Fringe & Fitness
With Fringe right around the corner, we sat down with some incredible Fringe performers to chat about 2020 and how it has impacted their work, career and health, and fitness routines. We will be sharing their journeys in a mini-series over the next few weeks of Fringe season, so stay tuned!
First up, is Miss Friby, who will be bringing her one-woman variety show, Absolute Riot, featuring burlesque, vaudeville, and cabaret to this year’s Fringe.
2020 was a weird year for the Arts industry, what challenges did you and your fringe show face and how did you overcome them ahead of the 2021 Fringe season to be show ready?
It really happened overnight with the arts; everything was cancelled in one day. It was bizarre, the phone calls/emails started coming in, and by 6 pm, everything I had worked towards was gone. This included an international tour, three shows I was due to direct/choreograph, and every gig I had booked ahead of me. It was a tough pill to swallow. To be honest, I spent the bulk of 2020 trying to stay sane within a 5km radius, coordinating my masks with my leisurewear, and swearing at my YouTube HIIT instructors. This show is my first show since March last year. It will be hugely emotional for me to be back in front of a live audience. I’m so grateful, excited, and absolutely terrified!
Were there any innovative or creative methods that you adopted?
Yes, I turned to film, and I loved it! I received a grant to make a web series, I did a 30-day dance challenge, creating a dance piece/film every day (which is up on my Instagram!) and collaborated with a lot of Melbourne based artists to make films in isolation – all of which are up on my YouTube channel. For many of us in Melbourne though, it felt like we may never ever return to some sense of normal. In hindsight, that all seems so dramatic, but it really was the reality for us. So, most of the energy we would usually spend ‘working towards’ something in the future, would be poured into finding fun ways to make each day feel like an adventure, despite its limitations.
Being a show that is physically demanding, outside of show rehearsals, what is your standard health and fitness routine in the months leading up to opening night? I have been dance training (classical, jazz, contemporary, tap) since I was three. I love dancing but it does get harder to maintain physically as time goes on. They say 28 is the ‘death of a dancer’ – but I’m on 36, so who really knows?! My rehearsal time has increased significantly simply to allow for the warm-up (60 mins) / cool down (30 mins) regime, which I used to be so relaxed about in the past, now, it’s essential! I also do yoga every day, and sometimes I will follow this with a long walk and/or ab workout. When I’m prepping for a show though, I tend to work on my flexibility and stamina, as opposed to muscle mass, which can sometimes make dancing harder.
I look after my health in other ways too, I tend to avoid alcohol, late nights, talking too much, and try to get a decent amount of sleep in the lead up to a season. It’s a little hard to keep that going during a season because your adrenaline is so fired up after a show and it takes hours to unwind, but I balance this out with very zen days – no socialising, minimal talking, exceptional food.
During festival season what do you like to do in your spare time?
I watch so many shows – sometimes six in one day! I just find it so inspiring to see what other artists are coming up with. I love taking a mystery punt on shows I’ve never heard of – they may not always hit the mark, but when they do, it’s often incredibly innovative and exciting. I love to go to the beach too, and there are so many stunning places to swim in Adelaide – which I usually hit up in the morning.
How important do you think this year’s Fringe Festival will be for the local Adelaide Community?
I think that this year, it may be more important than ever because so much support has been given to local artists to produce homegrown work. Many of the international acts aren’t in town, which will force Adelaide audiences to make braver choices when it comes to the smaller, independent shows. There are great producers, creatives, and performers in Adelaide all year round, they just need more opportunities to build their audiences. I think this year’s focus on local artists may help with that.
What does the Adelaide Fringe mean to you?
I love this festival. I’ve been coming for years as a performer, director, choreographer, and punter – I’ve done the lot. It is such a fantastic melting pot of creativity, culture, story and good old-fashioned entertainment. It’s also a bit of a party for many of us touring performers, where we all get to come together once a year.
I am so honoured to FINALLY be bringing a full-length show here, also a tad nervous, but I’m hoping Adelaide gets this wild ride!