With a string of glittering shows that bring together the best of burlesque and modern cabaret behind her, Julie-Ann Laidlaw of Blond Ambition Events is a one-woman tour de force.
Julie-Ann scours the country for the best of the best, ensuring a Blond Ambition event contains zero filler and maximum enjoyment.
With her energy, passion and glamour, she is the Face of UK cabaret’s A-Team, and her shows enjoyed massive success at the Fringe last year, attracting a stellar line of talent eager to fill guest slots on the bill.
This year, Julie-Ann and Blond Ambition are back with a vengeance, bringing two shows to the new-to-the-Fringe venue of the Ghillie Dhu, once again featuring a sequin-studded array of talent, comedy and things you just have to see for yourself…
Julie-Ann took some time out from chomping on her Cuban and told us a bit more…
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I come from a dance and burlesque background and I have always had the desire to bring something unique and entertaining to the Scottish and British cabaret scene.
A couple of years ago I formed Blond Ambition Events, its an extremely demanding job but very fulfilling and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
Tell us about the shows you’re bringing to the show this year
The past twelve months have been something of a whirlwind.
Last summer I produced my first ever shows on the Fringe and now I find myself hosting a dedicated cabaret venue for The Pleasance at The Ghillie Dhu.
With Me! Me! Me! I wanted to bring together my three favourite musical comedians and give them a platform to demonstrate their solo work.
With Vive le Cabaret the aim is simple.. to produce the best variety show on the Fringe in 2010. Each night is different so come back again, and again.
Describe – if such a thing exists – your average Fringe day…
If you asked 100 different people about their average day on the Fringe you’d get 100 different answers, so I don’t think such a thing exists.
My day will start around 10am and finish at 5am, maybe i’ll bring a bed with me to the Ghillie Dhu? (note to anyone reading this, if you see me during Aug a double espresso would be most welcome!)
The beauty of the Fringe is that it is so diverse, exciting and unpredictable, but that doesn’t stop me looking forward to September just a little bit…when I get a couple of days off before starting preparations for next year.
Are you going to have time to catch any shows yourself?
I wish I had the time, there are so many wonderful shows on, too many to mention.
I am very lucky that a lot of performers I would love to see are doing spots in Vive Le Cabaret, so at least I can get a taste of their show.
Of course, running a venue has its own perks. I’m thrilled to be playing host to Frances Rufelle, Peter Straker, Merill Grant and Denise Black.
Last year’s High Tease and Desmporphia shows were hugely successful. What do you think made them so?
It was the team, without a shadow of doubt, and I’m excited to be working so closely with most of them again this year. All professional, super talented and a joy to work with.
We were a little family last year and I missed them terribly when it ended.
How do you feel about so many cabaret acts appearing this year; and do you feel responsible for revitalising the scene?
I think its fantastic that there is such a cabaret boom this year. With two new dedicated cabaret venues – Assembly in Princes Street Gardens & The Pleasance at The Ghillie Dhu – I think we’ll complement each other nicely.
Do I feel responsible for the scene? Haha! no. I just do my thing.
When you’re not bringing your shows to Edinburgh, what else do you and Blond Ambition focus on?
The Fringe is like the beginning of the year for me and the people I work with.
Following last August we took shows to Amsterdam, Berlin, London and Brighton. This summer we’ve got people from Melbourne, Adelaide, Dublin and New York coming to see our new work.
That combined with music festivals and dance festivals around the UK, and our touring dance and comedy show The Mating Ritual which had its Edinburgh premiere last week. There’s never a dull moment.
What do you love most about the Fringe, and Edinburgh in general?
I love the fact that so many people from all around the world have a chance to come and experience the city that I call home. Edinburgh really comes to life during the fringe, its a magical time.
I could live without the bagpipes playing on every street corner though!
What do you have planned next?
The Fringe will always throw a bigger, better, more exciting opportunity your way, so ask me that question in September! but just let me get some sleep first. xx
Tickets can be ordered online here: