Edinburgh Veteran Katy Schutte on what Happens When Art Breaks Through

I’m taking Between Us to Edinburgh Fringe for the first time this year, so I wanted to hear from other seasoned improvisers about their Edinburgh experiences. I caught up with Katy Schutte who’s performing with The Maydays’ Happily Never After and “Whose Mind Is It Anyway?”.

Rachel: I’m counting the number of Edinburgh shows I’ve seen you in. It’s at least three.

Katy: This will be my 14th Edinburgh Fringe! Highlights have included my award-nominated solo show Schutte The Unromantic, “Who Ya Gonna Call?” (our Ghostbusters musical) and Knightmare Live. I’ve played all of the Big Four venues as well as the Free Fringe and various others.

Rachel: I have happy memories of waiting outside the door to “Who Ya Gonna Call?” in Edwardian dress because Upstairs Downton was on after you. I was sorry that scheduling meant I could never see it! How did it go?

Katy: The first show of “Who Ya Gonna Call?” was so amazing. The space wasn’t built in time to have a tech or dress rehearsal, so we decided not to flyer for the first show and just use it as a rehearsal instead. We arrived to standing-room-only and delivered a messy but ridiculously fun first show.

Rachel: Clearly you love performing at Edinburgh! What do you enjoy about it?

Katy: Anyone will tell you that it’s an endurance exercise, but that means that you are sensitised to everything; art breaks through and you are surrounded by it. You are forced to improve your show in order to make sure it’s fun every day. With improvisation it’s a great way of taking group mind to its nth degree.

Rachel: Do you have any tips for keeping your improv fresh?

Katy: I think it’s pretty easy in Edinburgh because you’re being bombarded by new and interesting stuff all the time. Happily this year both my shows are outsourcing the publicity. That’s the absolute best way of doing it if you can afford it. Happy, non-flyering actors do the best shows.

Rachel: How do The Maydays prepare for each show?

Katy: We have a set warm-up that takes around five minutes. Eight shared musical things, scales, an energy raiser and focussing exercise.

Rachel: Have you got any advice for a new show?

Katy: Set your expectations low. My first fringe in 1999 I went in thinking I would win the comedy award. I got a one star review! Make a clear decision about why you’re there and what you want. Do you want to get more experience? Be inspired by other shows? Work on your show with audiences? Get industry in? Get a clear mission plan because you only have time and money for one outcome. 

Rachel: Time and money! The two big issues at Edinburgh. Any tips?

Katy: Allow yourself to have a good time. Eat well, have a nice space to come back to and join a gym. And enjoy paying for all your shopping in loose change from the Free Fringe.

Rachel: And remind us where we can spend our time and money seeing you?

Katy:  Happily Never After is at Gilded Balloon Teviot at 2:45pm and “Whose Mind Is It Anyway?” is at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose at 10:30pm. I have a show-light one this year with just two shows a day (or less), so my mission will be to see a lot of shows and see a bunch of mates. I always imagine I’ll do some writing, but let’s see…

Section 1 – Show facts

What’s your name?

Katy Schutte

What’s your troupe’s name?

The Maydays

What show are you taking to Edinburgh this year?

Happily Never After

  1. What are the time/dates/venue of your show this year?
    Jul 31 Aug 1-12, 14-26 at 14:45 Gilded Balloon Teviot Wine Bar
  2. Briefly describe the show you’re taking this year.

It’s a gothic improvised musical tale.

What show(s) have you taken in previous years? When? Which venue(s)?

This will be my fourteenth Edinburgh Fringe. Highlights have included my award-nominated solo show Schutte the Unromantic, Who Ya Gonna Call? (our 5* Ghostbusters musical) and Knightmare Live. I’ve played all of the Big Four venues as well as the Free Fringe and various others.

Section 2 – Experiences

Tell us about your best ever Edinburgh performance.

The first show of What Ya Gonna Call? the Ghostbusters musical was so amazing. The space wasn’t built in time to have a tech or dress rehearsal, so we decided not to flyer for the first show and just use it as a rehearsal instead. We arrived to standing-room-only and delivered a messy but ridiculously fun first show.

 

What do you enjoy about performing at Edinburgh?

Anyone will tell you that it’s an endurance exercise, but that means that you are sensitised to everything; art breaks through and you are surrounded by it. You are forced to improve your show in order to make sure it’s fun every day. With improvisation it’s a great way of taking group mind to it’s nth degree.

 

What do you find difficult about performing at Edinburgh?

The workload is hard. You will likely be under slept and running from place to place. That effects your shows. The stress of running lines for a solo show every day certainly wasn’t my favourite either!

 

Tell us about your Edinburgh low point.

Illness. I lost my voice a few times and had to cancel a show once. It’s awful when you’re doing a musical and you can’t even speak!

 

Tell us about your Edinburgh highlight.

I loved a lot of the shows I’ve played in, but I particularly loved joining the cast of Knightmare Live three years ago. It was a show I’d watched for a few years and I couldn’t believe I got to play in it finally.

 

What advice would you give to a new show at Edinburgh?

Set your expectations low. My first fringe in 1999 I went in thinking I would win the comedy award. I got a one star review! Make a clear decision about why you’re there and what you want. Do you want to get more experience, be inspired by other shows, work on your show with audiences, get industry in? Get a clear mission plan because you only have time and money for one outcome. Normally my advice is ‘allow yourself to have a good time; eat well, have a nice space to come back to and join a gym’.

 

How do you promote your show? Do you do anything unusual? Is there any kind of promotion that you’d avoid?

Happily this year both my shows are outsourcing the publicity. That’s the absolute best way of doing it if you can afford it. Happy, non-flyering actors do the best shows.

 

Do you have any Edinburgh money tips?

Enjoy paying for all your shopping in loose change from the Free Fringe.

 

How do you like to spend your time when you’re not performing?

Watching shows, meeting friends and taking the time to make food at home, jogging round the park or swimming. 

 

How do you keep your improv fresh when you’re performing every day?

I think it’s pretty easy in Edinburgh because you’re being bombarded by new and interesting stuff all the time.

 

How do you prepare for each show?

The Maydays have a set warm-up that takes around five minutes. Eight shared musical things, scales, an energy raiser and focussing exercise.

 

Do you have any particular goals for this year’s Edinburgh?

I have a show-light one this year with just two shows a day (or less), so my mission will be to see a lot of shows and see a bunch of mates. I always imagine I’ll do some writing, but let’s see…

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