Who? Samantha Pressdee
Where? PQA Venues @ Riddle’s Court – Q3 (Venue 277)
What are your feelings as you enter into this year’s Edinburgh Fringe season?
Excitement and fear. I had a traumatising experience with a stalker after my last show Back 2 Basics in 2017. I had to take a break from going on stage. For that reason, at last year’s Edinburgh I just did a work in progress show. I feel like I have been building up to this Fringe for two years. The silver lining is, I feel more prepared and comfortable with this show than I have in previous years.
What is the premise of your Edinburgh show this year?
Fighting back against the cruel treatment I’ve experienced as a marginalised person. I have an invisible disability. I’m Bipolar. The state treat us cruelly by cutting our vital support services and making it difficult for us to claim the benefits we need when we are unwell. Individuals and sometimes whole groups of people can be cruel due to misunderstanding of mental health issues and the stigma around being diagnosed.
What is the biggest obstacle you face(d) while putting this show together?
Getting the money I need to produce it. I applied to the Arts Council but so far have been unsuccessful, so the show is mostly self-funded. Lots of kind people supported my crowdfunder and there have been donations at preview shows. I feel mission-driven to do this, so I don’t mind working hard to get the money for my show. It’s just hard to get the balance between doing waged labour and my labour of love. I believe when there is a will, there is a way. I’ve managed to get the costs covered, without selling my gold. I’ve sacrificed little luxuries like my TV subscription and Licence, a social life and most difficult of all, pedicures! On the positive, I’ve managed to (mostly) quit smoking, I’m also drinking less alcohol and more water.
Has your attitude towards the Fringe changed at all in recent years?
I fall more in love with the Fringe every year. I have been coming now since 2013. Last year I left early and went on holiday to Greece, which was awful! I just didn’t feel right not being at the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s my spiritual home!
Do you have any other Edinburgh show recommendations?
Yes, and they are all by people who’ve experienced mental illness; Laura Lexx: Knee Jerk, Juliette Burton: Defined, Dave Chawner: Mental, Fern Brady: Power and Chaos, Alfie Brown: Imagination, Tony Slatteri: Slatteri Will Get You Nowhere, my indigo sister Clare McCartney in Working-Class Progress with Backenders, Mags Mchugh in Blacksheep, My director Phil Nichol: Too Much.
Where would you like to be in a year’s time?
Here, there and everywhere. I’m a gypsy at heart. Most of all, I’d like to be in my happy place; expressing myself through comedy, producing socially conscious creative projects and guiding others as a mystic.