Juliette Burton – Q&A
Following a successful debut UK tour with ‘Butterfly Effect’ and an acclaimed season at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019, award-winning comedian Juliette Burton will be setting out on tour in 2020 with her new show, ‘Defined’.
Full of contradictions: pessimistic optimist, introverted extrovert, Juliette’s life has felt like a series of ‘either/or’ binary choices, such as success or failure? Masculine or feminine? Happy or sad? ‘Defined’ asks why does she have to choose one thing or the other? After a year of huge change, she’s been forced to redefine herself and her life. Everything she thought was steadfast has vanished. Can she be everything at once? Or must we choose how we are defined? How would you define yourself?
Before the tour, Juliette had time to give us her ‘Famous Last Words’…
Last thing you did that made you feel good?
Performing comedy. It’s my favourite thing to do and the reason I get out of bed in the mornings. Hearing a roomful of people laughing with me is the best feeling and helps me makes sense of the world. Thanks for helping focus on the positive stuff in my life. There are loads of things that make me feel good but it’s easy to forget them. We get what we focus on so… hanging out with friends, going for a run, chatting with Tracey, a person who is currently living on the streets near where I live in London. We’ve chatted a few times. Tracey has a love of hot chocolate and mac n cheese and used to live near Glasgow. Life is hard. It’s important to focus on the good, the positive, the light in the world. My mind can take me to dark places and if that’s the case then it’s important to seek out the light. That’s why I’m convinced moths suffer from clinical depression.
“Related to aliens”
Last thing you’d want to be doing right now?
Reading the news. Or housework. I’ve got far more important things to be getting on with.
Last night on Earth… What’s your poison?
If it’s my last night on earth, then to which planet am I heading tomorrow? What’s the wine like there? If it’s awful then a nice bottle of pink fizz would be delightful, thanks. Or if I’m being executed tomorrow then I’d like a nice glass of actual poison, please. To gift to my executioner. Although, they’re just the messenger. Who’s ordering my execution? Could I not befriend them and sort out whatever our disagreement was in the first place so we can all live in peace and harmony? I’m overthinking this aren’t I? Me a few years ago would’ve said “the only real poison is negative self-talk” but then that me discovered wine and turned into a much wiser person.
Last supper… What are you ordering?
Octopus. You are what you eat so I’d like to be the most intelligent creature on the planet… and probably related to aliens.
Last person you’d want to share a drink with?
If there are drinks involved, there are very few people I’d not like to chat with. Sharing a drink on the other hand…
Last time you shed a tear and why?
In therapy. I see my therapist every week. I’ve been in therapy since I was 14, was sectioned under the mental health act aged 17 and spent my 18th birthday in a psychiatric hospital. I’ve been in hospital five times for mental illnesses, I’ve got 12 different mental health diagnoses and have performed comedy about it all since 2013. Crying is a stress relief and a great hobby of mine. I’m less happy if I’m not crying, strangely enough.
Last refuge… where would you go?
The arms of a really, really good friend. Hugs can be lifesaving. Or a warm duvet, watching a great boxset. Or chatting to audience members after a show; feeling connected to audience members gives me motivation to keep going.
“Life will throw all kinds of challenges your way”
Last the course… tips on loot, love & life?
Honey, if I knew how to manage money, love and life then I’d not be working in comedy! The mess my life is in is great fodder for material, it’s not great for giving great life lessons… But if pushed… My top tip is to focus on gratitude. Gratitude for whatever you have wealth, health, love. That might not mean being a millionaire – but being grateful for whatever you have. You might not have found the rom com romance, but I bet you have friends and family you love. You might not have the life you dreamed of but life will throw all kinds of challenges your way and if you’re not grateful for what you have right now you’ll miss out on the joy of it before it’s gone.
Last but one… random question: Tell us about something that interests you that nobody else knows about. Like Gaelic football… or porcelain.
The Muppets. I’m incredibly and deeply committed to my love of Jim Henson’s creations.
Your Famous Last Words?
I’d love my famous last words to be something clever like “Fame is an illusion, as is so much in life… maybe even death.” It’s probably more likely to be stealing David’s Tennant’s last Dr Who line: “I don’t want to go”. Famous last words for this article? It’s been lovely to chat with you; Yorkshire is genuinely one of my favourite places to perform in the whole world (I love warm and enthusiastic audiences, which you have – Adelaide in Australia and Edinburgh being in the top 5 too…) and I can’t wait to return. Come join me!
Juliette Burton’s ‘Defined’ tour comes to Harrogate Theatre March 7 & Beverley East Riding Theatre June 26
For full tour details visit: julietteburton.co.uk
images: Steve Ullathorne