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Great comedy gives me hope, helps me feel less alone because laughter can be recognition of one person’s experience being so similar to yours. I’ve always felt like something of a misfit but comedy helps me feel like I belong.’ (Juliette Burton)
Juliette Burton’s Look at Me received critical acclaim and sold out almost every performance, as well as being nominated for The Skinny’s Talk of the Town Award for Cultural Impact at Edinburgh Fringe 2014.
With a lifelong history of mental health problems, including being diagnosed with OCD, bipolar, anorexia, bulimia and agoraphobia, Juliette is a strong supporter of various mental health and eating disorder charities where she uses her personal experiences to speak openly and offer support and help to others. Juliette was determined to bring the show back after its phenomenal Fringe success to showcase it as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival:
‘I'm so excited – not only to be returning to Edinburgh to perform for the first time since the Fringe but also to be a part of SMHAFF which does fantastic work to raise awareness and break social stigma surrounding mental health – something I am unreservedly passionate about. I can't wait to have a blast in my absolute, genuine favourite city in the world!’
This is the second show in Juliette’s set of performances being collated as part of The Dreamer Series, with first instalment When I Grow Up also being a smashing success and award-winning production.
While When I Grow Up explored the struggle of childhood imagination and excitement in comparison to the reality of adult working life, Look at Me concentrates on that initial first reaction that all make from judging a person based solely on their looks and clothes, and brings further forward subjects in the first instalment touched on by Juliette in relation to her own struggles with bulimia and self-confidence (She appeared on ITV’s This Morning on Monday to discuss Body Confidence Week – 4:21 in):
‘I’ve been both a size 4 and size 20, which affected my perception of my own identity. I WAS the same girl in different bodies and I wanted to explore if people treated me differently based on how I felt inside or if HOW I felt inside meant that people treated me differently.’
Look At Me debates whether changing what we look like can change who we are on the inside, as well as debating if what we actually appear to be is who we actually are. Her docu-comedy approach is influenced by her extensive background in media, and by combining comedy with serious issues, Burton’s unique and endearing style encourages people to talk and think about the importance of mental health.
Using Q Lab technology to transform Juliette into various disguises (see video below) and interviews with a diverse range of people – the physically disabled, cystic fibrosis suffers, cancer patients, those with obesity issues, self-harmers, models and the elderly – Juliette challenges beauty, myth and self-perception, as she explains:
‘Our whole world has invested a lot in the last 50 years in appearance mattering so much. We are taught through the media that women’s (and indeed, men’s) values are based upon age, dress size, or followers on Twitter. A lot of industries – fashion industry, sex industry and beauty industry – all try to tell us that we are not good enough and I want to challenge that in this show by highlighting that we ARE good enough.’
As the autumn weather swings into full gear and the allure of staying curled up at home increases, you are urged to escape from defunct and predictable Saturday night telly and be whisked away with an uplifting show that guarantees to have you skipping out the door feeling fantastic.
Some extracts from Sarah Campbell’s interview, reproduced here with kind permission from the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.
Look at Me is on Saturday 18th October at 7.30pm.