Hello Paula, for the second time this year. For the benefit of our Theatre readers, where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I am from a lot of places, but mainly Washington D.C. and London. I am based in east london and have lived here for most of my life (despite never losing my american accent)
So you’re back over Hadrian’s Wall – how are you finding your visits to Scotland?
I love coming to Scotland. I would like to see even more of it. I have literally never had a bad time here. But fringe is something else. I love it but its so different from Edinburgh outside of the festival (which I enjoy even more) . It amazes me how kind and friendly people are in letting their city literally be taken over by comedy and theatre. It can get really overwhelming when you are part of it, but I can’t imagine how frustratating getting through all those extra people can be when you are just trying to get to work!
This time you’ll be performing at the Fringe, can you tell us about the show?
Show Me The Money is a show that explores what its like to make a living as an artist in the U.K. today. It is based on my own experiences and interviews with 44 artists I interviewed in 11 cities (including Edinburgh)
This is quite a noble topic you are handling? What were the impulses behind turning artists-in-austerity into, well, art?
I came to a point in my career that many I know are negotiating, that of the early career or mid-career artist. There is so much attention on emerging artists then suddenly after age of 25 there is a massive gap until you are meant to magically become “established” . I started to wonder how sustainable this lifestyle I had chosen was, only I didn’t feel like I had a plan b anymore. I wanted to explore it by talking to other artists, to see if I coudl find hope for myself and others by sharing and connecting experiences. I decided to make a show because I wanted it to be in a really engaging and entertaining form. I wanted to use art to make audiences understand better the human cost of the art they consume.
After Stanza Poetry Festival you took ‘Show Me the Money’ on tour, what was that like?
It was amazing and exhausting. It was a mini tour of 8 dates. It was incredible to watch and feel interest build in the show from date to date. Its such a joy to share it with different audiences in different parts of the country. It felt like such a natural progression to take the show back to the cities that had informed it. and I became super streamlined in packing and setting up by the last date 🙂
What emotive responses did you find from your audiences, & did these differ across the country?
the show affects people very differently depending on their relationship to the arts, what stage they are in their career, an where they live in the U.K. But I think many were suprised by how high energy and entertaining it is despite some heavy subject matter. The overall feeling it will leave you with is hope.
Can you describe to us a typical day at the Fringe that you can imagine is coming up this August?
Its such a marathon! I don’t even know if I will have a “typical” day. But I guess on average I will wake up and do some stretching and vocal warms ups, flyer for an hour or two, then the show at 3:30 at Bedlam, hopefully some kind of break , and then I have another daily slot with spoken word artist Dan Simpson at the banshee labrynth at 8:30 hosting various fun showcase format with other artists. Then there will be 1 or 2 guest spots most likely and of course more flyering!
What will Paula Varjack be up to after the Fringe?
On holiday in Berlin (where I used to live).
Aug 2-4, 7-13 : Bedlam Theatre (15.30)