SOPHIE WILLAN’S NEW STAND UP SHOW ‘BRANDED’ WILL BE AT THE PLEASANCE COURTYARD BUNKER 2 FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST SO WE CAUGHT UP WITH HER TO FIND OUT WHAT WE CAN EXPECT. 

Sophie Willan

Sophie Willan

Please tell us about your brand of comedy.

Anarchic, raucous and darkly optimistic.

I take inspiration from my unusual life experiences, to make bold, unapologetic and political work. 

I have worked as a Theatre Maker, so it’s important to me that I use my practice as a Theatre Maker to make stand-up hours. They have to have well thought out structures, vivid imagery and recurring themes that develop over the hour.

What can audiences expect from your new show?

The show will be personal and raucous but with more of a focus on giving my perspective and opinion than my last show, On Record.

Which comedians have been your biggest influence since you decided this was your path?

I think I have been inspired by so many different artists, and you take nuggets of wisdom from all of them. 

Comedians… Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Richard Prior, Louis C K, Victoria Wood and more…

And Performance Artists such as Lemn Sissay, Bryony Kimmings, Scottee, Divine David and Gerry Potter really opened my mind to what performance could be when I moved to Manchester and saw their work in my early twenties.  

Please tell us about your best and worst moment on stage so far?

WORST: I did a gig at a festival a few years ago with my mate. I had to dress up as a garden gnome and she was dressed as an Avon Lady. We performed to seven confused strangers gurning in a yurt! One audience member tried to pick me up so my mate rugby tackled him to the ground.

BEST: Recently I booked myself a national tour and did a homecoming performance at The Lowry Theatre. I performed the show to a sell out crowd of 500 people! That was fab!

Do you still get nervous when you do a gig?

 If I feel underprepared or stressed.  

Why is Edinburgh Fringe Festival such a great platform for comedians?

I suppose everyone’s there… I mean it costs a fortune so it must be good for something right? 

Who are you looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?

I love heading down to Summerhall and checking out all the experimental work there. Northern Stage have some great Manchester stuff they’re brining up such as Jackie Hagan’s Cosmic Scallies and Kate O’donell’s You’ve Changed. 

What is your advice to aspiring comedians?

Give yourself a few years of honing your skills as a writer and understanding yourself as a performer before you commit to a full hour… Then when you’re ready, go for it and have fun!

What is the oddest heckle you've ever received?

Somebody in the audience with tourettes, shouting my name back at me throughout the whole show. You can’t really shout at someone for having tourettes. 

What is next for you?

I’m going on holiday after Edinburgh not sure where but it’ll be fabulous!

SOPHIE WILLAN’S NEW STAND UP SHOW ‘BRANDED’ WILL BE AT THE PLEASANCE COURTYARD BUNKER 2 FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST FOR TICKET GO TO WWW.EDFRINGE.COM

Recommended Articles