If it's a bit quiet today that may be because everyone is at BBU 2013 or London Hoop Fest.
Viewing all threads tagged #teapots, these threads relate to Flying Teapots.
Earlier this week Kevin was interviewed over the phone about #TWJC for an article to go in the local press. We had a photographer come along last night to take photos to go alongside it. He had been instructed to make sure he got a few photos of kendama which apparently the reporter was very interested in. So Kevin, Louisa (not Laura) & I were asked to hold our kendama in various action poses. My partners in crime chose to hold poses with the ball on the spike & big cup respectively (boring) so I chose a lighthouse (not that that would be appreciated I'm sure). The photographer took to arranging us for his shot & points at me, "You, could you move in please & do that with your left hand. Thanks."
When it comes out, do let us know the web page for the story, or a scan of the physical paper itself would be good.
If it was for a static photo though, why didn't you go for Moon Landing or Stilts?!
Ooh, a bit of a doom-laden subtext to all that. Hope things pick up!
I want to know where all the other photos went!
'tis quite doom laden. Although it feels like we've been in this state for over a decade now so I've long since stopped fussing about it. The rent of the hall has tripled in my time at TWJC. The Camden Centre used to be in use all the time but we have been the only regular booking for many years now. I think it is inevitable that we will lose the hall which will be a great shame. It is fantastic & we're all very fond of it, it is huge, well lit & perfectly located in the centre of town right next door to free parking & a number of pubs.
But the club is the people, not the hall & certainly not the bank balance. Cutting down to once a month has worked well for #HCC which is something we can consider.
#Teapots has been having similar problems lately... the numbers are dwindling but the hall is still horribly expensive. It's looking likely that we'll be moving to a cheaper venue down the road... but it has no kitchen! Half the existing membership only come for the tea and biscuits!
Have you got any reasons for the dwindling numbers? At first I thought that the rising cost of travel was a major factor. However, at the moment not one of our regular members lives in Tunbridge Wells.
We've lost a lot of regulars to university, moving/working abroad & families. Which when you think about it is all pretty normal stuff. It is people like me who haven't done that sort of thing who are abnormal.
In terms of attracting new members I'm struggling to think of something new. I really don't believe in the standard recruitment drive that people automatically think of.
Before Hastings switched from monthly to weekly they took out advertising in the papers, went on the local radio, performed on the streets & for 4 weeks ran a free 'course' where newbies would get dedicated help from the regulars. Things went well, they had a number of families come along for the sessions. Then they were never seen again. One of the parents explicitly said that they were only there for the free stuff. They had no intention of coming along regularly.
We used to do the same sort of thing at TWJC. After performing, running workshops & handing out armfuls of leaflets at fetes for 4+ years we never got a single regular member. The amount of time, effort & money required to grab someone's attention is wasted for no return. If people don't come to us of their own volition they are not going to come at all.
The other problem with recruitment drives is that they put pressure on existing members. Back in the time of the fruit of the Persea Americana we had a loads of committee meetings, there was the constant nagging about performing at fetes & so on. I have enough of all that bureaucracy at work, out of work I just want to go out & have a bit of fun. I think that newbies are very aware of the atmosphere of the club, & if it is relaxed they will be far more comfortable than if we appear pushy.
When thinking about how to get more members I keep coming back to an article I read many years ago about Bryant Park in the US where they count women to measure how well they are doing at attracting visitors. Looking back I'm sure that all our peaks of attendance correspond with times when we had more female regulars. One of the first things our female newbie from 2 weeks back (who sadly didn't return) said when she came into the hall was, "Oh no! I'm not the only girl am I?"
...did not work.
It's tricky, because different people go to different clubs for different reasons and you can't please all of the people all of the time. When you add in life changes it's impressive that so many clubs have lasted for so long.
I agree that if people aren't looking for a club to attend it's hard to make them want to. Posters up at events like BJC and local conventions might help (though if people are managing to find out about those events then why aren't they finding out about the club?). I know that at a few conventions last year the people attending from Cambridge were instructed to wear their t-shirts.
I think with Teapots it's not only a question of why the numbers are going down; it's also about why they were up.
The reason the numbers were up was poi. The club had a committee of spinners one year and I think spinning is simply more immediately accessible to beginners - a lot of whom later take up juggling or diabolo as well.
Apart from that though, the club has a different committee every year and it's easy to see the difference it makes when a committee is dedicated to attracting and retaining new members. Sometimes we have a really sociable crew, with workshops every week and all kinds of things going on; sometimes we don't!
That said, our hall is expensive, so we break even at 23 even after negotiating the hall bill and raising the weekly subs. We still probably have more people than many (most?) other clubs.
23 is a massive amount of people needed to break even each week, in my opinion.
In Reading we were charged £1 a person, so that's what I charged (it was just a large room in a community centre), and I think it's £20 a week at Altern8, which at £2 per person, £1 if you're feeling poor, is manageable. There's normally at least 10 people each week.
Yup, 23 seems like a ridiculously large number, except when compared with the break-even number for the last three years, which has been (wait for it....)
Which could account for the way the club has been haemorrhaging money, although it doesn't account for the way it did this for three years without anyone noticing!
We (Jacksons Jugglers in London) changed halls a while back - bit over a year I think - as the venue kept raising the cost of the hall until it was simply unaffordable.
We struggled to find a decent cheap hall and lost most of our members (me included) as the halls we could find were small and not as accessible. Since finding a permanent home they've mostly come back but we still only just about break even.
50! That's a third of a well attended juggling convention, every week. It's just over half a Passout.
I've never been to a juggling club that big, altern8 is the largest I've been too - it's got up to about 18 people a couple of times.
Many moons ago TWJC used to get that sort of crowd. Currently 50 is considered a poor night at TWUNT (a ukelele jam night here in Tunbridge Wells, started by a former TWJC regular). There are other local groups near me that attract 50+ people so I know it is possible.
I think that juggling has fallen out of fashion here in the UK, & I think a lot of clubs need to & are downsizing to reflect that.
What are Cambridge doing right? I seem to remember Charlie saying they get ludicrous numbers turning up to their sunday sessions.
I know that they have people teaching beginners in their own session, so that might be a factor, as may be thr access to aerial equipment. Their website's a little out of date, but this is how their "club" is structured: http://www.chaos.org.uk/ccc/workshop.htm
A 5 hour program?! Are their "ludicrous numbers" for the general juggling at the end or spread out across the day?
I do spend a lot of time replying to inquiries explaining that we are a social club & don't offer formal structured lessons. Perhaps if we did we'd attract more of an audience. Doesn't sound like the TWJC I know & love though.
I imagine the aerial rig is a big draw & is something that requires a punter to go to a workshop such as this to participate, whereas juggling can be done anywhere.
Evening all. I'm not running it any more so I don't know the fine details, but 'ludicrous numbers' isn't far off. The reason the Sunday sessions are now 5 hours long is that we have a huge amount of aerialists (sometimes 20 or so) and the space they needed was eating into the juggling space. Thus the first two hours are aerial only I think, followed by an hour of 'beginners juggling' with someone to teach and then finishing with 2 hours of main juggling. I don't get there until the last 45 minutes or so due to kids bedtime, but there's often 20-25 people still around, and 50-60 people in total isn't uncommon. In the summer it's often busier. There are also open practise mornings twice a week, which attract 10-15 people or so I believe, plus a separate university juggling club one night, a fire night, uni hockey occasionally, an acrobalance session (that's out of town and not very busy)...Cambridge is buzzing with circus at the moment, amateur and professional, we have many people doing gigs, there's even an irregular cabaret night being planned for regular shows. The CCC Facebook page has 258 members, the email list around the same. There's an active and creative managing committee, and the membership covers hula hoopers, poi spinners, aerialists, unicyclists, stiltwalkers, jugglers, yoyo people....
So why is it so busy? Back in the day at our previous venue, it dropped to a hard core group, with some nights only 5 of us coming - but then we were forced to move and found a large and riggable space. I spent the next few years running the group, turning up every Sunday to run it, working very hard on teaching during that first hour (and a bit afterwards as well), encouraging and promoting, doing endless publicity, handing out flyers at my gigs and generally, doing radio & TV stuff...anything I could think of. I firmly believe that a juggling club that relies on keeping *existing* members juggling will eventually die. Some of them will leave town, get bored, get married, have kids or whatever and numbers just drop away. You've got to commit to *making more jugglers*, and if that involves starting from scratch then that's what you'll have to do. Some of those running the club now are people I remember teaching the basics to years ago. Another way of thinking about it is to make sure you turn some of the (small j) jugglers into Jugglers: get them to conventions even if you have to drive them there yourself; get them into the social scene; get them performing a bit. They'll be the ones running conventions and clubs for the rest of us in the future.
The trouble is, all this work comes at the expense of your own juggling time. But if you want a club to survive that you can attend - even for 45 minutes a week - perhaps it's worth it.
I firmly believe that a juggling club that relies on keeping *existing* members juggling will eventually die
I'm also leaning towards this opinion. We used to have a chairman who always acted as if the club was the bank balance. I've tried to act as if the club was the people, but for all the reasons listed that is looking like a losing strategy.
I've found that getting people to festivals makes them juggle less not more (I include myself in that)! Our turnout out for the BJC is often larger than an average club night & our turnout for Crawley always dwarfs it!
Any club (not just juggling ones) that focuses on the existing membership is doomed to a slow death, neither can it focus on new members, you have to try and keep the existing members AND lure new ones in.
So I don't believe there were ever regularly 50 people; the committee used to supplement the coffers by doing occasional gigs and putting that money in the pot, and the yearly membership fees would have helped too (although not much).
But there were certainly very high numbers during the period when poi and spinning were particularly trendy.
Subscribe to Small Talk via RSS 1 article per branch (updated every 24 hours) 1 article per post