The café is 18ft by 16ft and has substantial space for publicity. The walls are covered with posters of previous shows, dating back to the 80s, when EUTC first took over the building. Drinks, meals and snacks are sold all day during the Festival, at prices significantly below the Fringe norm. We also have the opportunity to use the café as an exhibition space for local artists. The café is consistently busy, successful and ever so slightly boho acting as a focal point and meeting place for both performers and audiences.
Source: Bedlam Fringe Prospectus
The FoH manager is in charge of the café and no construction should happen in here. The furniture should not be used in any way for set construction because it tends to get damaged. The furniture should not be used on stage (The Production Guidelines state that Cafe Furniture must not be used on stage) because it may get damaged and can’t be used in the café if it’s on stage.
The Café is not soundproofed from the auditorium and sound levels need to be strictly controlled whenever a show is on. The price of soundproofing has been looked into but it was decided that it was far too high (2k-4k). An attempt was made on our own in fringe 2004.
The servery contains two fridges, a freezer, a large chiller cabinet, microwave and a really posh coffee machine. The fridges need frequent cleaning because although nothing is kept there they still get smelly and manky. The freezer should be defrosted a couple of times a year, it’s really only useful for the fringe so might end up being disconnected through the year. The Chiller should be cleaned out at every work in and the person running the café should make sure to open the doors and switch it off every night.
A panic alarm was installed into the café under the till which connects to the panic alarm in the box office in 1997. The alarm sits underneath the till (the little grey box that has a red light on the front) to activate it push the button underneath/on the bottom of the box and the red light should turn on. If the light turns on, on its own and a buzzing noise is heard then the person in the box office is panicking (you might want to send some spare people out to help them)
The café grills were installed in 1991 by G Sutherland Blacksmiths and they don’t make the café secure more to be a bit of a deterrent and stop company members helping themselves.
The coffee machine is great in that it makes good coffee but the coffee is a lot more expensive than the instant we used to use and so it’s use should get closely monitored by the FoH Manager.
Some of the walls in the café are held up by the skirting board which is held on with gaffa tape so don’t remove it unless you’re planning on rebuilding the walls. This is quite a big job and needs to be well planned.
The floor was last sanded and re-varnished for fringe 2001 as were the tables in 2004. The stools were repainted and reupholstered in 2003 New stools were bought fringe 2004 but will probably all have been destroyed as they were cheap.
There must always be a fire escape measuring at least 1.2m wide between the doors. This often interferes with the aesthetic placement of seats and chairs but since feng shui is not appreciated by the fire officer be gentle with the poor misguided souls. The café can be used for all sorts of mood creating measures but make sure you know what’s going on so you can stop anything stupid. If people want to put up banners make sure they are sensibly flame proofed due to the number of people smoking. If you want to clean the floor properly, you can borrow a big scary floor buffer from Bobbies
Source: Theatre Managers Manual, May need updating