The Q’s & A’s
Today I asked Valentina Steinkuler about what it takes to get booked at the GOP Variete Theater in Germany. Valentina is a part of the show concept team at the GOP and has worked there longer than anyone else. The GOP is a great company to work with: they are loyal, organized, and they are the largest Variete theater company in Germany (perhaps the World). They offer year round work as well as seasonal shows in the winter. It’s a great way to be seen by other Variete theaters (they often scout out the shows) as well as get a ton of shows under your belt. You’ll typically perform in 100 shows every 3 months.
1. What is the best way for artists to submit themselves to the GOP?
The best, of course, is to see you live. This way we can get the best idea if an act could fit in our shows or not. That means: casting shows, festivals, etc. The second way is to send a video link. Here we really appreciate to have current and uncut videos.
2. What are you looking for in a comic act?
The important thing for us is that the humor works for a German audience. We ask some comedians to adapt their characters to the theme of out shows so it’s important that they are open to that. It’s good see something special in a comedian – it’s not really easy to describe. The comedian has to fit the theme of the show we are casting for.
3. Do speaking comedy acts need to speak German?
If it’s really a speaking act, than yes, they should speak in German. But that is mostly for the moderation (see: Master of Ceromonies) part. For comedians who have shorter parts in the show and the English is “easy”, that can also work. My experience is that Germans like if an English speaking comedian sometimes just adds some German words in.
4. How far in advance do you book the shows?
We plan our shows 4-5 years in advance. That doesn’t mean we’ve already booked every act but we have clear themes for the shows and most of the main characters.
5. What are some things that will stop you from working with an act?
If we hear from other variety colleagues that the person is not good to work with. For example: if the person makes problems back stage or is not a team player or is just too complicated. Of course it can also be a problem if we don’t have the budget or technical possibilities.
You can find out more about the shows currently performing in the GOP Here. You can also see past shows by going on YouTube and checking out the old promos there. If you have any more questions about getting booked in the German Variete circuit you can contact me directly.
The Low Down
Typically, a first time comedy juggler can expect to make around 200 Euro per show day. You get paid the same if you perform in one show or two. A third show in one day usually means another days worth of pay. Most contracts also require one additional “gala” show without pay. The contracts are usually given in German with a second English copy but they do not always match. Get someone to read the German one for you as this is the official one.
The high end for comedy juggler pay is around 350 Euro though moderators can make much more. Some earning over 500 Euro per show day.
They do not typically pay for travel or expenses and you are required to purchase a visa. Though, they do all the visa work for you.
You’ll need German health insurance while you are there and you’ll need to pay German taxes or at the least an “Auslander” Fee. Some companies pay this for you while others require you to pay it.
Most German Variete companies are pretty flexible. If you have a couple of days in the contract when you can’t perform that can usually be worked out.