The secret life of a busker is revealed at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I was born and raised in London but also spent part of my childhood in the Middle-East. I’m an actress, writer and jazz singer. I trained at the BRIT School and Central School of Speech & Drama, learnt to sing from old records and busking in the tube tunnels of London, and in the last two years have begun to write professionally. As an actor, I’ve been lucky to play a diverse range of roles at some brilliant theatres, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court, The Globe, Soho Theatre, Manchester Royal Exchange & Liverpool Everyman. A lot of these theatres have continued to support me as a writer. Onscreen I also starred as Ladriya in ‘Ghost in the Shell’ with Scarlett Johannson, and in Fox’s popular US series ‘Tyrant’. Pretty different to singing to strangers on the tube!

Writing wise, I’m an alumnus of Soho Writer’s Lab, and currently a resident playwright with Tamasha. I have written for Soho Theatre, Oxford School of Drama and Chaskis Theatre.

I then moonlight as a jazz singer in posh London restaurants.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
It is inspired by the ten years I spent busking on the London Underground. It features a busker learning to see the city anew as she encounters weird and wonderful people and has life-changing interactions.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
The show started as a series of rough sketches based on interactions I had while busking. I approached the RSC with the idea of developing it further while acting in their Swan Season. This led to a 20 minute showing January 2017 which then snowballed into a full-length show. We presented it at the RSC’s Making Mischief festival and then were selected for Soho Rising. Shoreditch Town Hall and HighTide took us on, one thing led to another, and here we are!

I think the show is relevant because the themes are universal: Busking It is about challenging apathy, feeling lonely in the crowd, and what we can do to stop each other falling. It celebrates music’s power to unite us. Busking is a unique insight into people and I want to share that. I witnessed brilliant things, met incredible individuals and also experienced being invisible. I wanted to make a show that zoomed in on the overlooked communities a busker joins and interacts with when they stand still and see London go past.

It’s also got some great tunes, gags, and some weird and wonderful characters to meet!

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Choose a few things you want to see before you go, but also let yourself follow your gut – if you see a clanger that’s part of the experience!

Buy lots of fresh fruit and veg. But you know, you’re also forgiven if all you do is eat Greggs for a month.

Get chatting, make friends!

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I once fell off a stage in the middle of a dance sequence and then had to do a very sad monologue. I laughed the whole way through it. I also had a very cool limp going on for the next couple of days.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I recently saw Anna-Deveare- Smith’s Notes from the Field at the Royal Court and it was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. I’m now kind of in awe of her. Anyone who determinedly brings a story to the stage with that level of sensitivity and class inspires me.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I warm up. Then I panic. Then I go for a wee.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Everythinnnnnng! I’ve got a Pleasance Pass! I’m also quite keen to see the other HighTide shows – Sparks looks pretty amazing.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
Because don’t pretend you don’t want to know what happens in the secret life of a busker! This story is inspired by real events and fact is stranger than fiction. This isn’t your typical one-woman show. It’s partly gig – featuring two brilliant live musicians called Adam and Joe, who write and perform live original music.

Come on down, you’ll have a lovely time! We promise you music, laughs, and a few tear-jerking moments.


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