Interview with Young Pleasance

I spoke to Kishore, Katie and Eliana from Young Pleasance (YP) about their experiences as young performers at the Fringe and why the arts are important to them

Interview with Young Pleasance

Could you first introduce yourselves to the readers?
Kishore: I’m Kishore, I’m 20 and I play Jacob in the Red Shoes. This is my second year with YP.
Eliana: I’m Eliana, I’m 17 and I play Young Lotta in the Red Shoes, and this is my first time doing Fringe with YP.
Katie: I’m Katie, I’m 19 and I play Lotta in the Red Shoes alongside Eliana and Eva, and this is also my first time with YP.

What’s the show about?
Ki: We follow a girl called Lotta, who’s played by three different people, who inherits a pair of red shoes which take her on a magical, hedonistic journey through inter-war Germany. It’s got big dance numbers, cabaret themes and great costumes.

It sounds awesome! What do you like about Fringe?
Ka: Well I’ve never done Fringe before but it’s already so exciting to be in a place full of people who are totally passionate about something. Everyone is really energetic, full of new ideas and stuff you've never seen before. It’s just such an exciting atmosphere to be in.
Ki: I love Fringe and came back this year because I think the audiences at Fringe are amazing. They’re so interested in work, particularly young people’s work, and they’re just such attentive audiences. There are a lot of people who come up every year and put YP on their list to see, which is really special.
E: I’m loving it too. For me the most amazing thing is the variety of things you can see here; one minute you’re seeing Trump the Musical, which is crazy slapstick, and then another night you’re seeing a play about the immigration crisis. You can wake up with no idea what's coming your way or what you might see today, which is so exciting for me.
Ki: Yeah, that’s great. So far we’ve seen some amazing stuff, and particularly at Pleasance; I’m a bit biased but I think Pleasance is the best venue in the whole of the Fringe. The standard is incredible, and the way they find new talent is as well. There's a show that we’re all talking about at the moment called Freeman which has been supported by Pleasance Futures - which also supports YP - and we saw five minutes of it in the opening gala and it was astonishing. Pleasance found that show and have cultivated it and supported it and brought it up to the Fringe this year, which is incredible.

How is Fringe different to other types of performing?
Ki: The biggest thing at Fringe is consistency; we’re doing around 18 shows - and some people are doing the whole run which is 24 shows - so maintaining consistency and a good level of energy is crucial, because you’ve only got one hour of someone’s day and you’ve really got to give your full energy to that.
Ka: You’ve got to make it the best hour of their day!

That’s a good thing to aim for! What’s the scariest thing about performing at the Fringe?
Ka: The consistency!
Ki: Quick turn around times.
E: Yeah, get-ins and get-outs are insane!
Ka: It’s beautiful being able to do it over and over again, but the speed and the franticness are crazy.
Ki: And a show like ours is very stressful and very high energy backstage in terms of stagecraft; we have a lot of costumes.
Ka: I have 13 costume changes in one hour.

Ka: With onstage costume changes!
E: It’s also the fact that it’s not like a school or community show; it’s not just your mum and your grandma who come, it’s paying members of the public who have paid to see a professional show, and you have to deliver that.

What’s it like being a young performer at the Fringe?
Ka: It’s really cool. I mean, being with YP especially is awesome, because you really feel like you’re let into the ‘club’! People are willing to engage with you and want you to inspire them as much as you’re inspired by them, which is such a lovely feeling, especially as a young actor.
E: I think what's exciting about being young here is you’re taken more seriously than you would be anywhere else. I think a lot of the time people see young performers and think we haven’t really got the training pr experience that people older than us might have, but here everyone seems to believe in you and the work you’re doing, which is amazing.
Ki: As Katie said, with YP you’re performing with a company that has such an impressive track record for showcasing young talent, and to be a part of that is amazing. In the Opening Gala for Pleasance, out of the countless shows on here, Anthony Alderson picked out YP specifically to talk about because of the tradition and prestige of the company.

That’s so cool!
Ka: It’s such a privilege to work with them.

What advice would you give to other young people who want to get into the arts?
Ka: Get involved in everything, and find the companies that are going to work for you - and work with you - and that you’re excited by but equally who are excited by you. And talk to people - you cannot do any harm at all by getting in contact with people whose work you admire and just asking them questions about it - it can lead to so many great things.
E: I think the Fringe is definitely a great place to start for anyone who wants to get involved in the arts because you just never know who you’re going to meet or who you might see. You might find a company you really want to work with, or someone might see you and think you’re the kind of actor they want to work with!
Ki: Definitely see as much different stuff as you can and then you’ll find out what sort of work you want to make. And use social media as much as possible because I think the power of Twitter and Instagram for our generation is insane; the things you can find out about other performers-
Ka: I found out about YP through social media.
E: So did I.
Ki: A lot of people do, and other great organisations like Pleasance Futures-

And Voice!
Ki: Yeah! You can find such helpful things on social media so use it as much as you can.

Finally, why do you think the arts are important?
Ka: Without sounding totally cheesy, they’re what make us human. No other species is able to look at themselves or make fun of themselves like humans can through art. Besides, without art life isn’t interesting! People need it, definitely. Sometimes you need it to say those big things and deal with big issues, but sometimes you just need it for a laugh or to relax.
E: For me, it’s about storytelling. I think the best way anyone can tell a story is through art, and it’s the best way to make a story resonate with people, and to inspire them. Someone can see a piece of art and it can inspire them to make a change in their lives, and I think that's why it’s so important.
Ki: I think the most important thing about the arts, particularly theatre, is the relationship you have between performer and audience. How often now, in our technologically crazy world, do we put down our phones, go into a room and suspend our disbelief for an hour or two?
Ka: Exactly. You all sit in a room and agree to believe in something together for a while, and I just think that's magical.

Thanks to Kishore, Katie and Eliana for taking the time to do this interview. We wish you luck with your show! 

The Red Shoes is on at 15:30 at Pleasance Courtyard until August 18th. For more information or to purchase tickets, see the EdFringe website

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 


Sam Nead

Sam Nead Contributor

I am a 21 year old student who loves reading, writing and all things theatre-related. I am studying Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at Birmingham University and I'm trying to write a novel, but not doing very well at it!

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