Rosie Wilby talks about her comedy show featuring fanzines, the ’90s and feminism

// 30 June 2013

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Hello! I’m very excited because this is the first blog post telling you all about the first review in the new comedy section! Check out a great review of Rosie Wilby’s multimedia comedy show, Nineties Woman by one of our new reviewers, Stephanie Chan. If you’re in London, you should totally go see the next performance of Nineties Woman this Tuesday evening. (See below for a sneaky discount code and further details.)

A comedy pal who knew I did fanzines put me in touch with Rosie last month. When I was in London recently, we got to meet up at St. Pancras between trains to reminisce about ’90s feminism, chat about her show and talk about making comedy in the current economic climate. After I had made my usual awkward enquiries in the coffee shop about dairy free cake (there wasn’t any) and soya milk (there was), we settled ourselves into some metal chairs and attempted to tune out whatever was being played on the free piano.

What was it like tripping down memory lane to develop this show?

It’s been fascinating to revisit early ’90s feminism and my dusty old copies of Matrix and see how many of the same themes we are still discussing now – equal pay, body image, sexual harassment, sexuality, inequalities in politics and business, and more. It seems like the attitude and energy of the time, with riot grrl and fanzines, is resurfacing.

For me it never went away! You mentioned you got Arts Council funding for this show. What was that process like, and how did you use the funds?

I managed to get £4000 from the Arts Council after going through the fairly stressful process of completing a Grants for the Arts application. It took several days and a lot of sweat and tears over the Christmas holidays. I’d previously applied unsuccessfully for a different show so was uncertain of my chances. Competition is so huge! But I think the feminism angle chimed with them, as did the use of multimedia. This money allowed me to employ three excellent creative contributors who helped me get our footage into usable formats [as] some was on an ancient VHS tape, and shape the story and cultural references. I’ve also got a tour booker pitching for dates later in the year, some PR support and finance to print publicity. I’ve managed several tours with no funding whatsoever and it’s really hard nowadays as many venues will not guarantee fees.

With further cuts to the arts in the latest spending review, what can performers do if they don’t want to rely on grants and prefer to go DIY?

Talk to other friendly performers, ask for advice and a few contacts and then just go and try your material wherever and whenever you can.

You can see this show on Tuesday, 2 July at 7:30 pm at the Face to Face Festival of Solo Theatre at the Lost Theatre, Lambeth, London. Readers of The F Word can have special offer tickets using the codeword ARTIST. Details and booking can be found at:

http://www.solotheatrefestival.co.uk/page7.html You can find out about Rosie Wilby’s new Edinburgh Fringe Festival show at her website.

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