“We like putting on INN CROWD shows as they are simple and not super expensive to put on as you don’t need lots of tech and we will have a really good take behind the bar.”
How INN CROWD shows have helped widen the customer base of this Falmouth bar
The Chintz Symposium Bar, www.chintzbar.com, in the university town of Falmouth, Cornwall, which opened six years ago, has a strong focus on entertainment, hosting up to five events a week.
The venue’s vibrant entertainment offer majors on live music, but also features comedy and live theatre which all helps keep its customer base, of predominantly students and young professionals, coming back for more.
This drinks-led Cornish venue benefits from steady trade across the year (with business peaking in summer) from the town’s strong student population. The bar also has a wonderful cheese board offer for customers to enjoy and also partners with exciting pop-up food operators who operate outside in the bar’s courtyard.
The Chintz’s co-owners Franciska Earle and Kirran Bruce have been hosting INN CROWD shows in the venue’s Underland bar since it opened in November 2021, with an INN CROWD show the first performance hosted in the bar.
The venue has now hosted six shows, booked through regional touring partner Carn to Cove, www.carntocove.co.uk
Franciska says: “We like putting on INN CROWD shows as they are simple and not super expensive to put on as you don’t need lots of tech. If you are putting on five shows a week, like us, it can feel a bit daunting to think about the requirements of a live theatre show. As a result we don’t have to charge a high ticket price, which means the shows are really accessible for everyone. We can have up to 40 people attending the shows.”
Attracts in a wider crowd
She adds: “The main benefit of the INN CROWD shows for us is we get a really mixed audience of people who might not normally visit us, because they think it is a student crowd. But because the shows are something different, that are reasonably priced we will get an older crowd in too to try it. They will stay on for drinks after the show and come back to another show with friends.”
Another key benefit the bar owners find from hosting INN CROWD shows is that it helps boost drinks sales on quieter nights. Franciska says: “We will have a really good take behind the bar.”
Put venue on map as theatre venue
Boosting the reputation of the bar as a performance venue is another reason why INN CROWD shows have become a regular feature of the bar’s entertainment programme. Franciska says: “The shows really help put us on the map as somewhere not just for live music and gives local people somewhere else to watch live theatre, as they aren’t lots of venues in Falmouth to do so.”
She adds: “The feedback we get from customers on the shows is really positive, with people enjoying the relaxed, informal vibe and set-up of the performances. The shows have a strong following of people now.”
Hosting performances on quieter nights
The Underland bar hosts the INN CROWD shows, which the venue charges from £5 up to £10 for depending on the performer, on a typically quieter night of the week, such as a Tuesday, when the venue doesn’t have lots of customers in its outside courtyard making noise. But this year The Chintz team are also looking to host summer shows in its lovely courtyard space too.
The shows are marketed through social media and in-venue posters and Ticket Source has been used for bookings, but moving forward the bar is using a local promoter, who they work with on music events, to drive bookings.
Franciska says INN CROWD are really easy to work with. She says: “The performers are all really lovely too. You get sent a menu of upcoming shows and often it is really hard to pick which ones to go for as they all sound so good. It means people have the opportunity to watch performers they would otherwise not easily get to see.”
INN CROWD shows are recommended by The Chintz team to other publicans. Franciska adds: “I think lots of places can put these shows on as they don’t have to already be set-up as a performance venue.”
Franciska’s Top Tips on Hosting
- Start the earlier the better when it comes to marketing the shows.
- Depending on how many attendees you have for a show, adapt the space if you can to create an intimate vibe. So if there is a big number of attendees use a bigger space and a smaller area for less customers etc.
- An accessible price point is key right now. Lots of people don’t have much money and I think going to the theatre is a luxury that will continue to suffer at present and will have a massive impact on art communities. By offering a show, at say £5 a ticket, it is still much cheaper than going to the cinema or out for dinner. You are still making money behind the bar and getting more people in on a quieter night than usual.
The host touring scheme for the Chintz Bar is Carn to Cove. INN CROWD is funded by Arts Council England.
The lead partners are Applause Rural Touring, Creative Arts East and the National Centre for Writing.