our Paypal account, and we’re avid eBay users for sourcing props for shows over the years, we’ve created a stream of income we didn’t quite have before.

For some of those people attending Accidental Death of an Anarchist, who bought their tickets online, it was their first time to see one of our productions – a further success in my eyes. Would they have come to the show or traveled 30 miles to Kilkenny if they hadn’t been able to buy their tickets online? Maybe, maybe not, but they came. And as a bonus, we’ve decided that those who did purchase tickets online for our first show will receive a nice discount on the online purchases if they want to buy tickets for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! online. A token gesture for us, yes, but at the same time we’re hoping it would encourage people to return again and enjoy another night at the theatre.

The tickets for Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay are on sale. You can pick them up online here and here. There is a booking fee of €1.07 per ticket sold online, something that we’re also able to manage ourselves and it’s how Eventbrite (much like the credit card companies or physical theatres) will make their money from box office sales. When Eventbrite deliver funds per show / ticket sold, those funds include the booking fee. Post-event we’re invoiced from Eventbrite to recoup the booking fee, and again, it’s a straight Paypal transaction. Outside of that, there’s no other cost involved. No membership fee, no setup fee, nothing.

So we add online ticket sales to our bow, and we know that it works. I’m still tempted into doing an online theatre production, or live-streaming one of our own productions but we’ll have to talk to the licensing powers that be about that one.

And yes, I’m sure there are other ticket-selling resources available but we’ve tried Eventbrite, made it work, had it generate revenue and open a whole other realm of online promotion for the group so we’re happy to keep going with it.

Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! runs at the Set Theatre, John Street, Kilkenny from Wednesday March 10th to Sunday March 14th 2010. Tickets available online priced €13 ex booking fee. Keep an eye on DeviousTheatre.com for more details.

Beaten Up For My Love Of The Arts

Ken McGuire plays the Superintendent

If you believe the above photo, I’ve been beaten up for my love of the arts. Or more for the honour of performing with the DTC actors again in our production of Accidental Death Of An Anarchist which opens next Wednesday night in the new Set Theatre on John Street, Kilkenny.

We’re (as in The Devious Theatre Company) taking our next production to the new 252-seater space for a five night run commencing Wednesday December 2nd and wrapping Sunday December 6th.

Written in 1970, Accidental Death Of An Anarchist was inspired by events that took place in Italy in 1969 when an anarchist, Giuseppe Pinelli fell – or was thrown – from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station. He had been accused of a campaign of bombing, of which he was later found innocent. The resultant scandal uncovered a system rife with corruption and intensified public rage at the government. Intensification of public rage is something that Dario Fo is a master of with his work challenging church, government and the authorities in Italy for over 50 years.

Accidental Death Of An Anarchist takes place as an enquiry into the anarchist’s death is causing the policemen involved to have some difficulties remembering the details of the event. That is, until a nameless deranged madman shows up and proceeds to tie the authorities around his fingers in a master class performance of utter logic. The cast includes Alan Butler, Sean Hackett, Simone Kelly, myself, John Morton and David Thompson playing the famed role of the shape shifting Madman. Having previously donned the director’s hat for Trainspotting (2008), John finds himself wearing it again for this production (and also the followup with Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! next spring)

As is usually the case with adaptations of Dario Fo, this production will look at the events of the play through the prism of modern Ireland and the corruption and scandals inherent in our own political systems. Employing the comedic methods of commedia dell’arte and slapstick as used by Dario Fo, Accidental Death Of An Anarchist is an uproariously funny farce which rallies against political injustice and corruption.

To mark the occasion of the opening of the new show I’ve got two tickets sitting here on my desk that I would like someone to have. They’re for the opening night of the show on Wednesday coming and if you would like a chance at winning the tickets, leave a comment and tell me which Italian playwright penned Accidental Death Of An Anarchist. We’ll leave things run until tomorrow evening perhaps, say 5pm tomorrow (Friday) to try get a winner.

The show itself runs nightly at 8pm, doors open 7:30pm, we’ve priced tickets at €12 for some very affordable theatre and they can also be bought from Langtons on John Street, Rollercoaster Records on Kieran Street (Kilkenny) and online via DeviousTheatre.com.

The Long Goodbye To Vultures

Here’s the final installment of the current Vultures series, The Long Goodbye. Whether or not it’s the last we’ll ever see of the Vultures gang remains to be seen but needless to say, it’s been an entertaining two years to get the show to its current stage.

The trailer can be seen here or immerse yourself for 40 minutes or so and enjoy episode 7.

For more on Vultures, and all previous episodes, trailers and character information, check VulturesPI.com.

That’s A Wrap On Vultures

On Saturday night I went along to The Left Bank in Kilkenny for the private cast and crew screening of Vultures episodes six and seven, Attack Of The Pinkertons and The Long Goodbye.

After two years of work, it’s great to see the series come to its conclusion. I could be slightly biased in that I’ve been involved in some of the episodes either on-screen or providing locations for shooting but behind the scenes when you look at the mammoth amount of work that was done, the minimal budget that was used to produce the entire series and the talents of those involved, you can’t help but be in awe. Vultures is produced here in Kilkenny by Mycrofilms.

Above is episode six, Attack Of The Pinkertons, featuring a cameo from myself (“Got any change?”), with episode seven set to hit the web early next month.

For this and all previous episodes along with trailers, character development notes and more, check out VulturesPI.com.

The Janine Drew Agency Opens

So, the Janine Drew Agency has opened its doors, the wee junior detective looking to make her stamp on the industry by competing with the likes of VPI and the Pinkertons. She’s even on Bebo.

The above is the Janine Drew trailer, a precursor to Vultures episode six which should see a release within the next fortnight. After that, there’s only one left. So if you’ve got problems with people robbing your bike, saying stuff about you or shams throwing things at you, Janine is your woman.

The Adventure of The Hidden Microfilm

Saturday night was spent in the company of the Vultures cast and crew in Kilkenny as a select bunch of us hit one of Kilkenny’s taverns for the premiere of the latest installment of the Vultures webcom, The Adventure of The Hidden Microfilm. Watch it above via Blip.tv or check out VulturesPI.com.

The Pinkertons are closing in on the increasingly frazzled and paranoid detectives of V.P.I. when a mysterious fugitive shows up on their door. The fugitive has stolen a microfilm from the Pinkertons. This fugitive is in possession of a secret microfilm belonging to the rival Pinkerton agency. Except he doesn’t know exactly where he put it. Although he suspects it might be inside him. And it could be a floppy disk or a USB key either. He’s really not sure. Can V.P.I. strike a blow to the Pinkertons before they’ve even opened? How do they get the microfilm from the fugitive? And really, who is this Natalie Blaise we keep hearing about?

Vultures, written & directed by John Morton & Paddy Dunne, is the story of three private detectives who run a small scale private investigation agency in small town Ireland. The moderately successful business is called Vulture Private Investigations and specialises in dealing with divorce cases, fraud, missing persons, animals and plants and occasionally, just occasionally, they’ll be served up something that approximates a mystery.

Ross, as director, has more here.

Dopplehammer Trailer

This one was screened before the Vultures Episode 5 premiere last night in Kilkenny… it can only mean one thing – the next installment of Vultures hits the web later today. Keep an eye on VulturesPI.com for the release of what is quite possibly the funniest episode to date. Bless that Noah Hennessy.

Vultures Episode 5 Trailer Released

The Vultures series, produced and recorded here in Kilkenny is almost to a close. Filming wrapped at the start March, the final episodes are almost done in post production and as a teaser to the release of episode five on June 7th, here’s a light-hearted trailer for your viewing pleasure.

Don’t forget to check out the series by visiting VulturesPI.com or check Vultures on Blip TV for previous episodes.

Vultures Episode 4 Goes Online

It’s been a while coming, but Vultures Episode 4 has finally gone online. And yes, there’s a party taking place in the back of my van. Amazing what and who you can fit in the back of a Peugeot Partner.

This episode marks the directorial debut of Ross Costigan and was again written by Paddy Dunne and John Morton and produced by Alan Slattery. While Vultures and Pinkertons get their ads out, it’s nice to see that Jack Street has panache – and an Xbox live headset.

Enjoy Vultures Episode 4 – The Case Of The Poisoned Dates