Cabaret Doonican

Great shot from Cabaret Doonican, April 5th

I’d been meaning to go and join in the open mics at The Old School House in Barnsley for a while, at the invitation of my friend Dave Wilde of ‘Wilde Sammon’, as he and bandmate Chris Sammon are pretty regular visitors there. I’ve attended a couple of charity fundraisers there already, purely as a spectator, and I was really impressed with the stage and the set up.

Cabaret Doonican is hosted every first Thursday of the month, and run by Scott Doonican, a guitarist and singer/performer himself, who literally races around most of the evening making sure the acts are informed of the running order and explaining the set up. This takes place in the back room at Old School House, which has a permanent stage setup with really good lighting and p.a..

For Cabaret Doonican there are tables arranged for acts and visitors to sit and watch, a bar open in a room at the side which keeps bar noise away from the stage. Talking during the performances is discouraged, out of respect to the performers, and if someone is talking too loudly, they’ll politely be asked to go into the other (main) bar away from the music. Result! There’s nothing worse than playing to a bar full of people who really aren’t interested, or watching the faces of an audience who want to listen to you but can’t hear much because of the noise of others. Either way, this set up gets rid of the disinterested.

As there were so many acts crammed into the evening,  I was asked to perform just three songs, all I must say went down really well. A couple of the other performers came across to me afterwards to say how much they enjoyed my set. It was so nice to feel welcomed.

Scott’s wife (apologies as I can’t remember her name!) was taking photos of all the performances and took some cracking shots of my set, one of which I’m using here, and on social media right now… Very grateful for the share!

All in all a great evening, and a fabulous venue for performers of all genres wanting a polite, respectful and encouraging audience. I definitely will be going back again!