Part theatre, part gig, part science lecture – VALERIE is coming to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Cherie Moore
Name of Edinburgh show: Valerie
Venue: Summerhall
Performance time: 9.15pm
Show length: 65mins
Ticket price: £12/£10

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m from New Zealand, and coming to the Edinburgh Festival is my first time in Europe, which is really exciting. When I was a kid I used to put on shows in the lounge at Christmas time and make my family watch them, so maybe it was inevitable I would become a performer! I’ve been singing since I was 7 after a teacher I had at school suggested I join the choir and have singing lessons. I joined a youth theatre company as a teenager and then went on to do an arts degree at University before going to drama school. I’ve been performing professionally for about ten years as an actor and singer. Most recently, before going on tour with Valerie, I did a three month stint in a theatre performing Twelfth Night and Into The Woods.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Valerie is a story about family mythology – what is passed down to us through stories and through genetics. It’s an investigation of my partners family history as a way of questioning what lies ahead for his own mental health. It asks the question of nature verses nurture – does nature load the gun and nurture pull the trigger? Is it inevitable that you will become mentally ill if your grandfather was, or is it possible to claim an inheritance of resilience from your grandmother? It’s part theatre, part gig, part science lecture.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We debuted this show in 2016 after workshopping it on and off for a year. One thing that’s been confirmed for me through touring the show is that it is a universal story. People really relate to the questions we’re asking, and the form of the show seems to give people access to that investigation in a new way. Mental health is a conversation that is relevant to everyone on some way, and the fear of what the future may hold is a hugely human experience.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Stay hydrated? It’s my first time to the festival! Ask me again at the end of August!

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
A few years ago I did a one woman, six character verbatim show that toured theatres, secondary schools, and prisons. It was a piece about violent offenders, their families, and families of victims. We started the tour in a big theatre in Auckland, and during the first performance I managed to completely change the order of the show. I gave our tech operator and director heart palpitations, but I managed to do the show in its entirety, just in a different order.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I’m hugely inspired by authentic storytelling. I don’t mind what form that takes, I just love connection and honesty, and stuff that makes me think and feel and starts conversations with people. I’m excited to see the work on display at the festival – I’m coming to the festival to perform but also to be inspired and fill my creative cup.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes – I like to do some yoga before getting ready and do a vocal warm up. If it’s my first time in a venue I’ll do a warm up that incorporates calibrating to the space. I find putting my make up on a ritual that helps me transition into a performance zone. Once I’m ready I do a connection and focus exercise with my cast mates.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I saw Lady Rizo last time she was in New Zealand and I’m hoping to get to see her the festival – she’s a powerhouse. Hannah Gadsby isn’t coming any more but at least I can watch her on Netflix now – the conversations she’s started are vital and her performance, brilliant. What I’m most looking forward to is diving into the unknown, picking things on a whim, and being inspired and surprised.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Valerie is a unique offering in the festival – the content and the way that content is presented makes it an exciting show to be at and is different to other shows on offer. It’s a unique blend of personal stories, music, scientific exploration – it’s gig theatre at its finest. It will delight you, surprise you, make you think, and start a conversation. I’d love to see you in bar after the show to share in the conversation it starts for you.


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