If you’re a regular visitor to Standard Issue, you won’t need telling that we’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of contributors who we love dearly. We thought it was about time we let them introduce themselves properly. Meet Juliette Burton. She’s mad about Muppets.
Name: Juliette Burton
Age: Timeless! Could be 20-something, could be 30-something, could be six years old. Not sure. Stopped counting.
Location: In front of my laptop. And in another universe. UK
Official job title: Writer. Performer. Actress. Human. Weirdo. Comedy type person thing.
What was the first thing you wanted to be? I did a whole show about this! I wanted to be many things; ballerina, baker, artist, Muppet. The thing that stuck was writer and actress.
When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? About aged eight. I decided I wanted to be a writer and actress. I was told that wasn’t really a valid decision for an eight-year-old. Tried lots of other pathways: journalism, illness, hospital. But all roads led me back to that initial instinctive decision.
What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Paul Kindersley, the boy genius who ate rubbers. And also I remember being bullied, feeling out of place, longing to run away and join The Muppets.
When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? Being self-employed it often feels like I’m always working. I love seeing my good friends, chatting, drinking. I love traveling and would love to do it more. So when not working I tend to research future trips. Maybe I’m still running away.
What has been your proudest creative moment to date? Every time I perform and someone tells me they loved the show – genuinely each time that happens it’s better than the last. I also felt very touched when my Operation Game article was published and shared and received such a positive response on Standard Issue.
What was your favourite day at work? I reckon the best is yet to come.
What would you like to erase from your past? I can’t really erase anything, because all of it has led me to this moment right now and who I am. That’s not funny is it? Um… that time I appeared naked on stage. No, wait, that was a dream. Ok, all experiences of elitism, sexism and negativity.
What brings you the most joy? Pufflings. Puppies. And The Muppets.
What makes you angry? Sexism, elitism, inequality, injustice, negativity and slow broadband.
Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? Miss Piggy.
Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? Dawn French, Michael Palin and when I first started dating my current partner.
What advice would you give a woman who wants a career like yours? Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. If you still do it, you were always going to do it.
“Who can’t I live without? Myself. But then I can’t live with myself either, so I guess I’ll just have to rent a two-bedroom place.”
How do you define success? I’m still questioning that myself. I used to think it was five-star reviews and sell-out shows. Then I thought it was having money. Then I thought it was lots of people caring about what you do. I’m still trying to shake the idea that the definition of success is impressing my parents… because I have no control over that. Maybe success is a simple as knowing that how you spend your days has a positive impact on the wider world.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Never give up.
What’s your favourite photograph of yourself? I have a picture of me aged about four on a bike with a huge grin on my face – it’s the same grin I have on my face in every pic as an adult when I forget to ‘pose’ and I’m just feeling sheer joy at being alive.
Where did you go on your favourite holiday? Bali, 2014. Snorkelling in abandoned coral early in the morning, watching the sunrise from a boat with no one else around, skipping about on motorbikes on car-less roads. BLISS. My secret back-up plan is to one day escape back there and set up a home. Not so secret now I’ve told you!
Who can’t you live without? Myself. But then I can’t live with myself either, so I guess I’ll just have to rent a two-bedroom place.
What can’t you live without? Laughter, hope and curiosity.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Inadvertently affecting someone so much in Edinburgh that they decided not to commit suicide – just because I was nice to them when flyering for my show. He is now a dear friend.
Who is your favourite person? Gonzo. He’s not really a person though is he? He won’t be defined by your boxes.
Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? So hard to choose! If my inner teenager were to win I’d pick Tonight Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins or Iris by Goo Goo Dolls. But I’m currently drawn to Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen – it’s one of the songs I’m listening to on repeat while writing my new show.
It’s beautiful, intelligent, confused, raw and very real. “Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking / Can’t we give ourselves one more chance? / Why can’t we give love that one more chance?”
What are your favourite three articles at Standard Issue? Sarah Millican’s idea for #JoinIn on Christmas Day 2015 was beautiful and touched me deeply. Having felt alone many times in my life and also felt the force of social media for good and for bad that was a brilliant idea and an awesome article.
Deborah Frances-White’s introduction to her podcast with Sofie Hagen was funny and engaging. Lili La Scala’s article about her Creeps on a Train experience was uncomfortably familiar and important to share. It’s hard to choose because Standard Issue is such an incredible platform for strong voices writing about all kinds of REAL things women, no, PEOPLE, go through.
Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? What makes you happy? Answer: when a song comes on the radio that is perfectly in time with the windscreen wipers.
Juliette is in the throes of a run of shows at the Adelaide Fringe until 14 March – tickets are on sale now.
She’ll be starting previews and work-in-progress shows of her new show, WIP, in April and May and will be taking herself to the New Zealand Fringe in early May 2016 as well as putting in a date at the Brighton Fringe on 25 May. Then there are Edfringe previews in London to be announced and a pretty much confirmed August at the Edinburgh Fringe.