I have never had a show ready to be included in the showcase before. So, when Fake it ‘til you Make it was finished so extraordinarily early for me I jumped at the chance to apply. We were touring the show in Australia for three months before hitting the UK this summer so it was like luxury, and still is, to be floating into Edinburgh without that mad July rush.
Being selected for the Showcase is like the icing on the cake that is being invited to present the work at The Traverse. They are both dream scenarios. Both present a shift in my practice that has the potential to get me seen by a much wider audience and that is always on my agenda. I make my work for the world to see, not for artists or critics. I have done a little international touring, to the US, Europe and Australia, but I have huge ambition to tour all over the place with this show. It means we have an opportunity to show new people what we are made of! I think the subject matter of this show is so epidemic and universal that no matter where in the world it goes there will be people who are affected by mental health issues. I love all the other companies in the Showcase too, so it’s a real chance to make new mates and talk about art for a week!
I was speaking to a doctor after one of our shows at Southbank Centre. He was Indian and he had stayed to watch the panel talk we had put together with CALM and MIND, two mental health charities doing wonderful work in mental health in the UK. He told me that in some parts of India there was yet to be a clinical name for depression. That struck me very much – that we have a certain ecology for mental health treatment and awareness in the UK, that Australia is different, that India is different… that everywhere has its own special factors that make it unique and therefore produce its own unique stories.
For me, the value of international touring is simply to visit new places and tell new stories; stories that might open something up, change opinion, begin something. And in exchange as an artist and a writer I will meet people who influence and expand the story. One of the main compliments we have been receiving about this show is the way it goes there in terms of raw honesty; the story is potent because it’s true. When you walk out in front of a crowd and say “this is us… we don’t apologise… we don’t ask anything of you”, that unlocks human exchange that defies cultural barriers and language limits.
I love Edinburgh! It is one of my favourite times of year and I have had a year off so I am itching to get back to that city! I am going to scope out all of my favourite female artists representing! Zoe Coombs Marr and Megan Ford for comedy, newbie Sarah Blanc for fun and 80s heartthrob laughs, and Izzy Maxwell Tenison because I saw her do a spot recently and thought she was excellent. I am looking forward to seeing the other shows centered around mental health: My Beautiful Black Dog by Brigitte Aphrodite particularly. I am also a bit ahead because I have been on the Aussie circuit, so know that Hannah Norris is going to be a hit, and Stuart Bowden’s new show will be excellent.
But I am six months pregnant so I am going to be taking it easy over the month, whereas normally you would see me about everywhere doing a lot of extra secret gigs and having some fun. I have a spa pass at the Sheraton, I have my pregnancy yoga booked and some hypno birth day sessions to do! I am also busy writing a musical. For those who haven’t been before, drink cocktails in the Missoni hotel, go to Berwick for the day and eat half a lobster on the harbor arm and RAID the charity shops, they are amazing. Also check out the Free Fringe and Forest Fringe, as there are new and incredible things to see off the beaten track.
I would be happy to do this show anywhere, and I trust promoters and programmers to know if a show would work at their festival! If we are talking places I think it would work particularly well or it is relevant, I would go for Japan, South America, North America and Eastern Europe. There is something about surrendering control of audience and venue that is terrifying and liberating at the same time. I think with other work, my language and colloquialisms may have put barriers to some countries being able to get access to what I was trying to say. With this show, I feel it can transcend language barriers, it is full of dance and can be easily translated and probably in very cool integrated ways. There are stats in the show that would need to be changed to local ones. I also love the thought of doing panel talks with doctors, charity workers and other artists making work around similar subjects in the places we visit; we did it in Australia and now in London, it really connects the show to the veins of a city and to its community.
Bryony Kimmings’s Fake it ‘til you Make it is showing between 6-30 August at The Traverse and is part of the British Council Edinburgh Showcase.