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Art, as told by Matt Roper

Matt Roper is an English comedian, writer and variety performer based in New York’s City.

Matt first came to our attention with his powerhouse alter-ego Wilfredo at Lushfest 2011 while touring internationally. 

Last year Matt made his New York theatre debut as Chico Marx in the I'll Say She Is: The Marx Brothers Musical. Matt returned to Lushfest in 2012 to curate the comedy stage and helped us to laugh while a month's worth rain fell in just 24 hours.

This is Art as told by Matt Roper.

Art is…

The most subjective thing in the world. The greatest gift somebody can ever give is an introduction to a painter, a songwriter or a filmmaker whom you’ve never heard of before, but whose work you can connect with and plunge into. There’s nothing like it – entire worlds suddenly just open up.

The creative world’s best-kept secret?

At the moment I’ve been revisiting the little-known Nineties film Funny Bones and I consider it to be a masterpiece. I’m a vaudevillian at heart and the sort of work I do takes me into a lot of different circles of performance – comedy clubs, burlesque theatres, the circus world and beyond. All of us from those fields can relate to it in some way. It’s about a fugitive comedian from Las Vegas who heads off to his childhood home – Blackpool – to seek inspiration. It brings together an inspired cast of actors – Oliver Reed, Leslie Caron, Jerry Lewis, Richard Griffiths and a young Lee Evans. Where else could you find an ensemble like that? It sort of transcends category – it’s a dark drama with comedy at its heart, but with three or four storylines running concurrently. Also, you’ll see Blackpool in another light entirely.

Free expression

Freedom of thought and expression are among the most basic foundations of human rights. But free expression comes with a measure of responsibility. Remember the golden rule: if you have to punch, punch up. Never punch down.

The power of the artist

To reflect the times we live in, to challenge opinion, smash barriers and to offer respite and escape. For me personally, there is nothing in the world comparable to making a roomful of total strangers truly happy. It’s the greatest job in the world.

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