Glaswegian comedian and broadcaster Julia Sutherland makes her debut at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s Gilded Balloon with her show Exposed. Having interviewed dozens of top comedians for her BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland series, she faces her toughest subject yet – herself!
Julia spoke with The Fountain about what influenced the show as well as providing top tips for other Fringe performers.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
There’s nothing quite like it! Performing your own hour long show, to an audience that have specifically chosen to see you, every day for the practically the whole of August is very exciting. Plus it’s a chance to see lots of comedy friends and their shows… it’s a very fun and inspiring time!
TF: Exposed certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
Well, the idea is that after having interviewed dozens of top comedians for my BBC Radio 4 and Radio Scotland shows, I now turn the tables and interview myself! It’s still very much a stand-up show, though, which will hopefully be as relatable as the radio shows proved to be but still full of lots of stories and jokes… as well as the odd surprise! It’s got some multi-media elements too, which will keep me on my toes, and make the show a little different from your standard stand-up performance…
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
I’ve performed at the Fringe many times in the past, but never a full run. It felt long overdue, and I guess I really felt like NOW was the time to put my neck on the line… I was definitely influenced and inspired by the honesty and openness of the comedians I had on my radio series, they were taking personal traumas and transforming them with comedy. I realised how powerful comedy can be to shine light into darkness and I wanted to push myself to do the same. I’m also in my forties now, and have gone through a lot of major changes in my life recently, which have made me feel more certain about what I want to say. When things don’t turn out the way you planned, you have to do a lot of self reflection and really dig down into who you are and what you need – and that has given me the strength and perspective to take my experiences and turn them into something which other people can recognise themselves in, and laugh at!
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
It really is a marathon – there’s so much pressure, and it’s so hard not to compare yourself to others. Having been before, I think my advice to first-time performers would be – just focus all your energy on doing your best for every show. Expect there to be days when you’re performing to a handful of people, half of whom might not have English as their first language, and just make it work! Don’t worry about what other people are doing, and prepare yourself for the inevitable crash that comes about ten days in… Having good people around you, and at least one person you can turn to who can be the voice of sanity when you’re losing the plot is absolutely essential!
TF: And what are your future plans beyond The Fringe?
Well, I already have another series of ‘Funny Life of…’ commissioned by the BBC, as well as some exciting new comedy projects I’ll be working on as a producer. But I’ve also got more live stand-up planned for the coming year than ever before, which is making me very happy! I love being on stage and connecting with a live audience more than anything else.
Photo courtesy of Steve Ullathorne
Julia Sutherland: Exposed, Gilded Balloon – Turret, 1.30pm, 4th – 27th August (except 13th)