Victoria Firth is a theatre maker/director and performer from Yorkshire. She has dabbled in lots of performance styles over the years to flex her creativity and she is also the Director of the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield. ‘How to be Amazingly Happy!’ is Victoria Firth bringing her producing and performing skills together. This is Victoria’s first full length solo show and her first time presenting at the Edinburgh Fringe.
How to be Amazingly Happy is coming to Pleasance, what can you tell us about the show?
It’s a Pandora’s Box of BIG questions, surprising drama and all kinds of joyfulness. On the one hand it’s about things people experience but no-one talks about – when they don’t have kids. One the other hand it’s about what makes us feel good as humans and how we persevere and get permission to explore what our own happiness looks like.
What’s the one thing about How to be Amazingly Happy that makes it different from all the rest?
It’s got me in it! The show celebrates individuality and openness so the performance is me being myself, direct and friendly, – like chatting to a mate on the sofa. It’s funny cos of the ordinariness, honesty and general daftness that lots of people will relate to. At the same time, it’s definitely a performance and I want to take the audience on a theatrical journey through storytelling, clowning, live art and cabaret. The different forms mean we can also get into some chewy issues in a light way and speak to everyone’s individuality and taste.
How have the team at Pleasance made you feel welcome?
The Pleasance team have been fantastic. As a first timer to the Fringe I’ve had loads of beginner’s questions and they’ve been tremendously helpful and patient. Then last week I broke my toe which means that I’m having to adapt some of the show and my plans for getting around Edinburgh and they have been really supportive. Looking forward to being there and meeting them in all in person.
Is it based on real events?
Yes, How to be Amazingly Happy is based on situations myself and my friends have experienced. The audio recordings in the production are trying to reflect the private things we’ve talked about or felt and the stories are from my own quest for happiness. I didn’t want to write it for a long time because it was so personal but I was inspired by going on a course with the artist Bryony Kimmings. The other people on the course were really up for it and encouraged me that it was a show that people would want to see.
What’s the most challenging thing about performing in How to be Amazingly Happy?
It’s been challenging performing again after a long break and as an older ‘emerging’ artist. I also held back for a long time because the show is autobiographical. On both counts I was worried about what people thought. I believe now that you only get better by starting and that being able to assimilate all of your experience is a good thing. We spend a lot of time being different things to different people instead of trusting ourselves as we are. I hope people will like that and go out feeling a bit gutsier about what they want to do.
Who will How to be Amazingly Happy appeal to the most?
Anyone who has had a dream or relationship go wrong will relate to it.
The show has particular resonance for women who might be contemplating having children, those who don’t or whose children have left home. Family structures are and more diverse than ever and more and more women aren’t having children but society still shapes identity around childbearing and raising.
I hope it also appeals to an LGBT audience and anyone who feels invisible. I’ll be wearing ridiculous tights, fantastic dresses, lip-syncing and dancing for you.
How to be Amazingly Happy! Is at Pleasance Courtyard 1st – 27th August (not 13th & 14th).