People / theatre

Croydon goes to Edinburgh

4 July 2024

Summer is well under way, so for many performers that means decamping to Scotland for ‘The greatest platform for creative freedom in the world.’ Yes folks, I’m talking about the Edinburgh Fringe. This week we catch up with our ultimate ‘Croydon gal’, writer and performer (as well as Croydonites associate director), Katie Hurley, as she begins rehearsals for her Edinburgh show ‘You’re So F**king Croydon’.

Croydonist: It’s very exciting that you’re taking ‘Croydon’ to THE Fringe. Can you tell us a bit about how You’re So F**king Croydon has evolved since we saw you perform at Croydonites last November?

Katie: Yes, of course. So the version I performed at Croydonites was a ‘work-in -progress’. It was a great exercise in testing out what we’d created so far, seeing what landed with an audience and what didn’t, but it wasn’t the finished article. I hadn’t written the ending and there were a few scenes I knew needed more work but we ran out of time. We got some feedback after the show which was really useful and had another short development period in March before testing it out again at the Omnibus theatre in Clapham. It was important to me to see how it landed with a non-Croydon audience too.

We go into rehearsals for Edinburgh next week. I’ve already done a bit of script overhaul, I’ve had to tweak a few of the gags etc, but I’m sure there will be more adjustments to come!

Croydonist: In case our readers didn’t see the show at Croydonites – can you summarise it in a sentence for them?

Katie: To give you our official description: An exploration of noughties club culture, female resilience and home. Ft. David Bowie.

Croydonist: And to recap on the title – why is the show called ‘You’re So F**king Croydon?’

Katie: It’s taken from the infamous David Bowie quote:

“It was my nemesis, I hated Croydon with a real vengeance. It represented everything I didn’t want in my life, everything I wanted to get away from. I think it’s the most derogatory thing I can say about somebody or something: ‘God, it’s so f**king Croydon!’

I was in Matthews Yard a few years ago (the West Croydon one) and I’d just started to make the show, it was in the very early stages and originally called, ‘Katie from the Cronx’ (Like ‘Jenny from the block’ – which is now a song in the show actually) – anyway I saw the poster up on the wall and I googled the full quote.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Croydon myself over the years so could connect with what he was saying, but at the same time I really wanted to challenge it and reclaim what it means to be, ‘SO F**KING Croydon!’. I don’t see it as an insult any more but a badge of honour. In fact we’re going to get badges made for the Edinburgh run!

Croydonist: (Please save us one). Do all the Croydon characters in your pink promo picture appear in the show, and who’s your favourite?

Katie: No, we’ve got a few red herrings in there. The ‘Hen Do’ girl for example was just an excuse for me to re-wear all my sparkly hen do clothes and smear lipstick over my face.

Kate Moss is probably my fave. A lot of the show is set in the noughties when she and Pete Doherty were making headlines daily. She is such an icon. The Henry VIII costume was fun to wear also, but I’m not such a fan of him, personally!

Croydonist: Can you tell us a bit about the show’s ‘Croydon’ costumes.

Katie: Yes, so throughout the show we’re really trying to play with perceptions. You think Croydon girls are like this and behave like this, well we’re going to make you believe you’re right, and then turn it on its head.

The pink velour tracksuit represents a lot of those preconceived ideas. It became a bit of a symbol of working class women in the noughties – think Vicky Pollard in Little Britain. I remember wearing my favourite lemon one on the plane to Malia and spilling a bright blue cocktail down it within seconds! They would often say things like ‘Juicy’ or ‘Bootylicious’ across the bum in diamontes. Mine in the show says Croydon (of course!).

Our costume designer, Ray Gammon, also a Croydon girl, made me this amazing hoodie out of Ikea bags for a scene that takes place in the Ikea car park too! Although in real life the scene actually happened in the Tottenham one, we all know Croydon is the mothership.

Croydonist: What’s the most rewarding part about performing a one woman show?

Katie: Ahhhh that’s a tough question. This is actually my first one woman show and I’ve only done two performances so far, however I’m really enjoying myself. Without sounding like a total lovie, it’s great to really flex all those acting muscles and push myself as a writer/performer. I love the connection you get with the audience. Being able to actually talk to them rather than pretending that they are not there. In a weird way I kind of like the pressure too.

Croydonist: What’s the most challenging part about performing a one woman show?

Katie: Stamina. The show is pretty full on, I’m exhausted by the end of it. Physically and emotionally. Edinburgh will take that to the next level. Last time I performed at the fringe, I was out partying most nights, this year I’ll be living like a nun! I’ve already started training for it fitness wise and will be taking ALL of the vitamins.

Croydonist: What are you most excited about, taking You’re So F**king Croydon to Edinburgh?

Katie: So many things! I mean, as I mentioned, I’ve only ever performed the show in front of an audience twice, so getting to do 26 shows back to back will really allow me to have fun with it and grow into the performance.

I’m excited about people from all over the world getting to see it! Edinburgh attracts a big international audience.

I’m looking forward to the hustle and bustle of the fringe in general. I’ve not taken a show there since 2016 (it’s SO expensive!) but try and visit most years, and as much as it’s great to see all the other amazing work, it’s not quite the same. I’m also looking forward to climbing Arthur’s Seat in my Croydon Tracksuit and flying the flag for CR0! I’m now wondering if I should make an actual flag…? Or if that is even allowed…?

Croydonist: (Please make a flag!) And what are you most scared about, taking the show to Edinburgh?

Katie: Reviewers! It’s hard enough being reviewed as an actor in someone else’s play, but when it’s something you’ve written, about your life and you’re playing a version of yourself, it’s pretty terrifying!

Croydonist: If our readers can’t make it that far north this summer, can they see the show anywhere else in the meantime?

Katie: Well I’m very much hoping we get a London transfer after the Fringe, so watch this space! But I’m actually doing a preview at Bedfringe (direct trains from East Croydon) on Thursday 25 July and I’ll be rehearsing at the Front Room in the week commencing 22 July also, so swing by and say hello!

Thanks to Katie for chatting with us and best of luck taking Croydon to Edinburgh.

‘You’re So F**king Croydon’ takes place at Edinburgh Fringe on 1–12 August and 14–25 August. Get your tickets here.

Or if Bedford is a far north as you can go, the show is on at The Quarry Theatre Studio on 25 July 2024 – tickets here.

You can follow ‘You’re So F**king Croydon on Instagram to keep up to date with Katie’s Fringe journey. 

Images courtesy of Katie Hurley (images 1-8 by Glenn Foster).

Posted by Julia

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