Interview with Tash York

I spoke to Tash about her show Adulting, her mum’s influence and how she’s managed to rack up so many parking fines!

Interview with Tash York

Could you first introduce yourself to the readers?
Sure! Hi, I’m Tash York. I’m a cabaret comedian girl, I do a bit of improv, I do a bit of emceeing, I’m from Australia, obviously-

They won't be able to hear you!
Oh, well then good thing I told you!

What’s your show about?
My solo show is called Adulting and it's all about why growing up is really hard and how no one has actually figured it out yet. Also, the rules of being an adult these days have changed a lot from our parents generation; it’s not just about finding a job forever and staying in the one place and doing what you think you should do. That stuff isn’t really attainable for us now anyway, like, buying a house? Good luck mate! And actually, I’ve had people of all ages come to the show and everyone relates to it because no one actually feels like an adult.

It’s true. Everyone is pretending! You’re doing another show here, right?
I’m doing the After Hours Cabaret Club, which is like a burlesque/sideshow/variety/circus…thing! It’s all set to a live jazz band, which I sing to, and I’m also the emcee. The line-up changes but there's a core cast with some extra special guests like Betty Bombshell, and I get to hang out with a bunch of cool people and sing some songs for them which is always nice!

Why do you like Fringe?
Fringe is open access, which means someone who is putting a show on for the very first time can be here, and someone who is already smashing it in a 2000 seat venue can also be here. At the end of the day you can come here and do really badly and no one will really know, so it’s a really safe environment to just do whatever you want. You also get to meet sensational people. And for me it’s cool to see how far you’ve come - what venue you’re in, how many tickets you sell - it’s a good marker point.

You did Adulting at Adelaide Fringe - was that it’s debut?
The debut of that version was in Perth Fringe and Adelaide Fringe this year, but I actually wrote it in July of last year for the Melbourne Cabaret Fringe. I wanted to write a new show because I’d been doing my other show for two years, which was called These Things Take Wine - you can see how they relate! - which had been doing really well, but I needed new material. I wrote Adulting, but it was a very different show to what it is now. I’d also written an ‘experience’ called Adult Fairy Party where I would literally host a fairy party for adults and it was the best fun ever! A lot of the ideas in this version of Adulting, and some of the songs, are from Adult Fairy Party.

I want to go to an adult fairy party
I might bring it to EdFringe one year because I reckon it would do pretty well. We did Pass the Parcel and had bubbles and face paint and balloon animals-

That sounds like the best thing ever
And I got to wear glitter all the time, and wings. But the best thing I did was make the ticket prices $5 cheaper if you came dressed as a fairy, so my audiences were all these grown up people dressed up as fairies! And the flyers were drawings to colour in. I’m basically a child. I had a Barbie party for my 20th birthday, so everyone had to come as Barbie, and we had a piñata and vodka; it was great.

I’m stealing that idea. Anyway, what were we talking about? Adulting!
Right, yes, so it debuted as it is now at Perth and Adelaide and then I did Melbourne Comedy Festival after that, and since then it’s pretty much stayed the same. It’s quite universal, as a show.

In the show you talk about your mum a lot - is she a big influence in your life?
She is. My mum has always let me do whatever I wanted to do in my life, which is amazing because it let me follow the career path I did. Obviously she's always been worried that I’m going to have no money and die in a ditch, but that’s every parent! The biggest reason she’s amazing though is that my dad actually ended up leaving her, and she never really wanted kids, but she decided to have me and then she did a rockstar job of it. She sacrificed a lot of things, and I get it - as I talk about in the show I’ve had an abortion myself, and as a result of that I know exactly what she sacrificed for me. Now she's finally travelling and wants to start a fashion business and it’s awesome, and I’m helping her however I can because I know what she's done for me.

Have you always wanted to perform?
Pretty much. I was always a performer, but what the performing was has always changed. When I was little all I wanted to do was be famous on TV, and my main reason for that was, because I didn't know my dad growing up, I wanted him to see me on TV and find out who I was, and be sad that he wasn't part of my life. But that’s a really bad way to think about trying to start your career! And it’s funny now because I do have a relationship with my dad now, which happened when I was 24. So then I went into musical theatre and I did a degree in it and then I finished it and realised I hated it! Then I did a BA in drama and writing and then I did a bachelor of business in human resources-

So you have three degrees?
Yes, and I don't use any of them! I was at uni for like eight years, which was eight years of figuring out what I really wanted to do. And I say I don't use them, but - as much as cabaret seems really glamorous -  it’s actually a lot of admin, and without my business degree I don't think I’d have come as far as I have so quickly. I’ve only been doing this for four years! And it’s easier when you’re not trying to fit in somewhere that you’re not supposed to be. Musical theatre school was so hard  for me because it wasn't my thing. I don’t like playing other people, and in cabaret I can be myself. I also love it because you make a real connection with people; it’s just you and a bunch of random people you’ve never met before in a room and you tell them your whole life story, like I’ve had an abortion and $24,000 (AUD) of parking tickets-

Yeah, so, is that true?
It’s actually probably more than that. I’ve been driving since 2004, so it is from 14 years.

How do you even manage that?!
You just ignore letters and move house a lot and then they triple most of the fines! I think I had 42 offences in Melbourne and then they tripled them all, so it got to $11,500 (AUD), and I’d only been living there for about three years.

When was your last one?
I’ve been really good! My last one was actually Adelaide Fringe - I literally got one on the first day.

A whole six months ago…
I know, but it was only one! There's this company that collect fines called Spur, and because I’d moved house so many times they didn't know where I lived so they couldn't take away my license. My friend had them as a client and they had a list of the top ten people they most wanted to track down, and I was on the list!

Were you number one?
I wasn’t, but I was close.

Where have you parked to manage this? I’m so curious!
Well, when I was at musical theatre school, the area we were in only had two hours parking, and we often got out late. I also used to have a really little car, so I’d just shove on to the end of places, or I’d park somewhere dumb because I was late. And then, two years ago, the day before my birthday, I parked somewhere that was a tow-away zone from 4pm when I went to work. I had a drink with my boss and suddenly ran downstairs at 4:10pm, and my car was on top of the tow truck - and there was a ticket on my car as well! So - because I’m really mature and deal well with things - I climbed on top of my car on the tow truck and sat on the roof for about 45 minutes until rush hour traffic, so he had to sit in traffic to get back.

Well if you’re going to do it, do it properly! Anyway, going back to the arts - why do you think the arts are important?
For me the arts are broken up into the artists themselves, which is me; I need to do this or I’ll go insane. If I’m not creating art I feel like I’m not myself and I’m not helping others. That’s why it’s important for the artists. But people who don't create art also need art in their lives, such as a break up song to relate to, or a theatre to transport them to another world, or something to relate to. Art is a reflection on life, and gives us perspective. It’s a weird thing, because you’re keeping perspective by letting go of reality. People are too scared to inwardly reflect so they need art to see themselves in others. I want my show to show people that you’re doing fine; stop freaking out, you’re awesome.

What advice would you give to young people who want to go into the arts?
If it’s a need inside you, if it’s something you have to do, even if you’re doing something else try and find a compromise and find a way to include it in your life. Just find some sort of creative outlet. There’s always an option of making art and making money. People get really scared they’ll not have any money, and you might not have a lot of money, but you’ll have some. It’s just you negotiating with yourself: do I need the fanciest laptop, or the nicest car, or can I have average things but be able to do what I love? Baby steps is the key. Break it up until you’ve got tiny goals, and then it’s not scary anymore. That’s all I’ve ever done, and that’s how I’ve got where I am.

Thanks so much to Tash for taking the time to do this interview! You can see my review of Adulting from Adelaide Fringe here.

Adulting is on at 19:55 at Underbelly, Bristo Square until August 27th. For more information and to purchase tickets, see the EdFringe website

This interview has been edited for length and clarity


Sam Nead

Sam Nead Contributor

I am a 22 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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