Development Diaries: Coriander’s Yoga(ish) Show

A behind-the-scenes day in the life of New Zealand performer Jess Brien. Jess is bringing her solo show Coriander’s Yoga(ish) Show to The Old 505 Theatre for The Sydney Fringe Festival 20-24 September.


I’ve just woken up after 3 alarms went off and it’s a Thursday. To be honest I’m wondering if I’m still hungover from the weekend. Seems ridiculous, and I know I’m not, but I’m definitely on some form of a come down and could probably sleep for 20 more years. 

My Dad always jokes “back in my day we used to call it getting on the piss… Now’s it’s called ‘networking’!” He’s not wrong there; I spent a lot of the weekend ‘networking’ up a storm and it’s probably just catching up with me. I might also have a cold, which would explain the difficulty swallowing for the past few days.

Check twitter, emails, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat in that order. There must be new snapchat filters. Also trying to sort out my accommodation in Sydney, putting the faith in to the universe that it will all work out. Come through AirBnB! Messaging people in Sydney and trying to get the ball rolling for some promo.


One coffee down and I feel like a human again, making a breakfast that equals marmite (ohh controversial) with grilled cheese on toast. I call it a mousetrap but I think that’s a rural South Island slang thing. It’s time to watch last night’s episode of Home and Away on Dailymotion before showering and getting ready for the day. It makes me nearly pee my pants with excitement that I’ll be in Sydney and can visit Palm Beach. My fave characters at the moment are Phoebe, Ash and Billy and on the off-chance you google your name and you’re reading this Isabella Giovinazzo, George Mason or Tessa De Josselin …let’s hang out!

I got distracted googling and apparently there’s a Home and Away tour!? It’s lame but I might do it!


 Won tickets to the RNZB’s ‘Giselle’ and the tickets arrived with coffee!

Won tickets to the RNZB’s ‘Giselle’ and the tickets arrived with coffee!


Dropped off some posters and flyers for my Wellington season of Coriander’s Yoga(ish) Show around town and I’m thinking about how expensive life is. In New Zealand we have a marketing campaign company who basically owns every piece of wall and pillar around the country and you pay them to stick up your posters. Like it’s awesome, but I’m in a lot of debt because of them. I wonder if Sydney has a similar company??? 


 Director Imogen

Director Imogen

Just had a rehearsal for Coriander’s Yoga(ish) Show with my friend and colleague Imogen Prossor. She’s super cool and totally gets the vibe of Coriander. We went to drama school together so we speak the same language. Shout out to the New Zealand Fringe Festival for letting us use the empty room next to their office to rehearse! Now off to meet my friend Nick for coffee to chat about our idea for a monthly show we want to produce together here in Wellington. If anyone out there wants to sponsor a musical theatre open mic night in Wellington (long shot) get at me.

About to eat my own arm kinda hungry right now. If you could only eat 3 food genres what would they be? I ask nearly everyone I meet. Tweet me at @jessssbrien (mine would be in no particular order: Indian (like a real good curry), pizza and anything to do with potatoes.)

 The office today

The office today

4.20pm (original)

Have a bit of time to kill before I teach two yoga classes at 4InspiredMovement studio in Petone. It’s my first time teaching a real-life class at this studio (I have only performed as Coriander here) and I’m excited. Feeling really tired though but listening to the Hamilton soundtrack so I’m getting pumped. The class I’m teaching is a Hatha yoga flow class which will be fun, and the second class is a chill yin class called ‘yin siesta’. Totally my kind of thing! The café I’m sitting in stealing the free wifi and charging my laptop is about to close and that’s sad.


I’m on a bus back in to town and getting really excited for the weekend! I’m performing 3 different roving characters at a winter carnival near where the yoga studio is on Saturday. I love performing on the street and that’s how Coriander all started, at The World Buskers Festival. It’s been a natural progression since then writing and developing this indoor show. It’s forecasted to rain for the next forever here though so it could be an interesting, soggy weekend. I will just pretend I am in Edinburgh with my friends at the Fringe.


 Circa 1996

Circa 1996

The bus I’m on has free WiFi. Can’t stop thinking about a clown set me and my new friend from Canada are doing for an improv competition here, and it turns out the clown gods know that I’m thinking about that and this pops up on my newsfeed: 'Once you can handle the insults, you begin': inside Philippe Gaulier's clown school — What a guy!! It is a dream of mine to train with Gauiler. It’ll happen one day when I find some $$ … 


Now I’m thinking about money and how I hope people come to my show for The Sydney Fringe Festival. I can’t talk for every other artist, but the majority of my time is spent posting on Facebook/writing blogs like this about my show and stressing about ticket sales rather than actually doing the show. I think this is why people pay people to do this for them. I should look in to that.


Currently on the second bus home. Naturally I’m thinking about clowns again, and how one of my favourite clowns, winner of Best of the Fringe here at the 2016 NZ Fringe Festival, Gaby Munoz shared a beautiful quote and photo on Bored Panda that I’m going to share with you here.

 "Our imagination flies - we are its shadow on the earth." – Vladamir Nabokov. (Photo: Aura Solis)

I can’t wait to use it in one of my yoga classes.


Finally home and cooking dinner and drinking a cider and listening to a podcast. I love podcasts. The ones I’m following at the moment all feature NZers and actually, comedian Tim Batt has started up Little Empire Podcasts ( and I’m basically making my way through them. But the current go to’s are: What We Talk About, Boners Of The Heart, Stories From The Pitch, 57shadesofsauce, Walk Out Boys and The Watercooler.

Listening to podcasts made by my friends, people from my circle or my associates (ie people I wish knew who I was but I know them because I’m a stalker) is really inspiring for me. Seeing other people do everything and be awesome gives me the motivation to keep going! 

In other news, thankfully The Block NZ isn’t on on Thursdays so I have a night off the building site drama and more time for inspiration! I’m in a love/hate relationship with The Block NZ at the moment… I’m really bloody over it tbh, but I haven’t missed an episode yet and I have not come this far to just give up.


Replied to some emails and now finishing off some props for the show and it’s like a unicorn has spewed glitter in my bedroom. There’s actually a line of glitter that follows me around my flat. Hope whoever has offered me a room in their house while I’m in Sydney has already said yes before reading this and/or likes glitter. I really feel like chocolate.

 Unicorn spew

Unicorn spew


I’m in the process of doing the 30 day squat and plank challenge to get ready for Coriander’s Yoga(ish) Show. That’s not supposed to be a brag but I guess it is. I’m probably about 27 days in and have only crossed off 15 days. I’ve also forgotten to do them today (read: all week…) Oops.

 Obviously an old photo

Obviously an old photo


I promised director Imogen I would know my lines by the next rehearsal, so I’m trying to learn the script now. People say to me, “but didn’t you write it? How come you don’t know it?” and unfortunately it’s not really as simple as that. Imogen has to keep reminding me that what I’ve written is good, so learn what’s written god damnit. Previously I have just been ad-libbing around the ideas and sometimes getting caught in holes of vagueness. Yuck! It’s an interesting process learning words I wrote from improvising.

 Admin personified

Admin personified


Check twitter, emails, facebook and the news sites. New Zealand is really embarrassing me today with some of the shit that’s been going down.


Just realised I didn’t brush my teeth tonight and I’m already in bed. Ugh.


Have you ever thought about how crazy it is that traffic lights stop traffic and they’re only lights?

You can follow Jess on Twitter or like her Facebook page but most importantly you can buy tickets for her show Coriander’s Yoga(ish) Show, 20-24 September, Old 505 Theatre here.