Tallulah Brown talks about bringing her squirming teen love story SONGLINES to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Tallulah Brown
Name of Edinburgh show: Songlines
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, Beneath
Performance time: 3.15pm
Show length: 60 mins
Ticket price: £6 – £12

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I am a playwright and I sing in a band. When I was little we were only allowed to watch TV on Friday nights so I spent hours with my dolls house making up big epic Eastenders style family sagas with lots of proposals, cheating, splitting up and surprise pregnancies. I loved telling stories even then. I was also an avid reader hooked to books like Little House in the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. I only ever really wanted to read stories about girls, women and I went on to write stories with girls, women after University. I’m based in London and I’ve been part of the Soho Young Writer’s programme, Channel 4 Screenwriting and BBC TV Drama Writers programme. Songlines will be my fifth produced play. Alongside my writing I sing with my girlband TRILLS and this play merges my two loves: it’s a play with TRILLS songs.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Songlines is a squirming teen love story, a shoulda woulda coulda with love songs. I wanted to write a play about the hideously complicated and often disastrous consequences of falling in love as a teenager but set to a sweet quite simple Juno-esque soundtrack. Love songs make it all sound so easy! It’s a very playful, funny and heart-wringing tale I think because it’s a story that is very recognisable to anyone who’s been 17.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I wrote a monologue last Summer for a Heretic Productions competition. George and I had been wanting to work together since he’d seen my play Sea Fret. George had seen TRILLS play in Leeds years before and he was keen to see if we could combine the two. TRILLS currently produce a lot of music for film trailers and this gave the band opportunity to write music that was more pulled back from the more heavily produced stuff we’ve been making recently. I call it porch music because that’s what it should sound like, that we’re just playing on a porch in East Anglia!

The play follows teenager Stevie as she moves to Suffolk to live with her grandma. Her grandma is very religious, her mum’s a hippy who preaches talking to your vagina. Stevie is secretly a virgin and terrified of having sex with Stan, but manages to give him the impression, of course, that she’s vastly experienced. 2018 feels like we’re moving towards a position where woman can be more up front about their sexuality, more honest, girls hopefully feel now that they can weave their own path through the contradictory advice! Stevie gets mixed up with a teacher at school and for me that’s the most topical part of this story. Men in positions of authority have to stop blaming girls when they’re abusing their positions of power.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Find a quiet bookshop and read! Go to watch things by yourself.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
TRILLS played out the UEFA Champions League final last year and we recorded a music video in Stratford. We went round the song again and again for hours, with more and more make up slapped on between each shot. By the end of the day I looked like a clown and was making some rogue musical theatre move that then made it into the final cut. We still have a joke in the band about one of the moves I made that day. I can only describe it as a jazz hand and a stamp a second after the beat.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I love writers who write for both Theatre and TV like Abi Morgan, Jack Thorne and Mike Bartlett. Writing is a very solitary profession so I read a huge amount. There are certain authors who make me want to be a better writer, they make me work harder: Deborah Levy, Ali Smith, Rebecca Solnit, Elizabeth Strout, Leanne Shapton and Lavinia Greenlaw.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Just nervous gabbling, star jumps and going to the loo as many times as possible before we start.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I am SO excited to see the other HighTide shows (Sparks, Thor and Loki, The Extinction Event and Busking It), Jessie Cave (I don’t think anyone else makes me laugh like she does), anything that Fight in the Dog sends up is always a safe bet, Kieran Hodgson is a genius, DENIM and a show called Hunch written by Kate Kennedy, plus Dietrich: Natural Duty looks fab.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
It’s a play with songs. If you’re into your music you can say it’s a gig, and if you’re into your theatre you can say it’s a play, and if you go out with one of the above, or are friends with one of the above, you can trick them into thinking they’re going to a gig or play and only confess half way through when they say WHY DID YOU BRING ME HERE.

Joking aside it’s got a KILLER cast, KILLER crew and they have raised the script up to all kinds of magical.


Buy tickets to West End theatre shows (some great discounted offers)
Subscribe to my mailing list for all the latest theatre news, special offers and competitions