In this edition of “Behind the Scenes” we meet Tricia Audette, the wonderful comedian behind the hit shows Back to School (co-produced by Adrian Randle) and Knock Knock Soy Yo, both of which are showing now.
* Tell us a little about yourself. (Background, education, experience…)
My name is Tricia Audette and I am a Canadian comic living in Madrid. In fact, I discovered comedy while here. Growing up I always loved entertaining but I didn’t have the confidence to pursue it as a profession so I chose teaching which is in fact quite similar. Teachers are very much actors, directors, producers…and funny enough, through teaching I gained confidence speaking in front of others. I discovered how much I enjoyed using comedy in the classroom. One thing led to another and I eventually left the classroom to teach on stage. The process was very organic and I feel like it happened to me. I just went with the motions.
* What is your business?
Tringlish: Education and Entertainment. I do what I like to call motivational comedy. I use laughter to bring attention to important topics such as being the person you want to be. I have often felt pressure to fit into a mold and I’m not comfortable living that way. I like to remind people that it’s ok to be different and have big crazy dreams.
* How did the idea for your business come about?
I came to Spain in 2010 as a teacher. I had graduated from the University of Calgary the year before so I was quite new to the profession. The program I had to follow was inquiry based which means that students directed the learning. There were no textbooks or exams, we explored the learning process through writing and lesson delivery. On campus, we taught our peers once or twice a week and the rest of the time I taught at a school where textbooks and worksheets were banned. Students were exposed to a variety of books and encouraged to explore. The final semester I was a Teacher Across Borders in the Dominican Republic where there were also no textbooks and a wealth of challenges that I won’t get into here.
So, upon arriving to Spain I quickly discovered that the education system is very different to what I was accustomed to. I tried to find a way to fit. They say we should accept the things we cannot change but I figured there’s no harm in trying so I decided to switch to entertainment in hopes I could make changes. Education is a luxury and I wanted to remind people cause sometimes it feels like a chore.
* Who is your typical audience?
People who are learning English and want to interact with the language in different ways. I often perform at schools. The shows are interactive so hopefully help students feel more confident in English. If anything, they can see that they understand more than they give themselves credit for. I basically perform anywhere really. Business events or dinner parties – anywhere where laughter is a welcome addition. I like to write personalized monologos too!
* Why should people choose Tringlish: Education and Entertainment?
I hope people choose to include laughter in their daily routine. Could be through any forum – internet, movies, coffee with friends… and if it’s live theatre and entertainment well, then, I am always available to share some good times. Authentic, genuine, deep rooted chuckles.
* What makes you smile at work?
The fact that I get to wake up and work at my own pace is amazing. My work usually doesn’t feel like work. That makes me smile.
* What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy almost everything but especially writing and performing. Nothing feels better than a good monologue that’s getting lots of laughs.
* What do you enjoy least about your work?
Promotions. I often feel like I saturate the internet with ads and selling yourself feels a bit egocentric but I feel like it’s the only option. My shows are so personal to me that I’m not sure someone could put the same feeling into the advertising and pitching the show. I’m not selling a product. I’m selling my thoughts and creativity so I feel I have to sell it myself.
* What are your hopes for the future of your business?
I hope to grow as a producer and get involved in projects in which I maybe don’t wear all the hats. Right now I write, produce, act and promote. I love them all for separate reasons but it would be nice to have a team working under my guidance.
* What has been your biggest achievement personally or professionally?
Finding balance which if I were to be honest, I haven’t yet achieved. Because I am my work it’s hard to disconnect. I also find it challenging to control my creativity. These days I’m trying to get involved in activities that have nothing to do with what I do.
* What challenges have you had to face?
I think probably the same challenges most entrepeneurs face – convincing others to believe in what you are offering. Reminding yourself constantly why you are doing what you are doing and the internal battle of not giving up. Finding ways to build a business with limited funds and being self disciplined.
* What has been your biggest learning curve?
There have been so many learning curves. I am not a professionally trained actor or business person. I’m learning news things almost daily. Over the years I’ve definitely learned a lot about movement on stage and voice projection. In business, learning not to take things personal. Often the doors I knock on don’t open and that’s ok.
* What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting their own business in Spain?
Resilience. Don’t rely on others to believe in you, believing in yourself is enough.
* If you had a chance to start your business again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I think every lesson needed to be learned.
* If you could meet one person from history, who would it be and why?
Oprah because she has seriously defied all odds and is among the most powerful women in the world.
* What sacrifices have you had to make for work?
I don’t have a lot of me time or friends time or dating haha
* Do you have a family? If so, how do you balance work and family?
No family – yet!
* How much are your shows?
Shows range in price from 5 -10€ in theatre, for events depends on the event
* How can people get in touch with you?
Many thanks Tricia for taking part in our interview. Our best wishes for the shows’ success.
KIM Team, November 2017
You can find the previos instalments of “Behind the Scenes” in our blog.