Sarah Keyworth takes us on a journey about expectations, gender and self-acceptance

Sarah Keyworth is a small girl who works as a nanny for an even smaller girl. In this hour of honest hilarity, Sarah questions how this girl is being raised, and reflects upon her own upbringing. Think ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ but British, deadpan and in no way similar.

After successfully taking the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by storm, Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer Nominee, Sarah Keyworth brings her hilarious and heartfelt comedy hour Dark Horse to Soho Theatre in January (28 January – 2 February). Nottingham-born Keyworth also won the Herald Angels Award 2018, for this momentous show about sexuality and identity.

Sarah takes the audience on a semi-autobiographical tale about discovering her own sexuality and gender identity – with revelations that include how being a lesbian doesn’t mean you want to be a man, how you can look like Czech footballer Pavel Nedvěd and still be feminine, and how having the same bits as your partner can only be a good thing. She ponders how her gender identity at a young age may have been skewed by the judgement of others and asks, does this little girl stand a chance in today’s society? She does with Sarah by her side.

This refreshingly insightful journey about expectations, gender and self-acceptance makes Sarah’s show one of the most thought-provoking and entertaining of the year.

Sarah’s deadpan wit and cheeky smile has got her far in the comedy scene. After being a semi-finalist in both the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year and Amused Moose Laugh Off, a finalist in the Comedy Knights Fresh Comedian of the Year awards, first runner up at the Funny Women Awards in 2015 and appearing in the BBC New Comedy Awards, Sarah has gone on to be the tour support for Kerry Godliman, Dane Baptiste, Tez Ilyas and Stewart Francis. She was also chosen to be a part of CKP’s Lunchtime Special, showcasing some of the best upcoming comedians on the circuit. Sarah has also recorded The Big Questions and A Pie and a Pint for Comedy Central, as well as the hugely successful Roast Battle, and can be heard on Helen Lederer’s BBC podcast Knock Knock.

What is the message you want to pass with this new Stand Up show?

The show is about gender, specifically in childhood. It’s about how we raise children in such strict gender binaries that it’s no surprise that things can get awkward and confusing.

Why is it named “Dark Horse” and what shall we expect to see?

It’s called Dark Horse because it’s written about and for a little girl in my life who is often underestimated, so you can expect to see me talking about how ridiculous that is, and how wonderful she is.

How sexuality and identity influence your work?

This show in particular is massively influenced by my sexuality and identity. I’m telling the story of my experience of growing up in a framework that didn’t make any sense to me because I was not a stereotypically feminine girl, and which got far more complicated when I discovered my sexuality.

Is this Stand Up show autobiographical?

It is. I’m incredibly self indulgent.

How difficult is it to perform in a show that contains elements of your life?

I really enjoy doing a show that contains so much truth. I especially love being able to speak to audiences afterwards about their shared experiences.

How long did it take to produce and finalise this piece of work?

This show took a solid year of obsessing over but it had definitely been percolating for much longer than that. This was always going to be what my first hour was about so it’s been a long time coming.

Did you expect the huge success in Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

I really hoped it would go well but Edinburgh is very unpredictable. I am so happy that people liked the show as much as I do.

Who are your biggest role models and influences?

For this show my biggest and most valuable influences have been a lovely bunch of comedy queer friends. They were so amazing at talking through everything. You should check them out – Chloe Petts, Catherine Bohart, Shelf and my producer Brid Kirby.

How do you define yourself and your work?

Someone once described me as cheeky deadpan. I like that.

Do you think there is a lot of homophobia nowadays?

I’m very lucky. I don’t see or experience a huge amount of homophobia whilst gigging across the UK. There are sometimes occasions when someone is unpleasant or uncomfortable but I think it’s a good sign that comedy clubs and audiences do not tolerate it for the most part.

Have you received any racism or discrimination?

I have on occasion.

What are your future plans?

I am touring Dark Horse in 2019. I’m really excited to perform across the UK and in Australia. I am also working on a brand new show for Edinburgh 2019.

More of Sarah Keyworth here:

*all images are courtesy of Sarah Keyworth

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