Holly & Ted, talk about brining a T-Rex called Tracy to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
We met as kids when we both attended Playbox Youth Theatre together, and then ended up going to Dartington School of Arts together where Holly studied Theatre Performance and Ted studied Theatre Directing. Since graduating we’ve worked extensively in both theatre and cabaret – with Ted focusing on exploring gender through performance. Through Holly&Ted we try to focus on creating accessible and inclusive stories about the world we live in in a really fun way.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
So Polaris follows 3 different timelines; one in the cretaceous period about a T-rex called Tracy and a Velociraptor named Val, one set in 1997 about two best friends at school and one in 2096 about a female astronaut. Their stories all intertwine as we explore the way people (and dinosaurs) interact with each other.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
The initial idea for this show came about when we were last at the fringe in 2016 with our show Pond Wife. The fringe was just a few weeks after the Brexit vote, and a few months before trump was voted into power, and we noticed a shift in the way the media was talking about certain issues. We wanted to explore the words we use to talk to talk about certain issues in a fresh and irreverent way. Since then, the media has only gotten worse with a renewed attack on migrants and trans people, as well as the usual misogyny of the broadsheets, and these obviously influence the way that we all interact with each other – Polaris puts these words in the mouths of some unexpected, yet identifiable characters to make the audience think twice about how they talk to people.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Performers: DO NOT DO IT! Only joking (or am i?) Edinburgh is a terrifying and daunting month, take it easy, eat well, go to bed at a sensible time and generally try to be a grown up. It’s so tempting to go out and party 24/7, but we’re here to do a job and audiences (and ourselves) deserve to see us at our best. By all means have fun, and definitely use this as an opportunity to make new friends, but remember what you’re here to achieve too.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
We once did a rural tour of Cornwall, and Ted was super ill, like we had to have a sick bucket next to the stage level of ill. Thankfully the bucket was never needed, but its safe to say that ted wasn’t looking their best during the show… after we finished someone came up to introduce themselves to Ted while they were a sweaty shaking (nearly vomiting mess) and it was only their ex boyfriends new husband! Awkward!

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I think we’d both agree that Emma Rice is our biggest influence, and luckily she’s become one of our biggest supporters too. The way she tells classic stories and blends her own brand of humour and magic in amongst the narrative is something that we aspire towards. The way she holds herself off stage is also super empowering, she doesn’t take any shit – but she leads with kindness and inclusivity

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Generally Ted insists on a line run, because Holly is great at learning lines, but ted… is not.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Oh there’s just too much good stuff on this year! We’re particularly excited to see Dan Wye’s Sèayoncè at Just the Tonic Caves though, because he is HILARIOUS.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
Polaris asks big questions, but it does so in a really fun and unusual way, I mean what other show is going to give you bigoted dinosaurs, queer female astronauts and a Jane Norman PE bag?


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