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Looking for PA performers for a permanant year round gig...

Started by Leonardo, July 25, 2014, 02:29:36 PM

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Hello everyone, I hope this is the right area.

I am opening a Renaissance themed restaurant in the Eastern/Central PA area called Leonardo's.  Here's the building it will be in!

The venue will be a restaurant set in the Italian Renaissaince era, and I of course will be the host-  Leonardo da Vinci (think a younger Leonardo, more like Da Vinci's Demon's age).
Anyway I digressed...  We are in need of performers! 

Once or twice a week we will have a diner theater show.  The skits will be the typical type of singing and comedy acts that you see at a Renn Faire.  During the week it will be a restaurant, but still with a renaissance flair.  Performers will also be part of the staff, so there will be waiting on tables and things like that.  Everyone will be dressed in period clothing.  On non show nights performers will sing and do comedy skits whenever they can, those nights will be more of a freestyle open format- meaning when everyone is served, as a performer you can do whatever part of your act you want... mainly I want to hear everyone laughing and having a good time- and that includes the staff and not just the patrons :)

As I mentioned this is a year round gig, so I am looking for mostly permanent positions, but I can work around schedules if someone is a performer at a local Renn Faire.  I am on track to start serving meals early 2015.  The reason I am looking for staff now is because we need to order and fit costumes and start rehearsing for opening night.

Oh I almost forgot to mention...  everyone that comes onboard will participate in profit sharing! 

If anyone is interested let me know and I can give more details


Best of luck to you Master Leonardo. Pray tell, in what city is the restaurant located?
"It is only with the heart that one sees rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
   Antoine de St. Exupery


Mt. Carmel PA

If you are familiar with the area, it is only 10-15 minutes from Kneobles!

It is also about 5 miles west of Centralia PA, that's the place that the Silent Hill horror flicks was based on :)


Here is a shot from the balcony overlooking the main floor where the restaurant and performances will be

I also have a full theater stage in the basement to do other acts and venues!

Those lights are around 25' in the air!  The ceiling is 50' at the peak.


That looks awesome! I wish I wasn't moving so much farther away! I'm going from 6 hour drive to 22. :-\


Finding performers is turning out to be way more difficult than I thought it would be. 



Thanks Stuben.

I hope I can find some performers though or it's going to end up being just a restaurant, and that's not what I want.


You can always be a restaurant with the occasional special event. The restaurant business is tough and even tougher being a themed restaurant. Might want to start looking at nearby colleges and schools drama departments. Print up flyers and start dropping them off around campuses. You definitely will need to be proactive on getting staff and patrons due to your location. Maybe think of remodeling as a King Author/Henry bed and breakfast. Look up the local SCA and LARP groups. It's a good chance they will already have costumes and personalities. Or just be a restaurant and let the staff be whatever character they want to be from the past during the week and have themed weekends. Due to your location you will need to broaden your customer target group or draw people from a large area/distance. or both.


Your place has been on my mind since I seen it. My first thought was the basement would be a great location for a recovery house. You could leave it as an open squad bay type area or partition off bunk rooms, and have the common area in the middle. They can either pay for the room and board with rent or by working a pre agreed to amount of hours in the restaurant. Its a win/win. They end up long term renters and possibly employees, or they move on with skills and work history to help better themselves.


I agree it can be a tough business, but then again any small business is tough to get off the ground and takes a lot of hard work.  The real reason most places that do fail is because they did not do enough planning.

Trust me... I did my research and planning!  I have demographics for not only the immediate town but for a 20 mile radius.  I also have financials for all the restaurants in the area, so I know who is who and how much they are bringing in. 

A lot of people have said 'start small and add the performers later'.  It really isn't going to add that much cost to the budget, and food really isn't the draw for a restaurant.  Most have great food (those that don't usually aren't in business for long), so if the food is great for say a dozen places, what really brings people in is the atmosphere.  Like I said, people expect the food to be fantastic, and as I said if it isn't then it won't matter how fancy the place is... it won't be in business long... so it is a combination of great food and a unique atmosphere. 

The next town over has a college with a theater major, so yeah we thought of them.  Also there are some acting troupes in the nearby areas, but I need regular performers.

I have thought about a lot of uses for the basement, but honestly I never thought of a recovery house and I am not sure I like that.  I just think it would tie up the 4K+ sqft down there and I can make lots of money just with the venues already planned.  :)


Quote from: Stuben on August 01, 2014, 06:45:30 PMDue to your location you will need to broaden your customer target group or draw people from a large area/distance. or both.
Not sure where you are from, but this is actually a great location for many reasons.  Within a 20 mile radius the population count is 227,000.  That won't sound like much to people in a city, but for a rural state like PA it is pretty dense.  Plus it is 10 minutes from the interstate.  The Bloomsburg fair brings in a half a million people to the area, and Mt. Carmel is just 15 minutes from a very popular amusement park in PA. 

Then throw in that the local high school football team is the winningest team in the state, and 5th winningest in the country, the town is always packed during football season.  It may look like a small town, but the traffic volume through town is incredibly high.  This is the view as you come in town-

Those green cupula's on the castle looking towers is my building!  It is the first thing that draws your eye when you come to town!

And yes I totally agree about broadening my target patrons, hence the Renaissance theme! ;)
There are several SCA groups in this area of PA and then  of course the PARF down in Lancaster county.  My thoughts are that once I get my performers and get listed in the Renn Fair directory listings that I am open year round, when people get a craving for a Renn Fair atmosphere but the season is over, or the weather is bad, or it is just plain too far to drive to the PARF, I can bring them in.

Back to performers though, we are also going to have conventional diner theater shows, such as the traditional murder mystery diner theater show, and comedy acts. 
Yes it will be a ton of work, but hey... where else can you work where you can dress in medieval garb every day!  That alone will be worth all the hard work... to me at least!

A bit of a teaser...  I am meeting with one of the main acts at the PARF to negotiate a salary to get them as regular performers at Leonardo's during the fair's off season.  :)

We're also going to do wedding receptions.  I do love your B&B idea!  Once we move out we can convert the living quarters into some rooms, and there are 'secret rooms' in the bell towers above the balcony!  If you are ever in the area come check us out!  Just ask for me and tell me you're Stuben and the meal is on me :)


It's great to see you did your research and planning  :) I've known many who have started businesses and ended up losing everything within 2 years because of lack of planning. When people love doing something they think they will automatically be successful as a business and don't do the proper planning and budgeting before hand. I look forward to coming up on your opening weekend.



Stuben the numbers are rock solid. 
I don't want to scare any performers away by them thinking this isn't going to work.

There is no venue like this anywhere in the area.  It will be like Jekyll & Hyde's down in NYC... good food with an incredible atmosphere.  Also there is nothing like it up here either.  No night clubs or fun places to go for the younger crowd either.   And then there is the regional Renn Faire and SCA groups... 

I don't think there will be a problem bringing people in :)