Interview with Jennifer Irons, writer and performer of Yukon Ho! (Tall Tales from the Great White North)

"Growing up in an isolated mining community there wasn’t much to see in terms of arts. Every Christmas the Nutcracker would be on CBC television and Mikail Baryshnikov was (still is) INCREDIBLE. Watch that man move. He’s unreal."

Interview with Jennifer Irons, writer and performer of Yukon Ho! (Tall Tales from the Great White North)

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

My name is Jennifer Irons. I’m originally from the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada and have resided in the UK for the past 20 years. 

How would you describe your show?

It’s a one-woman semi- autobiographical survival guide to the arctic. Funny, sad, dark, bizarre, triumphant.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Because it’s the grand mammie of all festivals, isn’t it? 

What differentiates it from other festivals?

The diversity, the atmosphere. And the late nights. My god, the late nights.

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

Growing up in an isolated mining community there wasn’t much to see in terms of arts. Every Christmas the Nutcracker would be on CBC television and Mikail Baryshnikov was (still is) INCREDIBLE. Watch that man move. He’s unreal.

I used to watch the halftime show at the Superbowl and be mesmerised by the thousands of people dancing all at once. I thought it was epic. Still do.

Lots of movies. And lots of music. So the main inspiration really came from music. Dancing around in the house to my parents’ exceptional record collection. I’m pretty sure I was the only 9 year old girl in the Yukon with a full knowledge of Gladys Knight and the Pips back catalogue. 

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

Marine Biologist.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

This one. But I still want to choreograph the halftime show at the Superbowl.

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

Singing in the Christmas pageant in kindergarten when the milk from my lunchbox leaked and I was pulled off stage to clean it up. I was pissed because I was demoted from playing the bells to general chorus.

Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?

I kind of think that’s the point? I think I’m naturally inclined to vehemently share my opinion on current events! Doing it through ‘art’ makes me less annoying in the pub… right?

Equally, do you think there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?

Hmmmm. More like I keep discovering all these new things I haven’t tried before! 

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Colourful, educational, adventurous, shocking and joyous.

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

Baryshnikov. See above.

Why would a performer opt to do either a ticketed event or participate in the free fringe? What are the benefits and limitations of both?

The whole thing is a strange and wonderful undertaking. Free events are a good way to meet new people and find audiences that may not have found you. Ticketed events are harder to get people to part with their cash as there’s just so much to choose from and money is… well money. But for the artists, selling your show means you get to eat this week. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Train. Eat your veggies. And prepare your liver. 

When and where can people see your show?

Upperchurch at Summerhall

17:50 2 – 11 Aug 

17:30 13 – 25 Aug 

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

@ironincdance

facebook.com/Jennifer.irons.5

www.jenniferirons.co.uk 


You can see Yukon Ho! (Tall Tales from the Great White North) at Summerhall until 11 August at 17.50 and from 13 – 25 Aug (not 19) at 17.30. 

For tickets please visit https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/yukon-ho-tall-tales-from-the-great-white-north

Header Image Credit: Tom Partridge

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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