Interview with Anna Morris

In the run up to Voice's latest coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we have dozens of interviews with performers like the star of ITV2's Bad Bridesmaid, Anna Morris, who we'll be seeing up there.

Interview with Anna Morris

Firstly, could you introduce yourself, and give a quick summary of your show?

I am an improviser and interactive character comedian and my show revolves around the wedding rehearsal of Britain's Biggest Bridezilla, Georgina Francis. She's marrying a Conservative MP in Edinburgh Castle, and so she's having 1 rehearsal per day during the fringe to make sure it's perfect. Audiences are invited to become her guests, and her wedding planners, creating much of the content and making it a different show every day!

What is your earliest arts memory?

When I was 8 years old and I wrote and performed a puppet show to my class. I was one of the quietest kids in the class so it came as a shock to the teacher that I had so many silly voices. Hiding behind puppets helped with my shyness!

What first encouraged you to become a performer?

Drama lessons and school plays were the highlight of my week. I lived for those classes. I was a shy kid and I could only express myself by playing other people. I got good at impersonating people because I was born completely deaf in one ear, so I was naturally watching people's body language and lip reading, so creating characters was easy for me. People often ask why I 'chose' performing – it sounds weird but I feel that it chose me.

Do you remember your first professional performance, and how did it go?

It was called Showtime and I was 11. About 500 Girl Guides from the south who auditioned to be in a huge musical production at the Mayflower Theatre. I was too shy to ask to do solo bits so stuck with the group bits – It took me another 20 years to be brave enough to go solo!

What do you feel is the best thing about your job?

Entertaining people. When my audiences leave and they have a big smile on their faces and I can see that they have had a good time. I have a huge buzz afterwards. I also love being on a TV shoot – I always meet the loveliest people and can't believe I'm getting paid to act and be silly!

Conversely, what is the worst?

The financial instability, the sheer amount of hard work and money you invest in live shows, often making a loss. Auditions are hard, work is irregular and unpredictable. Everything you write is a risk, every time you perform new material you feel sick with nerves! You despair, you panic, you decide to move to Thailand or get a 'normal job' …then you wake up the next day, get up and do it all over again because you love it so much!

How do you decide whether or not a show has gone well?

The audience will make that perfectly clear. I stand at the door and say goodbye as they go out. I can tell when they have had a good time, I can feel it when I'm on stage. And that's what it's all about – your audience – many people get obsessed with the opinion one on reviewer, a TV producer, trying to get an Agent etc… But with live shows it's vital you listen to your audience, don't be precious about gags that don't work and be prepared to re-write and improve through the month. The rest will follow!

If you could work with anybody, dead or alive, who would you choose to collaborate with?

Victoria Wood. I was devastated by her death. She's part of the reason I perform – she was a huge influence on me as a child and her writing and characters are timeless, beautifully observed and utterly hilarious.

What made you want to come to Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

It's a great way to give yourself a deadline to write something and improve as a performer (as you have to do at least 22 shows!). I love performing my shows, I love the buzz of the city, hanging out with my friends and seeing loads of other things. Mostly I go home as a better writer/performer.

Is performing at EdFringe different from 'traditional' shows?

In so many ways yes – in other places I might do my show one or two nights, I'll be given lots of time to set up and weeks to promote it, and find an audience.

In Edinburgh I have 15 minutes between shows to set-up, I have to find an audience every single day, competing with thousands of other shows. You never get complacent – every day you have to have stamina, deal with reviews and keep your audience happy!

If you could travel back in time and give 16 year-old you one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ignore everyone who told you to just study English and then get a proper job. Follow your heart and do what feels natural, stop comparing yourself to other people and don't listen to the voice that tells you that you aren't good enough. Stop being so scared and just get writing.

What advice would you give to young people who want to enter the industry?

Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Does it feel like home to you when you perform and/or write? Are you happy to live with financial instability, competition and to delve into the unknown? Are you happy to fail, learn from you failures and get up the next day and do it anyway? If yes then go for it. If no then please don't! You also don't have to spend thousands of pounds on drama school. I certainly couldn't afford it. You can do the open mic circuit, you can do impro courses, you can make your own videos cheaply and you can do the free fringe.

Do you have social media that our readers can follow you on?

My website is www.annamorris.co.uk, Twitter is @annamorriscomic

And Georgina's website is www.georgina.wedding and her Twitter is @georginawedding (she's much funnier than me so go for that one!).

All of my videos are on my YouTube site - Georgina's Wedding Blogs.

Facebook is /annamorriscomedy

Where can people catch your show during EdFringe?

The Voodoo Rooms (ballroom), 6th – 28th August (not 17th), 3.55pm (1 hour). Free entry!

Trailer/wedding invitation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgxmA0iVATM

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