Every year, artists make their way across the world to present their shows to new audiences. From Melbourne to Adelaide, and New Zealand to Edinburgh, these artists dedicate their time, passion and energy into putting on shows that many often haven’t heard about. For solo artists, this is particularly hard, as they are often running every aspect of the show themselves, including performing, marketing, flyering and so much more.
Maggie Journal had the chance to chat with three Adelaide Fringe artists about their experiences as a solo performer and their tips for surviving the Fringe circuit. First up is Juliette Burton.
Look at Me is a docu-comedy about whether what we appear to be is who we actually ARE. I spent a day being an old lady, a day being a man, a day wearing the hijab, a day dressing like Jordan used to and a day revisiting my obese body because I used to be a size 20 and then a size 4 all due to eating disorders. My relationship with my body has changed a lot and I wanted to use these experiences of being in different bodies to explore whether appearances affect identity. We also talk about mental health in a bright, positive, uplifting way and branch out to discuss disability, facial disfigurement and a lot more.
What are the ups and downs of doing a solo show?
Doing a solo show that I’ve written myself means my voice is authentic and truthful, with no barrier between myself and the audience. Performing and touring alone means you are independently in charge of your actions, and you can focus entirely on your relationship with your audience and potential audience when flyering. I adore it. Of course, it means it is just you on your own, dealing with everything performing can bring. But for every minor low there are so very many major highs and that is what I choose to focus on because that is where I want to take my audiences – on a high!
What advice would you give to another artist who is contemplating doing a solo show?
Be honest with yourself at every stage. Listen to feedback at critical stages. Be kind to your tech. Be loving to your flyerers. Be grateful to your audience. Focus on delivering the best show you can. Be real. Get some sleep.
What are your five necessities for surviving a festival season as a solo artist?
Wi-Fi. Kindly bar staff. Fellow international solo performers to connect with. Quiet places to regain energy. Resilience. The ability to count to 5.