#224 – Lauren Allen
Lauren Allen is a theatre artist originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Since graduating from Grant MacEwan University in 2013, she has worked across Canada and Europe as an actor, producer, burlesque instructor, stage manager, and director. She has settled in Toronto, for the moment. Most recently she has taken courses to become a script supervisor and will soon be seen again in Saskatchewan for Burn Rubber, Dolly at The Lyric Theatre in Swift Current.
Lauren is also a social media marketer, and the creator of Social Media the L.A. Way.
Lauren Allen, Phil Rickaby
Phil Rickaby 00:01
Welcome to Episode 224 of Stageworthy the I’m your host Phil Rickaby. Stageworthy is a podcast about people in Canadian theatre featuring conversations with actors, directors, playwrights and more. In this episode I will be talking to actor Lauren Allen. If you like Stageworthy and you listen on Apple podcasts, I hope that you will leave a five star rating and a comment. Your comments and ratings on Apple podcasts help new people find the show or even better; If you know someone that you think will like the show, tell them about it. Some of my favourite podcasts became my favourites because someone I knew told me about them. And remember, you can find and subscribe to Stageworthy on Apple podcasts, Google music, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts. So if you tell someone about Stageworthy let me know about it: you can find Stageworthy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @Stageworthypod and you can find the website at stageworthypodcast.com and if you want to drop me a line, you can Find me on Twitter and Instagram @philrickaby and My website is philrickaby.com. As I mentioned, my guest is Lauren Allen. Lauren is an actor and social media marketer in Toronto. This summer she toured the Canadian fringe circuit with the show, In Ireland We Rented a Car from Criminals.
Lauren Allen 01:19
In Ireland We Rented a Car from Criminals.
Phil Rickaby 01:40
In Ireland We Rented a Car from Criminals, right?
Lauren Allen 01:43
I wouldn’t expect to remember a title like that.
Phil Rickaby 01:46
And yet…and yet, I feel like maybe that’s a- That’s a title that is memorable enough that maybe I should remember.
Lauren Allen 01:52
I mean, there’s – everyone gets a piece of it. They always get Ireland
Phil Rickaby 01:57
Ireland. Criminals? Yes. Okay.
Lauren Allen 01:59
They usually just put them in the wrong order. Like we rented a car from criminals and Ireland.
Phil Rickaby 02:07
Close. Yeah. Where did that show come from?
Lauren Allen 02:11
It came from the writers real life experience mostly he went to Ireland with his wife and had some misadventures with renting a car. And I think his best friend also went and they also had misadventures with a car, but he is the one who got ripped off.
Phil Rickaby 02:33
Lauren Allen 02:34
Not in the same way that we talked about in the play, but he definitely got ripped off somehow.
Phil Rickaby 02:38
And, and how did you get a lot involved with that? Did you was it just like a
Lauren Allen 02:42
From a posting on Facebook. I was like, I really need a job. Someone please hire me and he went, I’m doing a show. We got the CAFF lottery.
Phil Rickaby 02:51
Lauren Allen 02:52
Come do this. Yeah.
Phil Rickaby 02:54
So where did you go with the show?
Lauren Allen 02:55
We started in Toronto, and then we went to Kingston which was not a wise choice. And then Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria Vancouver. So it was a long tour.
Phil Rickaby 03:08
Yeah. Yeah. Um, years ago. I did a tour with a show. We did Calgary and we had some difficulty in Calgary.
Lauren Allen 03:20
Calgary was great. It was my favourite on the circuit.
Phil Rickaby 03:23
Lauren Allen 03:24
Yeah. And I think they did get feedback a few years ago that the the festival wasn’t great for the artists for whatever reason, and they really took it in and decided to improve. And I saw that reflected in the city as well. They had been receiving feedback that like, the public infrastructure wasn’t good. And then they took that feedback in and they made changes
Phil Rickaby 03:45
That’s good. Because I think, you know, when we were there, the the feedback that we would have given was that it seemed to be a fringe that was for the volunteers at the expense of the artists
Lauren Allen 04:01
Phil Rickaby 04:02
They had all these, like, let’s have fun times for the volunteers and the artists be like we’re trying to make money here.
Lauren Allen 04:10
Yeah, we didn’t have that.
Phil Rickaby 04:11
Lauren Allen 04:12
That was I had a day in Calgary like we just come from Kingston. And in Kingston, we made like no money. It was impossible to get an audience out mostly because Kingston’s fringe is so young.
Phil Rickaby 04:25
Yes. So that is where the dangers of doing a really young Fringe.
Lauren Allen 04:29
Yeah. So we had to tell people what a fringe was.
Phil Rickaby 04:32
Lauren Allen 04:33
And even get them to come to our show. Particularly It was like, oh, Fringe Festival.
Phil Rickaby 04:37
Lauren Allen 04:38
But then we got to Calgary and our first show, I asked what the box office was and they said like 50 people, something like that. And I burst into tears. I was like, Oh my god, I can pay my phone bill.
Phil Rickaby 04:51
Lauren Allen 04:51
And my touring partner Nathan was like, Oh my God, we can eat not at McDonald’s.
Phil Rickaby 04:58
Yeah.these are these are the small joys of a fringe touring artists.
Lauren Allen 05:02
Phil Rickaby 05:03
So after and did Edmonton and then?
Lauren Allen 05:06
Phil Rickaby 05:07
Lauren Allen 05:08
Which is strange because Victoria you miss a week if you’re in Edmonton because they overlap.
Phil Rickaby 05:13
Oh, that’s right.
Lauren Allen 05:13
So so we had like, just kind of came in in the middle of the festival.
Phil Rickaby 05:18
That’s so hard to build momentum they should probably – because right now Montreal and Ottawa sort of overlap and they they don’t – they’ve now started saying if you’re doing if autosave you doing Montreal don’t do us or Montreal will say if you’re doing Ottawa maybe like…
Lauren Allen 05:45
Phil Rickaby 05:46
I’d maybe skip because they know that the overlap is hard and coming in in the middle of a fringe is really hard to
Lauren Allen 05:52
Phil Rickaby 05:53
pick up momentum
Lauren Allen 05:54
And it’s really hard just to connect with the other artists.
Phil Rickaby 05:57
Lauren Allen 05:57
They have established a rhythm. They’ve been there.
Phil Rickaby 05:59
Lauren Allen 06:00
Um, and Victoria, like at least there is a significant amount of people coming from Edmonton. So they have a bunch of mid festival events to kind of promote the late comers. So they do support you as best they can. But it’s not a centralised fringe grounds either. So that makes it harder to
Phil Rickaby 06:17
Lauren Allen 06:17
get involved and promote because you’re just at your venue.
Phil Rickaby 06:20
Lauren Allen 06:22
And I, on the last day of the Victoria fringe, I had to have my appendix out, so I had to cancel the show.
Phil Rickaby 06:29
Lauren Allen 06:30
And yeah, it was not fun.
Phil Rickaby 06:32
Did you meet Shane Adamzak?
Lauren Allen 06:35
Phil Rickaby 06:36
Yeah, he tell you about his?
Lauren Allen 06:37
Yeah. But his we made so many jokes.
Phil Rickaby 06:39
Yes.I’m sure. Yes.
Lauren Allen 06:41
Being appendix-less on tour and how he had his appendix out in Calgary many years ago.
Phil Rickaby 06:47
Yes. I was. That was the fringe I was on when he was like,
Lauren Allen 06:51
Phil Rickaby 06:52
we were all the fringe people were like, because we hear that – ’cause Shane didn’t have a show with the Calgary Fringe who was just sort of like he was just hanging because he was like between fringes. And so all of us were like, are we gonna have to take up a collection for Shane? Like, how do we do that? But he was smart. He had insurance. But yeah, there was a story like that people were like, Oh, yeah, last year, this guy from the US came, he had nothing. He broke his leg. So we all just like pass the hat after our shows.
Lauren Allen 07:20
Phil Rickaby 07:21
Which is like the, the Fringe family.
Lauren Allen 07:24
Phil Rickaby 07:26
So what brought you from Saskatchewan to Toronto?
Lauren Allen 07:31
Well, um, I kinda- I went many different places before I ended up in Toronto. So I grew up in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, and then I went to school in Edmonton because I wanted to train in musical theatre. And Saskatchewan doesn’t have any programmes for that right. Then I went back to Saskatoon, then I lived in France for a while, lived in Paris.
Phil Rickaby 07:51
Lauren Allen 07:51
and then last year in March, I unexpectedly had to come home. Like my visa had expired, and I just want I can’t I can’t live illegally anymore,
Phil Rickaby 08:01
Lauren Allen 08:02
I tried it for two months, and it’s terrifying. And I can’t do it. Yeah. So I came back to Saskatoon with like, no plan. And I didn’t really have a place to live for like eight months last year. And a lot of that was taken up with touring and doing other jobs, but it was still like, I don’t really know where I want to be. But then I decided, you know, fringe tour; great opportunity to see Canada.
Phil Rickaby 08:03
Lauren Allen 08:27
to figure out like, Where do I want to be? And then I got to Toronto, and I was like, Oh, this is it. Here we go.
Phil Rickaby 08:32
What was it about Toronto that that made you think this is it?
Lauren Allen 08:37
I have a huge community here. Actually, most of the people I graduated with in Edmonton moved here.
Phil Rickaby 08:43
Lauren Allen 08:43
Phil Rickaby 08:43
Lauren Allen 08:44
So area, like really close friends. I ended up moving in with them. I’m like, so like, it just felt like everything was falling into place.
Phil Rickaby 08:52
Lauren Allen 08:53
When I was in Vancouver, I met somebody who was like, Oh, I know someone in Toronto who needs someone to work for her so I had a job well before I even moved here. So like, it just consistently gave me those signs of like, everything’s falling into place. And it’s I like big cities. Canada doesn’t really have any big cities, but Toronto is probably the closest.
Phil Rickaby 09:16
Lauren Allen 09:16
Because after living in Paris, you’re like, Oh, we don’t understand how to do a big city.
Phil Rickaby 09:22
Our big cities are not – We haven’t had the time that Paris or London has had to overflow.
Lauren Allen 09:29
Phil Rickaby 09:29
In the ways that they have.
Lauren Allen 09:31
Yeah, we just don’t have the kind of public infrastructure that
Phil Rickaby 09:34
Lauren Allen 09:35
to have a well functioning…
Phil Rickaby 09:36
Lauren Allen 09:37
…Society of many people.
Phil Rickaby 09:38
Yes, that’s very true. Um, so I want to ask a little bit about your, your theatre origin story. So you went to you went to school in Edmonton?
Lauren Allen 09:52
Phil Rickaby 09:52
But before that, what was it that the – Why theatre what what was your gateway? What made you want to do it Like your life?
Lauren Allen 10:01
I was born into a theatre family. So my parents both worked in theatre. My mom took kind of more of an administrative route, after my parents had children and myself, my younger brother, my dad’s always been a professional actor for my lifetime anyway. And so I was around it a lot in the child. And then I did my first like, paying gig when I was 11. And I think after that, I was like, yeah, this
Phil Rickaby 10:33
Lauren Allen 10:34
but I distinctly remember listening to the Les Mis soundtrack in the car all the time and being just obsessed with it. I’m continued to be obsessed with Les Mis.
Phil Rickaby 10:44
Was that your first musical first musical. Yeah, first musical, that you saw or first musical that you heard
Lauren Allen 10:48
first musical that I heard,
Phil Rickaby 10:50
okay,because I know there’s like for me, there’s a difference between like different musical that I heard, which started me realising that you could, there were these shows that were like songs that told stories but with stuff in between. And then when I actually saw one,
Lauren Allen 11:04
yeah, and I do remember seeing Les Mis also as a child, but I’m pretty – I’m not sure what musical would have been my first musical. Also because I was seeing shows from such a young age because my dad was in shows. So he would go I know I saw Peter Pan at the Globe Theatre when I was like, really little. That’s the first theatre memory I have is my dad played Captain Hook and being dragged around on a waggon as a pirate,
Phil Rickaby 11:27
Is it weird seeing your dad as the villain?
Lauren Allen 11:29
Um, not really I remember a couple of times my mom explaining to me, like, this isn’t real. It’s not like it was probably the first show. It might have been Peter Pan that she was like, it’s not real. He’s pretending. And then there was he did the Odyssey somewhere and my mom was like your dad’s gonna be kissing somebody on stage. That’s what this means. Well, those are the two conversations
Phil Rickaby 11:56
It’s good to have those things explained. Yeah. I recently saw the panto the uh the Toronto panto this this this Christmas with a co worker and her four year old.
Lauren Allen 12:06
Phil Rickaby 12:07
And her four year old was like, completely like, this is real. Like Where? Yeah, where did they go, like at intermission, and the show was over and she was like, Where did they go? What happened? These were my friends. You know. So it’s important to have those conversations, especially when you would recognise it’s your dad.
Lauren Allen 12:24
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Phil Rickaby 12:27
So you came to Toronto? Mm hmm. Um, one of the things that I’ve noticed the you do, like social media.
Lauren Allen 12:34
I do, yeah.
Phil Rickaby 12:35
And also crowdfunding.
Lauren Allen 12:37
Oh, yes. Yeah, yeah.
Phil Rickaby 12:39
So how did you get into social media and how do you do you do are you just like do coach actors on how to use their social media or what does that entail for you?
Lauren Allen 12:49
So I have a social media marketing small business called Social the LA way – Social Media the LA way and I got into it because of theatre. Yeah, cuz my first show out of university I had, I had just been hit by a car actually. So I was recovering from injuries and I couldn’t do a whole lot of theatre-y stuff that I wanted to do for a long time. And then the summer after I graduated, so I graduated in April. And then in June, July, I was working on two shows at the same time. And one of them is production assistant, one of them I was a leading role in a touring, French production. So in my capacity as production assistant for this brand new company, they were like, hey, you’re the youngest person in this room. Make us a Facebook page.
Phil Rickaby 13:37
Yeah, I knew that was where that was going.
Lauren Allen 13:40
So I did that. And then and I made them like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and I got really into like the concept of, we were doing a production of Alice in Wonderland outside in parks in Saskatoon. And it was like the first kind of show of its kind and I was like, What if all of our Twitter correspondenc is from the Cheshire Cat. I’m like, how do I do that? So I got really into the storytelling aspects of social media. And then I started helping more people in Saskatoon with it. I work with a production company called on the board staging in Saskatoon still, I’ve been with them for four years, and we do I do all of their social media because the person who runs the company, it’s like, I don’t want to learn that I want to do my job. I don’t need to know about Facebook, I need to know about producing and running a venue and yeah, etc, etc. So now, when I moved to Paris, I started just helping entrepreneurs in general. So I work with a lot of like personal stylists. I’ve worked with quite a bit or translators – people who don’t really understand social media but know that they need to promote themselves, as a business. So I work a lot with individuals but I my skills are adaptable to anything so sure. I would definitely coach actors, I would create things for people. Yeah, the most important thing to me is teaching people what they want to know. So if they want to have more control, I want to be able to teach them how to run their own thing. But if they don’t want to learn it, then I might consider I don’t like running a bunch of pages, because it’s really exhausting.
Phil Rickaby 14:21
It would be exhausting!
Lauren Allen 15:23
because you have to have like, particular tones. You have to know all of the events that you’re promoting and those kinds of things. So it it can be a lot to run. I currently have 10 pages that I’m an administrator of on Facebook. But yeah, it’s I don’t actively engage with I think four of them but it’s, yeah, still a lot to manage.
Phil Rickaby 15:47
For for in general, because I think a lot of people have that same sort of like, I know I need to be on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, but I don’t know what to do with it.
Lauren Allen 15:58
Phil Rickaby 16:00
Yeah. If somebody is looking at their neglected Twitter and Instagram pages, what would be the first thing you would suggest for them to do?
Lauren Allen 16:08
Um, well, I think of social media platforms as languages, or at least dialects of language. So if you feel like you don’t understand a social media platform, but you want to, then you need to learn how to speak that language.
Phil Rickaby 16:23
Lauren Allen 16:24
So there’s maybe trial and error in that there’s maybe just a lot of observing. Like, if you don’t understand Twitter, maybe just scroll Twitter for 30 minutes, and see, like learn. And you can also do other research like googling your questions about platforms. But if something is suffering from pure neglect, I would say just post something, just decide I’m going to post every Tuesday. I’m going to post every other day, whatever, just make, make that commitment and just do it.
Phil Rickaby 16:54
Lauren Allen 16:55
Because consistency is one of the number one things you need to have In order for your profile to become successful.
Phil Rickaby 17:03
Sure. The algorithms need you to post for you to be seen.
Lauren Allen 17:06
Yeah. Or they need you to never post like once every three months, and then that post will be seen by a bunch of people because algorithm tries to trick you into buying ads.
Phil Rickaby 17:15
Of course. Yeah, absolutely. So absolutely. Oh, god damn it. You know it always in in terms of like, promoting things and stuff like that. I’ve become acutely aware of how effective social media ads actually are.
Lauren Allen 17:28
Oh, yeah. And they’re very inexpensive compared to any sort of traditional advertising.
Phil Rickaby 17:33
Lauren Allen 17:33
Buying space in a programme is ludicrously expensive compared to Facebook ads, and you’ll get in front of the same amount of people, if not more.
Phil Rickaby 17:41
And also like, more targeted people. And that’s because – I’ve – ads get me like the algorithm work so I’ll see stuff and I’m like, how did you know?
Lauren Allen 17:54
Phil Rickaby 17:54
and I’m like, I clicked on that. Like I clicked on that I bought stuff because I saw it often enough.
Lauren Allen 18:02
Phil Rickaby 18:03
So it works, you know.
Lauren Allen 18:04
Yeah. Or even just having something put on your radar, like whenever a company becomes your top of mind, which is really important. When you’re thinking of like, like I’m thinking of Noom right now, which is a food programme – diet programme kind of thing that I used for, I think three months, but it’s because I got a tonne of social media advertising about this thing that wasn’t really a diet. It was a lifestyle change. It was a way of thinking it was which it was fine. I stopped using it.
Phil Rickaby 18:36
Lauren Allen 18:37
But you know, it worked.
Phil Rickaby 18:39
Lauren Allen 18:39
And now that’s the first company that I think of when I think about weight loss other than weight watchers. So…
Phil Rickaby 18:46
And Weight Watchers is a brand that’s been around for like, a long time. So of course it has that that kind of recognition. But and Weight Watchers probably doesn’t need to do a lot of Facebook advertising.
Lauren Allen 18:58
No, never because they do Bunch of traditional advertising before Facebook was, yeah, the means of advertising.
Phil Rickaby 19:03
Yeah. It’s amazing how how effective that that stuff is. I think that we don’t give it enough credit in terms of like how it can get under, under somebody’s skin for one of a better way of putting it.
Lauren Allen 19:17
And theatre companies in particular don’t understand how to use their platforms, which is one of the reasons I continue to do social media because hopefully someday a theatre company will want my opinion on their social media profiles. And I’ll be able to tell them, like this is what you want to do. If you want to attract this kind of audience. You need to be in these kind of spaces.
Phil Rickaby 19:36
Yeah. It’s it’s hard because I think that if you look at a lot of them, they don’t understand it because they’re, I’m sorry, but their leadership is old.
Lauren Allen 19:46
Yeah, that’s no, that’s exactly the issue. Or at least their marketing leadership is old.
Phil Rickaby 19:51
Lauren Allen 19:52
Or they’re suffering from like the worst – The worst thing you can do in theatre, which is: we’re doing it this way because we’ve always done it this way.
Phil Rickaby 20:00
Lauren Allen 20:00
A lot of a lot of office environments are like that because it’s easier to train someone in a process than it is to encourage someone to try new things.
Phil Rickaby 20:10
Lauren Allen 20:11
The risk seems different in in that way, but really, like I – so many theatre companies still do mail outs.
Phil Rickaby 20:22
Lauren Allen 20:22
And it’s like you, you should not need to do that you should give your subscribers the option of opting in email only, you know, like the manpower you have to engage to send hundreds of letters at one time.
Phil Rickaby 20:38
Lauren Allen 20:39
Could so easily be saved, but it’s because it’s an old marketing practice that they are like it’s effective in x way. They’re not thinking about the future.
Phil Rickaby 20:48
Yeah, I also look at somebody like in Toronto, the Mirvish productions where like, we do buses and we do newspapers and we do like banners on the lamp posts, which is like sure. The – people are going to see that
Lauren Allen 21:00
Phil Rickaby 21:00
But, you never know. You never know who.
Lauren Allen 21:03
Phil Rickaby 21:04
You never know how effective it is. There’s no way to say this person liked it, or and also, the people who are seeing it, the vast majority are not your audience.
Lauren Allen 21:15
Yeah. I mean, Mirvish has a much larger audience than most people.
Phil Rickaby 21:19
Lauren Allen 21:20
And I will say social media is part of a larger marketing strategy. It’s not ineffective to do other things. That’s just – like a poster is not a marketing strategy, which is a lot of emerging theatre artists, especially and a lot of fringe artists don’t understand. That, posters are not a marketing strategy. Like putting up posters the poster should be, what is it the seventh point of contact for an audience member? It is there to remind them that they already know about this show.
Phil Rickaby 21:50
Lauren Allen 21:51
They need to already know about it for a poster to be effective.
Phil Rickaby 21:54
Lauren Allen 21:55
Or they need to know like at the fringe, they need to know I’m at the fringe. I want to see a show.
Phil Rickaby 22:00
Lauren Allen 22:00
Then they can look at the poster and get an idea of what they want to see.
Phil Rickaby 22:03
Lauren Allen 22:05
But people are – They really misunderstand the connection that they have to their audience through different media.
Phil Rickaby 22:12
Yeah. The other thing – I have my friend Adriana is always complaining about people – She does social media, too. She was always complaining about the people who are like, I have a new show. I’m going to create a new Instagram for the show. Yeah. And it’s like, but that’s not going to reach people. Because that’s a temporary thing.
Lauren Allen 22:29
Phil Rickaby 22:30
it’s new and disposable.
Lauren Allen 22:32
Phil Rickaby 22:33
And it doesn’t build a relationship.
Lauren Allen 22:34
Phil Rickaby 22:35
Lauren Allen 22:35
There are some cases where I would say, especially if you have a really clear personal brand, like definitely separate things. But I always encourage people to make pages for their companies and not for their shows.
Phil Rickaby 22:47
Lauren Allen 22:48
And I’m like, promote all your shows. With this one thing.
Phil Rickaby 22:52
Lauren Allen 22:52
And then over many years, you will accumulate an audience for you like anything that you create. Yeah, you’ll have an awesome audience for that because they like you.
Phil Rickaby 23:01
Lauren Allen 23:02
But if you’re doing a one off for every single show you do, it’s like, then you’re gonna have 20 Facebook pages.
Phil Rickaby 23:10
Yeah. And it’s the difference between Sue Edworthy – I’ve used the word – she’s a media publicist in Toronto, for theatre and I used the term “bums in seats”.
Lauren Allen 23:22
Phil Rickaby 23:23
around her. And she hates that term, because it just sort of like means I just need you here for this show. It doesn’t build a relationship.
Lauren Allen 23:30
Phil Rickaby 23:30
And in theatre, in the arts, we need to build a relationship.
Lauren Allen 23:34
Yeah. I mean, hopefully, right.
Phil Rickaby 23:36
Lauren Allen 23:36
That’s why the subscriber model exists, because people are like, we have a relationship with you and we want to reciprocate. We want to engage, knowing that we’re in this together. Yeah. But the subscriber model is also going away…
Phil Rickaby 23:53
It’s hard to keep because I think number one, there’s few theatres, that can do it – only some of the ones that have been around the longest are able to do it because they have a season. Indy theatre doesn’t have a season, we might do a show.
Lauren Allen 24:07
Phil Rickaby 24:08
And you can’t build a subscribership around that on one show a year.
Lauren Allen 24:13
And people also can’t commit to things that far in advance of anymore. They just can’t say like, Oh, yeah, I will be able to block off this time to see this many shows in a year. People’s lives are a lot less predictable because they don’t have a, like a nine to five that is completely unchanging all the time. Or a nine to five with consistent children’s activities or whatever. Like everything is really in flux for a lot of people. So it’s hard to commit to eight months from now I’m going to see this show.
Phil Rickaby 24:41
But it’s possible because if the show is something that you want to see then people will do it.
Lauren Allen 24:46
Phil Rickaby 24:46
Like Hamilton, for example.
Lauren Allen 24:48
Phil Rickaby 24:48
Make make the time to see that because it’s a thing.
Lauren Allen 24:51
I found out today that I’m going to Hamilton
Phil Rickaby 24:53
Oh, did you?
Lauren Allen 24:54
…and I cried.
Phil Rickaby 24:55
How did you how did you manage that?
Lauren Allen 24:56
My friends bought me a ticket and didn’t tell me.
Phil Rickaby 25:00
You have excellent friends.
Lauren Allen 25:02
Phil Rickaby 25:02
You have amazing friends.
Lauren Allen 25:03
Well, yeah, friend of mine. She stood in line for three hours to get the cheap tickets on, like the first day that they were released. And then she was over today. And we were talking and I said, Oh, guys, Mirvish just promoted to me on Facebook that they’re $10 Hamilton tickets and those lottery, like the effectiveness of Facebook mark. Yes, there. I was like, Oh, we should get on this. And they were like, I already got you a ticket. Yeah, and then they said, Yeah, April 15. Here – we’re going to Hamilton and I cried.
Phil Rickaby 25:32
Well there – I found it interesting that they still call the lottery HAM4HAM. Which is which was like, in the states that works because cuz Hamilton is on the $10 bill, but in Canada, yeah. It doesn’t – But I’ll allow it. Allow it – because brand recognition.
Lauren Allen 25:51
Yeah, it’s definitely a branding thing and not a logic thing
Phil Rickaby 25:54
Lauren Allen 25:55
and those are, those are very separate things.
Phil Rickaby 25:57
They can be very separate things. Do you know, Eldritch Theatre Have you seen their stuff?
Lauren Allen 26:01
Phil Rickaby 26:02
They’re like an interesting case in the city because they’ve they’ve over time built this really loyal audience. Like if they haven’t announced this show in October, and like, shortly after that their audiences like contacting them saying like, what are you doing this? Like? And and a lot of them are not regular theatre goers. Its like this incredible story about like building a relationship with an audience. I think they should – I think they should do like a case study and do like a seminar for people because it’s like,
Lauren Allen 26:35
Phil Rickaby 26:35
Like, it’s a rare thing because everybody else is like, Where’s our audience?
Lauren Allen 26:39
And their audience is like, Where’s your show? Exactly. Like me throw money at you.
Phil Rickaby 26:44
Lauren Allen 26:44
Phil Rickaby 26:45
We have to give them a – you have to give. I think you have to give your audience a reason to see the show, but they also have to have the opportunity to hear about it.
Lauren Allen 26:52
Phil Rickaby 26:54
Lauren Allen 26:55
And I was gonna say, I when I got to Toronto, was so tired from my life?
Phil Rickaby 27:04
Lauren Allen 27:04
So I took a theatre hiatus. I have not been engaging with theatre. I was supposed to see a show that I really wanted to see that I met the artist at the Toronto fringe.
Phil Rickaby 27:15
Lauren Allen 27:16
It was a new workup of of their show. And I was like, I really want to see this and they gave me a free ticket. It was so great. And I just was in my apartment, weeping. Because I was like, overwhelmed. And I was like, how am I gonna get to the theatre on time? I don’t know. My roommate was like, I think you need to call in sick. to the going to the theatre thing today.
Phil Rickaby 27:37
Lauren Allen 27:38
I think you don’t need to do that right now. And I was like [cries]
Phil Rickaby 27:43
but it’s hard to say like- first off – as artists, you don’t want to be that empty seat. Yeah, of course. And also, when somebody gives you a ticket, you feel a little bit almost more obligated than if you bought it.
Lauren Allen 27:55
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Because it’s like, you know what if you lost $15 giving me this.
Phil Rickaby 28:01
Lauren Allen 28:02
Um, but I, and then after that, I was like I, for the rest of the year, I’m not going to try and see theatre, you’re not gonna do any auditions. I’m not gonna – I just took a hiatus because I was so tired from leaving the country that I thought I was going to be living in, and not really having a place to live
Phil Rickaby 28:18
and doing a tour ?
Lauren Allen 28:20
and doing a tour and doing a show in Prague. Like I I was really all over the place like last year was the most difficult year of my life.
Phil Rickaby 28:28
Lauren Allen 28:28
For sure. So at the end of it, I was like, I can’t – I need a theatre break.
Phil Rickaby 28:33
Are you are you done your theatre break? Or do you get still going still has to go on for you?
Lauren Allen 28:37
I’m done. My theatre break.
Phil Rickaby 28:39
Lauren Allen 28:39
And it’s really hitting me this week. Like I have – I did a self tape this morning. I’ll do another one tomorrow. I have another one next week. I like – and bunch of bilingual stuff as well.
Phil Rickaby 28:50
Lauren Allen 28:50
Um, so it’s like double the work of a regular self tape because doing – One of them is different scenes, but one of them is the same scene in two languages So it’s like, all this, all this work and I’m, and I’m trying to schedule rehearsals for a show that I’m in at Alumnae. Just like I – how am I gonna do this? Like, I was thinking, Man, if I had an agent, there’d be no way I could do anything. Like if I had somebody else getting auditions for me, I I would be out of everything. I’d be out of spoons wouldn’t be able to do my regular job.
Phil Rickaby 29:26
No, you’d have to cut back on a bunch of stuff.
Lauren Allen 29:28
Yeah, so So I was like, Okay, I’m ready to be done my break. I really need work. I’m very poor. Let’s see what I can get and and now it’s just overwhelming.
Phil Rickaby 29:39
Have you had the chance to see anything since their hiatus ended? Or is it just been Go go go for you?
Lauren Allen 29:43
It’s just been go go go. Um, I don’t think I have seen – I don’t think I’ve seen anything this year. The last show I think I saw was elf in Saskatoon because my dad was in it, and my best friend friend was in it.
Phil Rickaby 29:55
Whowas your dad playing?
Lauren Allen 29:56
He was the grumpy New York Dad.
Phil Rickaby 30:00
Yeah, that’s awesome.
Lauren Allen 30:01
Yeah. Which is not like him at all.
Phil Rickaby 30:03
No. That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s awesome. Um, a while back, I did a survey about crowdfunding. I have some pet peeves about the way that theatre tends to use crowdfunding.
Lauren Allen 30:18
Phil Rickaby 30:19
Um, one of my pet peeves is like, the way that we use perks.
Lauren Allen 30:23
Phil Rickaby 30:23
Because we tend to look at crowdfunding as, like, here’s a way for you to charitably give to us, you know? And so we were like, I will give you something like, you know, for $5 we will, we will say thank you on on Twitter and for $10 will put you in the programme and for $50 will give you a ticket or whatever, and it’s like those two at the beginning; You should be doing that anyway, like that. That’s not that’s not a perk. Nobody gets anything from that.
Lauren Allen 30:55
Phil Rickaby 30:56
And so I’ve often like looked at – I’m I’m hypercritical And that means like, like I – until I figure out how theatre can actively properly use crowdfunding. I’m very much like, Well, I’m not gonna do it.
Lauren Allen 31:11
Phil Rickaby 31:12
Because I look at other things, because they can give you something.
Lauren Allen 31:16
Phil Rickaby 31:17
Video Games, comic books, novels, graphic novels, board games, video games. All of these things -luggage. Electronic devices, clothing they give you –
Lauren Allen 31:26
Yeah. And early access to all of those things.
Phil Rickaby 31:28
Right. And theatre can’t quite give -.
Lauren Allen 31:33
We don’t have a hard product.
Phil Rickaby 31:35
Lauren Allen 31:35
So we have to create other things that are not theatre. So we have to double create.
Phil Rickaby 31:40
That’s right. And that can be hard to follow up on for people sometimes. But you have to and one of the things that I sort of like you know, I I was trying to get it out of my own personal network, but I didn’t quite get a wide variety but looking at the like my first question was like what kind of crowdfunding campaigns have you backed. And like the second one is live performance. That’s in number two.
Lauren Allen 31:41
Phil Rickaby 31:41
However, if you look at all of the other things, board games were actually number one. But all of the other things sort of outnumber. Yet theatre theatre, because there’s so many more of them. So I think it’s like a false second place thing, because all of the other things that you could possibly support. There’s so many more of those. Yeah, then there are for theatre.
Lauren Allen 31:44
Oh, definitely. I only ever see medical crowdfunding campaigns other than theatre campaigns because of what my network looks like. I only ever see and I, for some reason, at some point, got involved with someone who created a – I don’t know form of garbage disposal, at some point in their crowdfunding journey, and now I get updates about it all the time. And I’m like, I guess I know about this weird trash bag now. But that’s that’s the only thing I see I’ve never – I’ve never just happened across like video games or board games. I’ve looked at them as research, but they but they don’t come up in advertising.
Phil Rickaby 32:39
Sure. They all 100% find me. Electronic, board games, video games. They all find me.
Lauren Allen 33:18
Good for them
Phil Rickaby 33:18
…the algorithms. But the interesting thing is, and I think that theatre sometimes we forget this. Like, I don’t back one of those because I think it’s a great idea. I back because I want it.
Lauren Allen 33:32
Phil Rickaby 33:33
And minimum, I will give $50.
Lauren Allen 33:37
Phil Rickaby 33:39
And happily get whatever that thing is, if I can. So here we are, like, we’re giving thanks. We’re thanking you for perks and what we really what people really want is a thing.
Lauren Allen 33:52
Oh, yeah, they definitely want that thing.
Phil Rickaby 33:53
Yeah. It’s a matter how do we give them a thing?
Lauren Allen 33:56
I think the $5 Thank you option is mostly for people who are really broke? Want to help?
Phil Rickaby 34:01
Lauren Allen 34:02
Like that’s, that’s for your friends? Yeah, it’s not for the people outside of your circle. For sure.
Phil Rickaby 34:09
But it is sort of like it’s sort of I sometimes wonder about how that makes us look to people who are thinking about backing things who maybe or not like Absolutely this is this is –
Lauren Allen 34:21
It’s like you undervalue yourself.
Phil Rickaby 34:22
These are small potatoes. Yeah.
Lauren Allen 34:23
Yeah, I think it It depends on the project and the campaign and like there’s so many factors that go into it like what can you offer? But you definitely have to offer something you have to give people something that’s like an experience or like there was a crowdfunding campaign that I worked on recently. were one of the perks was you get to go on a hike with the crew and cast of this-
Phil Rickaby 34:48
Lauren Allen 34:50
– of this YouTube web series. You go on a hike in BC with them. And I was like, see, that’s cool because it’s an experience.
Phil Rickaby 34:59
Lauren Allen 35:00
I think we initially had like a drive through Vancouver with this actor who drives really recklessly from our show. And then we were like…liability
Phil Rickaby 35:10
Yeah, that sounds like there’s some liability there.
Lauren Allen 35:12
Yeah. But so yeah, trying to find something that you can give someone and in when you’re in performance, yeah, it’s really hard because you don’t have a physical product. And this is something in Saskatchewan that we struggle with a lot because one of our funding bodies called Creative Saskatchewan is supposed to fund all arts practices. However, their focuses on like marketing and generating profit. And theatre does not generate profit.
Phil Rickaby 35:43
Lauren Allen 35:44
We also don’t have a product to sell
Phil Rickaby 35:47
Lauren Allen 35:47
other than the show. So they asked for information that are data that we can’t possibly have, right? They want they want to invest in like Promoting a book, like if you’re going on a book tour, or Yeah, or a CD launch, or you know, those kinds of things. And it’s like, well, in theatre, we have our performance.
Phil Rickaby 36:12
Lauren Allen 36:12
And like, that’s what we do.
Phil Rickaby 36:15
Lauren Allen 36:16
So those reconciling those two worlds of like the marketing, and live performance, the nature of it. It’s really difficult.
Phil Rickaby 36:25
Yeah. It’s not I mean, the problem is that I think the the easy way to do the crowdfunding is to do those, like, we’ll give you the thank you and the Thank you, and maybe a ticket and like a poster, We’ll sign a postertickets, you know, that sort of thing. These are simple things that we can do. But we could also be a lot more creative. This is I think, timing. Because we know that shows coming up. We shouldn’t be doing this when we’re performing.
Lauren Allen 36:49
Yeah. The other problem with the nature of theatre is that all theatre artists have to be marketers. Yes. And it’s like, you know, that’s not Actually our job like I was thinking today about, you know, the self tape. I did it. I had to rattle it off because I have so many other things going on. Like, I just would like to really sit with this monologue.
Phil Rickaby 37:13
Lauren Allen 37:13
Like it’s really good.
Phil Rickaby 37:15
Lauren Allen 37:15
I want to get into it and go, Oh, yeah, what what am i experiencing in this moment? How do I communicate this to my audience that this is the struggle I’m having? Yeah, I want to sit there and have all of the time to dig into all that meat. And I don’t because I have to work in a coffee shop to pay my bills. And I have to audition for six other things. I’m gonna have to figure out my schedule to be in a show.
Phil Rickaby 37:39
Lauren Allen 37:40
And like, I can’t give up any work time because I’m so broke. Yeah, but I want to be in shows that do not pay me. Yes. So it’s like I there’s no actual space. For us to just be theatre artists. We often have to be producers and marketers and whatever else.
Phil Rickaby 38:00
We do – I think a lot of us the marketing is is is intimidating to a lot of people. I know every year when when the fringe comes around, there’s a lot of people running around going like “I don’t know what to do”.
Lauren Allen 38:14
Yes, yeah. I was really impressed with my touring partner this year for the fringe because at one point when we were in Kingston, he was like, I got – we got to do something, because our ticket sales are terrible. Yeah. So he just like walked into the radio station, and was like, Hey, I’m doing a show. Can I talk to someone about it? And they went, yeah, we’ll put you on air right now. Ready to go in 30 seconds. And he did like a beautiful –
Phil Rickaby 38:39
Lauren Allen 38:39
– Little I think it was two and a half minutes at the most.
Phil Rickaby 38:42
Lauren Allen 38:43
But like, he just went out there. And he did it. And a lot of people would have been afraid to do that.
Phil Rickaby 38:48
Oh, sure. Absolutely. No, because I hear that I’m like, well, that’s fucking ballsy.
Lauren Allen 38:52
Phil Rickaby 38:52
That takes a lot of that’s that takes something
Lauren Allen 38:54
Yeah, but also the pressure of having no money. We literally made $250 each, for two weeks of work that’s so so we were going “Ah, haha. How are we gonna eat on this entire tour?” We still have like, two and a half months of
Phil Rickaby 39:10
Yes, yeah. Yeah. Um, but yeah, the whole marketing thing is is – Theatre School never prepared any of us for that
Lauren Allen 39:19
Theatre School prepares us for nothing. Theatre School is a trauma centre. And then you leave.
Phil Rickaby 39:25
Often, yes. Yes, I often I think I’ve often thought I mean, yes, it is trauma centre because suddenly we’re like, sometimes we’re traumatised, and sometimes we’re learning things that were not prepared to learn and all this stuff but also for the longest time theatre, most theatre schools were not addressing the fact that when you leave here, you are probably going to have to self produce.
Lauren Allen 39:46
Phil Rickaby 39:48
And so maybe we should give you some tools to do that. Some of them are now but like –
Lauren Allen 39:55
Yeah, there’s a lot of changes. I will I do want to clarify them like I had a good experience with my friends. I was also traumatised by it. But I had a good experience. Because I came in at a time of transformation and change that prepared me for the world of we don’t really know what we’re doing.
Phil Rickaby 40:00
Yeah. Yes. Yes.
Lauren Allen 40:17
So that was good. Yeah. And I made a tonne of great friends and it was great for all those other things. But yeah, theatre school doesn’t prepare you for what actually happens in the world. Now. It prepares you for maybe the ideal universe where you get to be an actor.
Phil Rickaby 40:32
Lauren Allen 40:33
Phil Rickaby 40:35
Yeah, when I when I was in theatre school, they were like, it was often like, Well, you know, if you fail, you could always do a show at the fringe. This was in the early early 90s. But like, fringe was not a thing. And the idea of people producing for themselves was not something that was a big like, common. Yeah. So yeah,
Lauren Allen 40:56
But people have to define their own success.
Phil Rickaby 40:58
Lauren Allen 40:59
So if you decide that fringe is not successful for you. Okay, so what is success for you? You go pursue that have a great time.
Phil Rickaby 41:08
Lauren Allen 41:08
Other people like, I can’t imagine spending my whole year touring. I can’t imagine that being my life. Like, I think I would explode. And I really experienced this summer like a disconnect –
Phil Rickaby 41:20
Lauren Allen 41:21
– from a lot of things in the fringe circuit. I was like, This is not the kind of work I want to be doing. I would not do a fringe tour again, unless I was promoting my own work that I like felt really strongly about. Because when you get to city number five, you’re like, how many more ways can I tell people to come to this show that I didn’t write?
Phil Rickaby 41:42
That’s the thing. That’s one of the things is like, the then the, the way that you feel about a show you created is so much different than a show that you were hired to do.
Lauren Allen 41:52
Phil Rickaby 41:53
And although you can really appreciate the show that you were hired to do. You were never going to be quite as invested in it. And so it’s hard. too. In city number five when it’s hustle. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about that.
Lauren Allen 42:06
Yeah, cuz you’re like, I just I don’t I don’t have any more arguments for this because I’m not. I don’t have that fire underneath me of like, I created this thing and everyone needs to see it.
Phil Rickaby 42:16
Lauren Allen 42:18
And and I always tell people when they’re embarking on producing, I’m like, no one will ever care about this as much as you do.
Phil Rickaby 42:24
Lauren Allen 42:24
Literally, no one doesn’t matter if they’re your partner or your parents or your best friend, like they love you. And they support you. They will never be able to care about your thing as much as you did.
Phil Rickaby 42:35
Lauren Allen 42:36
So so like that. That would be the only circumstance under which I would tour again, because then I would have the fire.
Phil Rickaby 42:42
Lauren Allen 42:44
And I wouldn’t be angry all the time, though.
Phil Rickaby 42:46
You would probably still be quite exhausted by city number five.
Lauren Allen 42:49
Yes. Yeah. It’s not that it wouldn’t be tiring. It’s just I would, I would want to go out and promote it.
Phil Rickaby 42:57
Yeah, I do find because you know, I’ve done a couple tours, but you know, touring my solo show to a couple of cities, just doing it in Toronto. By the time Fringe ends, I’m exhausted.
Lauren Allen 43:08
Phil Rickaby 43:08
And then you have to pick yourself up and try to get to the next city and have that same energy that you started the first Fringe with. And you -it’s harder and harder to do that as you go along.
Lauren Allen 43:19
Yeah, it was I it was an interesting experience to have the last city be immediately post surgery for me because we had – so we cancelled our last show in Victoria and our first show in Vancouver, we cancelled on the use that time to completely restage the show, so that I wouldn’t have to carry anything for too long. Because initially I was moving like all the set pieces, which were not enormous, but it was still like carrying two chairs. We made it so that I only ever carried one chair at any given time. And that allowed the show to have a new life for I think both of us and in the way we’re promoting it to like I didn’t want to promote that I had just had surgery. Cuz I didn’t – I didn’t want people to know like she’s gonna fall over and die. Sometimes we would say afterwards like, we just had surgery. it would really help us if you got people to come out.
Phil Rickaby 44:12
Oh, yes. Yeah.
Lauren Allen 44:14
And we actually did super well in Vancouver.
Phil Rickaby 44:16
Lauren Allen 44:16
Um, but it was interesting how that like because we were dealing with such a crappy thing.
Phil Rickaby 44:24
Lauren Allen 44:25
It made the show better or at least I made it different.
Phil Rickaby 44:28
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That’s Uh, I don’t know you and Shane both with you
Lauren Allen 44:36
our apendixes –
Phil Rickaby 44:37
your apendixes – Yeah, that’s like, I can’t I know that because after he had his out, he was still like recovering he had to have at somebody else cover for him
Lauren Allen 44:48
He had the old surgery. I had the new surgery. So his surgery involved a lot more actually cutting him.
Phil Rickaby 44:54
Lauren Allen 44:55
Yeah. Whereas my surgery was laparoscopic, which they just they make three small incisions. They put it camera and I’m they like suck the appendix out. So my scars are very small. Yeah, I had like, like two weeks of recovery.
Phil Rickaby 45:09
Lauren Allen 45:10
It really wasn’t that long. I the the struggle with doing the fringe was that I couldn’t risk bursting any stitches.
Phil Rickaby 45:17
Lauren Allen 45:18
That was that was the only risk factor. Like otherwise I was able to eat normally I could I got tired really quickly, but I could do the show. It’s just afterwards I’d be like, Nathan, you have to clean up the stage. I can’t do it. But…
Phil Rickaby 45:33
But they cut Shane open?
Lauren Allen 45:35
Yeah, she probably would have had like six weeks of recovery.
Phil Rickaby 45:38
Yeah, well, in an ideal world, he did have somebody else like do his tech.
Lauren Allen 45:45
Yeah, like I also had someone do my tech.
Phil Rickaby 45:48
that’s very smart. What’s the show you’re doing at alumni by the way?
Lauren Allen 45:53
It’s part of the New Ideas Festival. Oh, it’s called alpha Betty. Yeah, I got onto it. Because someone that I met during Fringe was like come audition for this thing, come audition for my show and I’m not in his show. But I am excited to just do something after not having done things for a while even though it’s with like a community theatre I think it’d be a good way to meet people who are emerging writers and other actors who are maybe new to Toronto.
Phil Rickaby 46:22
New Ideas is super good for that because it is like new ish writers and sometimes new directors and and it’s a great way to get in on on on a new show.
Lauren Allen 46:35
Yeah. Yeah. So I’m, I’m excited to do it. I’m we – like I confirmed I think last week that I’m doing it we have our first meeting of everybody on Monday. And I’m just caught up in your schedule stress right now. That’s been all the emails of like, when can we meet and no one can meet. There’s five of us in the show. And no one can meet at the same time.
Phil Rickaby 46:57
It’s so hard. I mean, I’ve been in three person shows where nobody can get together. So…
Lauren Allen 47:02
I’ve made a schedule for – I stage managed Les Belles-soeurs as a community production in Saskatoon. So that’s 15 actors and, and community.
Phil Rickaby 47:12
Lauren Allen 47:13
So so everyone has a different job. Like it was a nightmare
Phil Rickaby 47:18
I can imagine.
Lauren Allen 47:19
So I know I know there are things that can be done. Yeah. It’s like, you know what, we just won’t have this person on this day. That’s fine. They’ll be in next week.
Phil Rickaby 47:27
Lauren Allen 47:28
But yeah, that’s where I’m at with that show right now, its just scheduling.
Phil Rickaby 47:32
What’s the – I mean, in in all of your travels, and you came to Toronto, you wanted to be in the big city and what’s what’s the thing that you have noticed that is most unique to the Toronto theatre scene?
Lauren Allen 47:48
Oh, well, because I’ve been on hiatus I’m not sure I know how to respond to that. I think. I find it astounding that big theatres don’t accept email submissions. I’m like, how very dare you, like it’s an accessibility issue?
Phil Rickaby 48:06
Lauren Allen 48:06
I hate that.
Phil Rickaby 48:07
Lauren Allen 48:08
Like, I think that’s a really up your ass way to be to be honest.
Phil Rickaby 48:13
Lauren Allen 48:14
And there’s a real lack of communication, because there’s an overwhelm of communication. Like people will get, I don’t know, 700 submissions for things. And so as an actor who’s trying to like get out there and build relationships, you hear nothing from anybody, unless they really want to see you for whatever reason.
Phil Rickaby 48:32
Lauren Allen 48:33
And they probably won’t really want to see you unless they have some sort of connection to you or your work.
Phil Rickaby 48:38
And how do you get that connection when you can’t see them? Yeah, absolutely.
Lauren Allen 48:41
Yeah. So I find I find that really odd, just the lack of communication, but I think but it’s because everyone’s overwhelmed like there’s there’s so much opportunity in the city but there’s also so much competition.
Phil Rickaby 48:54
And you’re just sort of like at the beginning of like the year like off your hiatus, getting like a slight sense of of how much is going into things. So I wonder how how, how crazy it is for other people?
Lauren Allen 49:08
Yeah, I do not know. I’m also looking for opportunities across the country. Because I’m happy to go to other cities and have those experiences. So I really see how in other communities, people will take the time to actually talk to you, because they’re not dealing with 700 submissions. They’re dealing with maybe 30. Yeah, for a cast of 10 or whatever.
Phil Rickaby 49:32
So because you’ve done so much travelling, you find that it’s easier for you to pick up and go somewhere else.
Lauren Allen 49:38
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. People often comment on like, my packing ability. Just because I have lived out of a backpack and a small duffel bag.
Phil Rickaby 49:47
Lauren Allen 49:47
for months at a time. I’m just like, Yeah, I don’t need stuff. That was also a necessity living in Paris. My first apartment was 12 metres square, which is like about the size of this room.
Phil Rickaby 49:58
Lauren Allen 49:58
Was my whole apartment.
Phil Rickaby 49:59
Your whole apartment.
Lauren Allen 50:00
My toilet was in a corner and separated from the rest of the room by a curtain immediately next to the sink that you could barely fit two hands in. Like you could not wash your face in the sink it was so small and then the shower was next to the kitchen sink on the other side and then the front door.
Phil Rickaby 50:18
Lauren Allen 50:18
Like that. The- it’s it’s called a chambre de bonne which is like maids chamber so that’s like the shut away room kind of thing so living in spaces like that you can have stuff like that there’s you don’t you don’t get to have things sorry. There’s no room.
Phil Rickaby 50:39
Was even I guess like in a room like that. Is there even room to unpack or do you just have to like live out of your duffel bag?
Lauren Allen 50:45
I unpacked. Yeah, I unpacked because there was a wardrobe.
Phil Rickaby 50:51
Lauren Allen 50:52
Like a cloth wardrobe in that room. And they also had I rented it furnished and they had installed pretty good cabinets in the walls, so there was space to put things on the walls nice, which is not always true. But when I was living the first month I was there I was living with my boyfriend at the time. And his apartment was 11 metres square, but his bed was on top of his bathroom. So it felt like there was more space. But just having my two suitcases full of the entirety of my possessions, two suitcases in his apartment made the apartment so small, it became impossible to do anything.
Phil Rickaby 51:29
Lauren Allen 51:30
So first month of our relationship, there were a lot of like arguments about first month of our relationship while I lived there. And yes, there were lots of arguments about like, the space.
Phil Rickaby 51:40
Lauren Allen 51:40
I’m trying to find a new apartment, but I need to have a bank account because France is – the bureaucracy there is ridiculous. They’ve had a long time to work on their bureaucracy. So much worse than all the other European countries like France has a reputation for their accuracy. Like you have to have a bank account to get an apartment, but you have to have an address to get a bank account. So someone has to give you their address to use to get your bank account so that you can get an apartment. It was a whole…
Phil Rickaby 52:12
Lauren Allen 52:13
And when I transferred my first rent payment, I wire transferred it from my Canadian bank account, because they allowed me to do that at this agency that I rented from. But they took $8 and 50 cents of the transaction fee. Instead of adding that to what I was sending, they took it out of what I was spending, which I didn’t anticipate them doing. I thought it would be added on. So then my rent was like five euros short. They wouldn’t give me the keys. They did not let me move in until I paid the difference. I was like I clearly this is just an administrative thing. I can get
Phil Rickaby 52:49
It’s a simple matter…
Lauren Allen 52:51
Snd there and they were like well, we need you to write us a check and I was like I do not have a bank account. I cannot so I had to get my boyfriend to write a check. For this very small amount of money, like so that’s, you know, there’s no, there’s not a real human component there like this is the process. You must do it. And you’re like, logically, we could work this out very easily without the process. And they’re like, No, no, no the process.
Phil Rickaby 53:18
Wow. Wow. Yeah. But yeah, so you’re like, you could get up and go if you if you if you needed to.
Lauren Allen 53:28
I wouldn’t want to necessarily. I like that my goal for this year is to stay in my apartment for a year.
Phil Rickaby 53:36
Lauren Allen 53:37
I have never lived anywhere longer than a year since I moved out of my parents house. Even if I’m in the same city, I’m always moving apartments. And I’m like, I would like
Phil Rickaby 53:45
That’s a tough way to live. I’ve done that. And that’s not – that’s exhausting.
Lauren Allen 53:48
Yeah. And it wasn’t my plan. Like every time I moved into a new place, I was like, I’m gonna stay here and that’s the circumstance would happen. Like breakups or getting together with someone or what – you know, all those reasons to move: you living with a crazy person so there’s been a lot of moving about in my life, I’m like, what if I could stay somewhere for three years? or five years? Like what what would that be like? Because I look at my my friends and my partner and and I’m just like you You guys have like things in your house and like you have comforts that I have forgotten existed.
Phil Rickaby 54:32
Those are comforts that come from not having to pack everything up every year.
Lauren Allen 54:35
Yeah, cuz it cuz it’s like you know if I’m going to get a really nice like loofa or something. I’m not gonna pack that if I have to pack urgently and move urgently, you know, because cuz I’m like, whatever I can just buy another one. But then I end up just not having one.
Phil Rickaby 54:49
Lauren Allen 54:50
I don’t have like nice moisturiser cuz it’s hard to take liquids on a plane.
Phil Rickaby 54:55
Lauren Allen 54:57
So yeah, I have like a list of things that’s… Just like quality of life, things like a jewellery stand, because currently all my jewellery is in bags. And like they’re cute bags, but everything gets tangled. It’s not very practical. And I’m like, What if I have a stand that I could hang necklaces on, and they wouldn’t get tangled like that the thought of that simple thing-
Phil Rickaby 55:21
simple comforts, simple comforts.
Lauren Allen 55:23
hasn’t occurred to me for so long. I haven’t had a place to do that. So it’s Yeah, so I’m really hoping that also the apartment I live in is rent controlled. So I would love to live there forever.
Phil Rickaby 55:34
Lauren Allen 55:35
Original hardwood flooring? Yes please.
Phil Rickaby 55:37
Just as a as a person who lives in Toronto: Yes!
Lauren Allen 55:42
Phil Rickaby 55:43
Because otherwise it’s ridiculous.
Lauren Allen 55:45
No, I love my apartment. I love it. I would be happy to be there forever. Like, I have two roommates. They’re both excellent. I love them. Like I have everything I could want in this apartment. so I’m Gonna be there –
Phil Rickaby 55:58
Well then, like everybody else’s like you’re gonna be there forever. That’s the thing. Everybody I know in Toronto is like I have an apartment. I’m never leaving.
Lauren Allen 56:07
Yeah, nope. Why would you?
Phil Rickaby 56:10
You’d be foolish to.
Lauren Allen 56:11
Phil Rickaby 56:13
Thank you so much. It’s been a good conversation.
Lauren Allen 56:15
Yeah, thanks for having me.
Phil Rickaby 56:39
This has been a homebody productions production.