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Finding my voice, or how to adapt a show for the English-speaking tourist market

The Triggering Factor: the Olympic Games are coming to Paris!

It's a rare event. Some dread it, others look forward to it. Some choose to leave the city to escape the chaos, while others believe there are opportunities to be seized. 

I fall squarely into the second category: the Olympics will attract a large number of tourists, potentially English-speaking, who will no doubt be happy to come and see a show in English after a day spent watching the games. The opportunity is all the greater in that there are very few shows in English in Paris, so the market is far from saturated.

I’m an American expat in Paris. Adapting my show in English for this public not only seems obvious, but like a thrilling challenge.

The Show in French

This show, Ma Voix-e (My Voice, My Path), is my “baby”. It's a highly autobiographical project that's been close to my heart and in development for years; when I started writing it in 2019, it had already been in the back of my mind for some time. After a first performance that went very well in June 2019, however, I procrastinated a little too much, and was finally caught short by COVID. 

Four years later (time flies!), I decided to build a new version of my show through Eat the Cake Studio, adding even more interactivity, multimedia elements and immersion.

In this show, I talk about how I found my path as an actress, and my voice as an opera singer, from my beginnings in northern California to my arrival in France, where I've settled down pretty much permanently. Through humor, song, dance and even drawing, I share my life with the public, inviting them to join me on stage or to participate in my adventures in interactive and surprising ways.

My aim, and my hope, is that the audience will not only have a good time, but that they will reflect - on their life, their path, their vocation - and leave the show with a more inspired and optimistic vision of their future.

Do you want to see the show in French ?

There’s still 3 dates in June, book your seats today !

Step One : Adapting the show

I say “adapt”, because it goes far beyond a simple translation of the text.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, my show includes several songs, some of them which I wrote, whose lyrics are an integral part of the story. Therein lies the challenge: what solution should I choose to ensure that the English audience doesn't lose out on the show? 

  • Translate the lyrics in English, with all the implied difficulty?

  • Display subtitles on a screen?

  • Or choose (and create) whole new songs?

Each solution has its pros and cons: subtitles are by far the quickest solution to implement, but risk breaking the immersion; translation would be ideal, but requires a certain amount of time, to say the least.

In addition to the music, there are also the multimedia elements: new videos, new voice-over recordings and new visual supports have to be created. 

And, of course, you can't underestimate the need for rehearsals to learn and perfect this new version.

Step Two : Adapting the marketing

With around 130 theaters and 300 to 450 shows a week in Paris, it's hard to sell tickets for a show in French. The supply is simply greater than the demand. 

On the flip side, in June 2024, there are only 9 shows in English in Paris; the difference speaks for itself... but we still need to be able to reach the target audience, i.e. English speakers in Paris, and tourists in particular. 

Here as well, it’s not just a matter of translation.

  • Marketing needs to be localized, i.e. adapted to this new target - we need to emphasize the language, my American origins, an expatriate's vision of France, and all aspects of the show likely to appeal to English-speaking tourists.

  • Ticketing platforms are different. We need to study them, then select and contact the best of them.

  • Promotional avenues are numerous: partnerships with tourism agencies and hotels; flyers in tourist locations; content creation for social networks... 

So much to do, so little time! But the magic of theater also applies here : everything always ends up ready on time, and the show can go on!

Step Three : Embracing the unknown

We have enough experience to know that nothing is certain. Will we reach our target and sell out? We won't know until July.

The most important thing for me is to perform this show and share my story with as many spectators as possible. The English adaptation is part of a long-term desire to tour with Ma Voix, whether in France, England or the United States.

Ma Voix is currently available to be performed, in French and English, in venues such as theaters, party halls, retirement homes, festivals, restaurants, etc.

Interested? Let’s talk!


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