Hello my name is Ryan, I worked as a theatrical tour guide in Liverpool for the past couple of years, you might have seen me out and about scaring kids and pissing of cabbies, in the hope street area I’m a local legend. But I thought using my years of experience I would help you out with my top ten tips for street performing.
Here we go.
10. Camp it up!
Make your performance big and flirty, no one wants a self-conscious street performer be sexy with the girls and the lads. I don’t mean in a creepy old man at the local pub kind of way, your boots are made for walking and you are everything on those cobbled streets. Prance around like puss in boots and eye up every god dam human you see and try and chat them up people love it!
9. Don’t be subtle.
As the late great Alan Rickman once said “I’m going to rip your heart out with a spoon” mean what you want to say and don’t beat about the bush if you want to terrify a group of tourist or grab the attention of a group of scallies you shout them down!! Make them know you are in the vicinity and don’t let that lad dressed as predator up stage you!!! “One pound please” jog on mate I’m the monster here you intergalactic nonce!
8. Berkoff! Not Stanislavsky!
Street performance has no room for a Pinter pause it doesn’t respect a subtle glance and a hand movement. You need to be big and bold, you might have a crowd of 30 watching you do your stuff, so make sure everybody is getting the one to one treatment, this isn’t a quite little theatre this is the wide outdoors and you don’t want to be getting upstage by them native American Indians blowing the pan pipes. Your physicality needs to be big and over the top the movement needs to wow and amaze people not have them running for nearest Greggs for steak bake.
7. Get loose get loose.
This is vital for fellow street performers, get that warm up down and make sure you are like Conor McGregor getting ready to kill a bear before you walk out onto the street. There is nothing worse than beginning a performance and feeling a muscle pull or an ankle strain it can ruin the whole show. You don’t want to be stuck in the mud and feeling venerable so loosen up, stretch out, get loose and be less bear bait and more bear grills!
Yeah we know your show is unique and amazing and what you produce has never been seen before but here’s the rub brothers and sisters sometimes life is 10 times more exciting than your cover of wonderwall. I have been on countless ghost tours when one of my stories has been interrupted by a loud local who’s been on the sauce. The local will always upstage up, he’s funnier than you and he knows how to work the crowd. If you can’t beat them join them! Let him have his 4 minutes of fame and join in with him, work him into your act somehow or just have a dance off the audience will love you for it.
5. Americans always tip, take the piss.
Before you begin your performance get to know your audience, ask where there from and take the piss out of it. Where have you joined us from sir? “Were from Canada” Oh lovely have you been clubbing any baby seals recently? Etc etc. People love having the mick taken out of them and if you do a good enough job throughout the tour with a yank they might just toss you a tenner at the end which could be the difference between getting on ale that night or a net flix and chill alone in your cold flat.
4. Don’t go it alone.
It’s tough out there and going it alone is not advisable, get to know other street performers and meet up and discus things, whats is working and what’s not. Christ these next few years are going to be a nightmare on the arts thanks to this terrible government let’s work together and help each other out. We need to form an arts community that relies on each other or this government will succeed in driving the arts into the ground and all will have left is top gear with Chris evens and the living statue. Only joking that’s really harsh I love Chris Evans.
3. Get to know local pubs and bars.
Getting to know a local pub or bar is a great way to store props and costume so you don’t have to be lugging it onto buses or trying to cycle home with a drum kit on your back. Go and ask, there’s no harm in it and they might even advertise your show or tour.
At the end of every performance tell the audience what you have planned for the future sell your cd’s and promote your website, twitter and Facebook. Don’t be ashamed of it, McDonalds and coke spend billions a year promoting their product and some street performers have told me they feel guilty about it haha ridiculous. I spent last summer in a bin dressed as a doctor in the Edinburgh festival promoting a show I wasn’t even in!!!
1. Believe in yourself
Whatever you do whether it be performing street theatre, playing and instrument, or just shouting abuse about god , believe in what you are doing. Its hard and there will always be days when you just want to pack it in and sit in an office pushing numbers but what you are doing is totally unique and special and when you get that one guy who comes up to you shakes your hand and bigs you up ,take that and build on it because IM NOT GOING BACK TO GREGGS NO WAY !!!!
You’ve been an audience, I’ve been RKB (Ryan K Byrne).
Thank you and good night!