Hit show Yukon Ho! set for Brighton finale

Funny, bizarre, (mostly) true cabaret-style guide to surviving the unbelievably mad life in Canada’s frozen north from award-winning choreographer and theatremaker

Hit show Yukon Ho! set for Brighton finale

A funny, bizarre, (mostly) true cabaret-style guide to surviving the unbelievably mad life in Canada’s frozen north 

Having been a smash hit at the Edinburgh festival and touring the UK, Sussex resident Jennifer Irons’ riotous one-woman show Yukon Ho! is set for its final performance next month (Feb 29) at The Old Market, Brighton as part of the venue’s Reigning Women season. The show details Jen’s upbringing, life and ultimate escape from Canada’s frozen north. 

Yukon Territory, Northern Canada is where North America’s coldest temperature ever (-63 degrees Celsius) was recorded. It’s where there are more caribou than people, tossing chainsaws is entertainment, barbecued squirrel is food and watching bears forage for food at the garbage dump on a Saturday evening is a big night out. 

But it’s not all sophisticated fun. Yukon is a genuinely challenging place to live, where escape is difficult and where many people die tragically young as a result of accidents and the harsh Arctic winters. It’s where Jennifer Irons was born and raised, dreaming of leaving.

‘Fascinating, laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly tender’ ★★★★ Kelly Apter The List

Growing up in a tough, isolated mining town with little prospect of reaching ‘The Outside’, Jennifer found release through performance. Specifically, it came in the unlikely circumstances of dancing the Can-Can to an audience of drunken miners in a casino in Dawson City. Her passion for dance subsequently led to an extraordinary journey out of the Yukon, and around the world. 

As ‘Intrepid Jen’, she tells her story of survival and escape from the territory, and an eventual reconciliation through reconnection with her homeland.

Jennifer said, ‘If it wasn’t for dance, I’d have probably ended up pregnant, an addict or dead. However tough it is growing up – whether it’s in the arctic or the city – the arts will always be a salvation. I mean, who would have ever thought doing high kicks for drunken miners would have got me to Britain? …Though drunken miners are still very welcome to buy tickets!’

Now after its success at the largest arts festival in the world, The Edinburgh Fringe and on tour through 2022 and 2023 it’s time for Jennifer to hang up her Can-Can skirt after performing the show one last time. ‘I’ll be sad to let it go but it’s time to concentrate on my new show Bad Immigrant, which will be coming soon’ she added. ‘I’m really pleased that the last performance will be in Brighton though. I’ve lived in the Sussex for 7 years now and it’s home. It’s great to be part of Reigning Women too, alongside some absolutely wonderful and inspirational female performers.’

‘Beautifully complex… human and raw…’ Total Theatre

Yukon Ho! is dark, fearless, original, bizarre, at times tragic and very funny. Expect to laugh, holler, quaff questionable cocktails and learn how to be Bear Aware. And it’s all (mostly) true… 

Yukon Ho received Special Commendation from Olivia Colman's SCREENSHOT, co-judged by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lolly Adefope and Rosie Jones. See a short trailer here https://vimeo.com/565503082 

Internationally renowned choreographer Jennifer Irons now lives on the south coast of England. She is an award-winning choreographer, creating large-scale mass movement for outdoor festivals, working across commercial music videos, film and TV, and making dynamic new work for theatre. Amongst many other credits she choreographed a number 1 hit single for Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks and was Assistant Artistic Director for the Rugby League World Cup. She acted as Mass Movement Director for Akram Khan Company’s Kadamati at the 2018 Edinburgh International Festival and Associate Choreographer for Complicité’s Everything That Rises Must Dance

Jen was also once charged with teaching Boris Johnson to dance… it wasn’t a notable success!

Reigning Women is The Old Market’s genre-spanning mini-season that celebrates kick-ass women in the arts and beyond. It offers a platform for both established artists and rising stars to showcase their amazing talents. Not only that, but it raises thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes, including Brighton Women’s Centre, RISE and Lewes FC. Amongst those appearing in 2024 are Jen Brister, Sikisa, Naomi Wood, Rosy Carrick, Hollie McNish and Jessica Fostekew. 

Yukon Ho! was originally commissioned by Dance West for Ignition Festival. Supported by South East Dance, Studio Wayne McGregor, and The Brighton Dome Works Programme. The show was co-written by Rob Churchill, developed with Sophie Powell, mentored by Bryony Kimmings, music by Stew Baxter.

Header Image Credit: Cesare DeGigli

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