The world's biggest arts festival, Edinburgh Fringe 2018, is right around the corner. Theatre editor Daniel Perks catches up with writer & performer Victoria Firth, bringing How To Be Amazingly Happy to Pleasance Courtyard this year:

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 is open! For its 71st year, the world’s biggest arts festival descends upon the Scottish capital, bringing with it a series of productions that innovate, imagine and leap into the unknown. Fringe veterans and first timers share stage space, flyer side by side and plaster their posters all over the city to try and entice us in to witness their moments of magic.

Here at Miro Magazine, we are incredibly excited by the biggest offering that Edinburgh has ever seen. Throughout the festival, we will be profiling some of the shows playing this year, as well as reviewing, listing and round up every performance. This is our way of getting to know the theatre companies and performers that are hoping to sell out and share their success.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is How To Be Amazingly Happy!, which plays at Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 1 – 27 August 2018. We caught up with writer & performer Victoria Firth:

Describe How To Be Amazingly Happy! in three words.

‘Funny, surprising, affecting.’

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

‘Yes – apart from when I was in a youth theatre production over 25 years ago! I’m feeling really excited, more excited than I’m generally letting on. It’s like having a secret fizzing away inside that’s jumping up and down saying ‘here it is – we’re finally going to go and do the thing we’ve wanted to do for so long.’ I’m also quite often drowning in the sea of things that need to get done in order for it to happen and gripped with the anxiety that it won’t find an audience or that people won’t like it – but I am confident that the themes will be compelling for a lot of people who have experienced similar struggles and longings for life and we’ll definitely have a laugh!’

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while in Edinburgh?

Ruth Cockburn. I met her recently and she had such a joyous energy I’m sure she’ll be a delight on stage. I been trying to see her show Love Letters from Blackpool for ages so it will be great to catch up with it at The Fringe.

‘I’m also going to see lots of female stand-up comedy. I went on a stand-up comedy course recently and it’s a world I might explore next. All the people starting out I met were brilliant and I think a new wave of funny women is coming!’

Who are your inspirations?

‘Theatre itself inspires me. Great productions make me feel like all my cells are being shook up so the space in between can move around and feel anything that’s there. I love totally being in the moment and being affected by what’s on stage. Great theatre blows your head off and every time I experience a piece that does that I know to my very core – this is it. It doesn’t get better than this.’

What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?

‘Well I’ve had lots of warnings that it will be hard and I’ll probably lose it at some point or burn out so I’m thinking about it a lot. My intention is to try and swim or do yoga every day and eat properly but based on my past experiences of coming to the Fringe as a punter – we’ll see.

‘I’m also mindful of being lonely as I’m up there on my own doing a solo show but I’ve been contacting other solo performers to say hi and I’m hoping we might end up with a bit of a gang.’

What are the future plans for How To Be Amazingly Happy?

‘This show is very much about me exploring who I can be as a performer and experimenting with new ideas and different ways of telling a story. I think the experience of doing that every day will reveal a lot about where my strengths are and which direction to go in next.

‘I’m not making any assumptions about the future of the piece until I’ve shared it with an audience. The audience makes the show and I think it will change over the course of the run in response to them. If people like it and it still feels relevant then I’d love to tour it in spring next year.’

What is the best production you’ve seen in the last 12 months?

‘I found Maxine Peake’s performance in Sarah Frankcom’s production of Samuel Becket’s Happy Days at The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester very affecting. It’s an abstract piece but the searing truths it contained about how we manage when we’re trapped or feeling invisible were heart-breaking – and at the same time fabulous and funny.’

Is there anything else you want to highlight about How To Be Amazingly Happy?

‘I’m mindful that I’m on at 11.35 in the morning, which for some people might be a challenge, but I promise if you make it you’ll come out awake and smiling.’

 

 

Writer & Performer: Victoria Firth

Design: Hannah Sibai

How To Be Amazingly Happy runs at Pleasance Courtyard as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 from 1 – 27 August 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.