“Create something unusual and do things differently. Do something no-one else is doing.”
Julia Streets is the Founder and Director of ‘Streets Consulting’, a business development, marketing and communications agency. She is also an experienced stand-up comedienne and compere specialising in writing and performing her observations drawn from more than 20 years earning her pinstripes in corporate and City life.
Julia has performed at The Edinburgh Fringe, has sold out at the Henley-on-Thames Fringe festival and at various City and corporate events. She has been featured on BBC Radio 4 ‘Today Programme’ and a wide range of print media. Julia sits on the Board of the charity, Children in Crisis.
Learn more on her website.
You’ve previously worked in a very male dominated arena, so I am interested to see what your take on now working in another male dominated arena is! Do you see similarities in the two, and does a women working in them need to modify her behaviour in any way?
I’m fascinated by both business and comedy and my mashed life allows me to explore both the business of comedy and the comedy of business. (I should note that no clients are harmed in the making of my show).
Over the years, I’ve seen many people – women and men alike – become distracted by politics, gossip and conspiratorial speculation. I have taken a straightforward approach. If you focus on doing the best job you possibly can, are keen, listen, learn and bring a positive attitude, I believe that you will always do well.
It is exactly the same with stand-up comedy. Ultimately I will be judged by my material and my delivery. If audiences find my musings amusing, then I’ve done a good job. If they don’t, I have no-one else to blame, I have to do better. One thing is for sure, I learn something from every gig and always meet fascinating people.
Do you feel being a woman has hindered your career in any way?
Not really. On occasion it can be challenging to be heard in a room of alpha males, so I adopt a different style. Experience has taught me that a noisy times, quieter, considered opinions can be highly effective.
What advice would you have for other women starting out?
Be present, presentable and have presence.
Do you feel that there is a glass ceiling?
I haven’t experienced it personally, but know others who say they have.
Has the situation changed in the last 10 years for the better or got worse?
We have certainly made progress in terms of flexible working. I think further attention should be focused on the availability of flexible and affordable childcare. There is so much untapped expertise and talent which never sees the light of day because childcare is expensive.
What do you think is the best way to get more work by women into the theatre/all areas?
I am not really qualified to comment, other than I am a huge believer in the power of obliquity. Rather than follow the herd, create something unusual and do things differently. Do something no-one else is doing. Unlike most comics who are desperate to give up the day job and get out of the office environment, I thrive on it and my material appeals to anyone who shares a printer.
What made you want to work in entertainment in the first place?
Over the years, too many people to ignore have suggested I should have a crack at stand up. In 2006, I decided that if didn’t try I would always regret it so I wrote, produced and performed a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Too and haven’t stopped since.
What are your next plans?
My book came out in November which was very exciting. In my show, I include a section about ‘bullshit bingo’, my frustration with irritating corporate language. I’ve always said you should never trust anyone who says ‘my door is always open’, it’s a bit like people who say, ‘let’s touch base’, well you’re not touching mine. The book is called ‘The lingua franca of the corporate banker’, an exploration and explanation of the idiomsyncrasies of corporate life. It includes a glossary of more than 500 expressions – once I started, I just couldn’t stop!
Watch our interview with Julia.