Interview with Samantha Pressdee

In the run up to Voice's latest coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we have dozens of interviews with performers like the highly talented Samantha Pressdee, who we'll be seeing up there.

Interview with Samantha Pressdee

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

I'm Samantha Pressdee, I've been performing Stand-up for nearly 3 years. I've been a professional entertainer for over 10 years working as an Actress, Dancer and Model.

The show is an autobiographical exploration of what drives sexual rebellion and extreme behaviour. I talk about my groupie days, pop culture and how I learned to respect my vagina.

What is your earliest arts memory?

I was a Shepherd in my school christmas play. I must have been 3 or 4. My mom made my costume out of a bed sheet. I remember being jealous of the Angel.

What first encouraged you to become a performer?

My mom was watching the Australian soap Home and Away and I asked her how the little girl 'Sally' got inside the telly. I wanted to be inside the telly (Probably because I was jealous of the attention it was getting). Mom enrolled me in Ballet & Tap lessons and I got to play a fairy in a production of 'Babes in the Wood' at Darlaston Town Hall. I loved the make-up, dressing up and got addicted to applause.

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

It was as a Dancer, with Pineapple Cheerleaders. I'd gone along to a class at Pineapple and the teacher invited me to join the squad, they needed a blonde one. I was on MTV's TRL a few days later with Samuel L Jackson who was promoting his film 'Coach Carter.' I loved it and felt accomplished because Mom finally saw me inside the telly.

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

Connecting with strangers on an emotional level. I love it when people come talk to me after a show. They tell me things, we relate and hug. It makes me feel a bit like Sheezus.

Conversely, what is the worst?

It's expensive to establish yourself with all the traveling for no pay at first, and so competitive. Its hard to know who your friends are on the circuit. I'm sensitive, so I've had a few mini meltdowns along the way.

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

Sometimes I can't decide. Thats one of the reasons I like talking to audience after. Maybe 30% of the time its clear I've smashed it. There are occasional deaths but its the ones in between that get to me. My material isn't for everyone but as long as some people are enjoying it, I'm content.

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

Russell Brand is my favourite Comedian, I became a fan after seeing Messiah Complex on DVD. I joined the Revolution, so we've kind of collaborated, by breaking into a house together! It was then politically occupied along with many others. This was on the Sweets Way Estate in London, which has sadly now been demolished. Working class families lost their homes and some were moved out of London away from their support networks to make way for more expensive houses to be built. Lack of social housing is still a massive problem in London, I can't afford to live their anymore. I think social cleansing touches us all over the UK though. Lack of funds for the NHS, Domestic Violence and Rehab centres having to close. It's all social cleansing.

What made you want to come to Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

My first visit was with a play 'Very Still and Hard to See'. I thought it would be fun and a chance to improve as a performer. I saw a few stand-up comedy shows during that trip and was inspired to give it a go. I prefer stand up to acting because you have more freedom of expression. To be an actor you have to audition and play a role. With stand-up I just show up and be myself.

Is performing at EdFringe different from 'traditional' shows?

The energy is very different. It feels more spontaneous. You don't know whats going to happen, what the audience will be like or if there will be an audience at all. That uncertainty makes it more exciting than traditional shows.

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

I wouldn't give her any advice because my life would then play out totally different and although its been sucky at times, I've had some amazing adventures. I'd be scared to even give her a hug. I've seen the Butterfly Effect.

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

If you can get the money, go to an accredited Drama School. Its really hard to break in through the back door. If you want to be a stand-up go on a course first, I did one with Rob Hitchmough at City Lit.

Don't listen to the advice of random (usually unsuccessful) people on the circuit. Not all of them are nice. There are people across the entertainment industry that want to profit from your passion. It's better to invest in learning how it all works, than lose money paying for dodgy headshots, showreels or a place in a competition.

I also recommend Simon Caine's 'Ask the Industry Podcast' I've made some good connections through that community and am learning loads.

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

My twitter and Instagram is @SammieAurora

Where can people catch your show during EdFringe?

It's on at 22:20 at Just the Tonic's The Mash House. I'm in The Attic.


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