Who Built The Laughter House

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Laughter House Entertainment is the brain-child of two performers – Tamara Campbell and me, Dave Evans (or as you may know us  Kiki & Pascal, The Great Dave, Kiki Bittovabitsch … I could go on, but I won’t.

We moved to Australia in 2007/2008 after touring extensively and specifically on the European Festival Circuit. When I say extensively, I am talking about a good  12 years of zig zagging across Europe playing a different European town each weekend – sometimes up to 3 different gigs per weekend – for 12 years! That’s a lot of strange hotels, hire cars, German breakfasts and some serious air miles!

Not only are there bountiful quantities of work in Europe (if you are good of course) but the history of open air theatre and performance festivals dates back literally thousands of years. They get it. Tiny towns of a couple of hundred people transform into world class, well-funded, International Arts Festivals with line-ups from all over the world.

Let’s just say that Australia is a couple of thousand years behind their European counterparts!

Don’t get me wrong, the small amount of arts festivals that exist in Australia are good, really good. They are run by passionate, dedicated, intelligent and very talented people, there just aren’t that many of them! More often than not, Festivals in Australia are community events, put on by Councils or giant music festivals.

What  we’ve found is  that people welcome the idea of having an arts/comedy/circus element to their festivals but their understanding of what that means kind of ends there. We’d rock up at gigs to find that our  programming had been an after-thought … we’d be put on the same stage as the band for instance! A giant 2 metre high stage with a crush wall at the front. The seating (if any) would start 10 metres away,  we’d invariably be in the full midday sun, there would often be another band on another stage playing next to us and the light and sound would be set up for somebody else … and be very wrong… Or worse still, we’d  be sent off to some corner of the festival to try and attract people to the bit of the festival that nobody wants to go to!  I could go on …

Pretty soon we realized that it didn’t matter how good  we were, we were never going to be able to do our best in these environments. The client would be underwhelmed, the potential to transport the audience to somewhere magical wasted and ultimately WE would walk away very unsatisfied.

The only way to counter all of these adverse variables was to create a consistent environment, custom-built to maximise the audience experience and showcase our talents in the best possible light.

And lo, La Petite Grande was built.

LPG houses a custom designed and built 4 tiered seating system that hugs the walls of the 9 metre diameter tent and cambers down towards the stage allowing the whole focus of the audience to zero in on centre stage. The lights and sound are  always the same, there are no other distractions.  There’s just the magic of the performer, the stage, the proscenium and the audience.

In truth, the outcome has far exceeded even our  expectations. The alchemy of La Petite Grande means that the audience receives a highly refined performance experience. 100% focused, each person is committed to the moment  by the sheer act of entering the tent. Audiences are  primed by the Spruiker outside, warmed up and then fully immersed in 20 minutes of high octane, highly skilled, highly funny variety entertainment.

Just imagine if you will, 100 people seated in a 9 metre diameter tent watching a turbo-charged comedy circus show. Imagine the energy, Imagine the “group” experience.

You are only part of the way to understanding just how remarkable a performance space it is!

It has been such a success that we  have now built 4 other tents of various shapes and sizes ranging from an intimate comedy Peep Show tent for a maximum 10 people at a time (complete with peep holes through which to view) all the way up to a grand fully wooden and absolutely magical Speigeltent!

Gone are the days of playing to a sea of people 20 metres away. Gone are the days of trying to entertain people sitting in the mid-day sun when all you really want to do is tell them to go and sit in the shade. Gone are the days of trying to keep the focus as they start to empty the portaloos next to your stage and the smell of festival poo wafts over you and your audience!

Laughter House shows really can and do play anywhere but…

Laughter House Shows are better in Laughter House Tents!

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