Kaiya Stone says ‘Everything Is Going To Be KO’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Kaiya Stone
Name of Edinburgh show: Everything is going to be KO
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard
Performance time: 12.45
Show length: 1hr

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I moved around a lot but grew up mainly in West Yorkshire – Batley, which is a weird part of the world. I ended up at Oxford where I tried to be in plays but I wasn’t too successful at getting cast as anything other than the mother. So I started doing stand up because I got to decide who I played and I love mucking about. I went on a devised theatre course after I graduated (The Forge Initiative) and have been making stuff ever since. I set up Transgress 3 years ago with Jessy Parker Humphreys because we wanted to make shows harnessing our own and other’s unheard voices.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
I was diagnosed at Oxford University with Specific learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyspraxia and adhd) and it came as a big shock! I started writing the show to deal with my reaction to my diagnosis. So the show follows me through all my educational experiences, across the world, looking at how we measure intelligence in schools and how on earth we survive being a teenager. It’s got cool projections, silly characters, and hopefully teaches people a bit about what learning difficulties are.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
Well I’ve been working on some form of the project since my diagnosis in 2013! It’s taken a lot of forms and it’s taken a lot of time to understand what neurodiversity and how to communicate a specific experience to people.

It’s relevant to audiences because we just don’t have enough arts about disability made by disabled people! We deserve to have our voices be heard and for our experiences to be recognised. In a time where people are risking their children’s lives by avoiding vaccination because they think it causes autism, we need to shout that learning difficulties aren’t a bad thing. In a time where children are being measured solely in exam results, we need to scream that intelligence isn’t scored from 1-9. In a world where cinemas throw out people for laughing at the ‘wrong bits’, we need arts to be accessible and we need to rethink how we make theatre and who gets to be in the audience.

Not to mention 1 in 10 people are dyslexic so everyone will likely know someone who is dyslexic or have another learning difficulty. This show is about creating a space for people with learning difficulties to share their experiences and for people without them to listen and find out more.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Enjoy the chaos but also take yourself out of it when you need to recover. Strive to make new friends. Focus on the audience you have, give them everything you’ve got and and don’t get to caught up in how other companies are doing.

Remember that Edinburgh takes at least 20 mins to cross! So don’t book back to back shows.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I once weed myself on stage. I was being ‘possessed’ and was on the floor spasming and I had to shake for a couple of minutes. I wasn’t really thinking and well suddenly I was pissing. Luckily it was right at the last minute of the show and I don’t think anyone noticed. It’s a personal badge of honour

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I love Jess Thom and her work undermining the established mode of theatre is very important to me. I am also hugely inspired by comedians who work to defy comedic expectations; I saw Hannah Gadsby’s Nannette last year and I loved her intertwining of subverting form and its political implications. It’s old school but I’m obsessed with Theatre du Soleil and Ariane Mnoushkine. They’re dedicated to giving everything to a story and work in a truly collaborative way.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I push against walls, sing loudly and generally try to hype myself up. I’m sure I’ll gain more rituals during the festival. This is my first extended run performing on my own. I’m usually the one checking everything is working with tech and props etc. I’m sure I’ll still be doing that too.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?

High up on my list is Queens of Sheba and I’ve not had chance to catch Lights Over Tesco Car Park yet so excited to see that in August. Summerhall always has some banging shows and I’m especially excited to see Katie and Pip because its about diabetes and there’s a real DOG on stage!  I have a billion comedy picks but I have to plug my comedy girlfriends Shelf who will be running The LOL Word which is always a treat.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
I made the show because I felt alone in my late in life diagnosis but doing the show has just proved to me how many of us have had similar experiences! It’s funny and accessible. Since I made the show my mum and brother have had diagnoses of various SpLDs – dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism. It’s been really life changing and so politically important.


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