Today we speak to Mia Johnson who is bringing their show ‘Pink Lemonade‘ to the Fringe this year – a solo piece which explores ‘
femxle masculinity, racial fetishism, sexuality and gender identity’. Here Mia talks about their aspirations for Fringe, and the key messages they hope the show will convey.

Can you introduce yourself and your show?
My name is Mia Johnson, I use they/them pronouns and my show is called Pink Lemonade.

What is the top reason people should see the show? 

I think if you want to be entertained. My show definitely explores some problematic stuff, and that’s important to me, but there’s also a lot of humour and a little sexiness to the show as well – it’s a vibe. 

What does a ‘successful Fringe run’ mean to you? 

I think bums on seats. I’d like people who don’t look like me or identify as queer to see the work, but I also wrote the show because I never saw myself on stage and it’s important that other queer, and more importantly queer people of colour, see themselves in that framework. The story itself is very universal so I hope that most people can connect with it in some way.

What 3 top tips have you got for Edinburgh Fringe first timers? 
I’m a first timer myself so I’m trying to figure all that out, but I think try to enjoy the experience, be proud of what you’ve achieved and take it easy. Edinburgh is a great platform and you want to make the most of that.

This show forms part of HighTide and Assembly’s #Disruptionfest. Could you briefly give the background to that and how the shows were chosen for the programme?
Disruption to me means calling attention to something, making people aware. I think all the shows that are part of ‘Disruption’ are trying to do that in some way through their work. I’m represented and produced by The Queer House and we applied with this idea of having a double bill. HighTide and Assembly really embraced this concept and we were chosen.

What key message do you hope comes across to your audiences?
I think honestly, as a society we need to look at how we view marginalised people – we need to unlearn and relearn a lot of what we think we know. I’m exploring topics of sexuality, gender and race in this story and how narrow mindedness and stereotypes can impact the way we see ourselves and the way we navigate the world.

What is behind your decision to call your show ‘Pink Lemonade’?

Pink has always been a colour I really liked, it’s bold and vibrant, connected to queerness in a lot of ways but felt very femme to me and I guess I wanted to explore my masculinity through that colour aesthetically. Lemonade, simply because where I’m from in Nottingham kids at school used to called lesbians ‘lemons’, not many people have ever heard of that but there it is.

What kind of misconceptions do you think people have of masculine identifying women?

I started writing Pink Lemonade over a year ago and at the time I was still identifying as a woman. Since then that’s changed, and I now identify as trans. What I’ve realised, and what I’m still working through, is that masculinity as a concept needs to be reframed. We need to re-imagine what masculinity is and think about who’s being able to own that masculinity without being policed or experiencing violence in any form. What I will say however is that masc-presenting women aren’t all dominant man haters; don’t assume they want to be a man and aren’t able to access their emotions, regardless of presentation these are still women and people should respect that.

How are you promoting your show in the run up to the Fringe? (Feel free to mention social media accounts and preview shows here)

Follow @thequeerhouseldn and @MiaAJohnson_ for updates on twitter and @miaonnamission for Instagram updates.

Lastly do you want to tell us where and when we can see the show? 

The show will be at 3.45pm at Assembly Roxy. I share the slot with Teddy Lamb’s Since U Been Gone and perform alternate dates from July 31st – 25th August. 

Pink Lemonade will be performed at the Assembly Roxy (Downstairs/ Venue 139) at 15:45 on August 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, and 25th. Tickets available from the Fringe Box Office.

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