No laughing matter: DMU graduate Sarah Keyworth shares her comedy success story

Comedian Sarah Keyworth took her first tentative footsteps onto the stand-up circuit when she was a student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

She fondly recalls being encouraged to embark on a comedy career as a ‘student with very little confidence’ who was ‘nothing but nerves.’

Four years later, Sarah is making a name for herself as one of the country’s rising comedy stars, although she is yet to learn how to control her stage fright!

COMEDIAN SARAH main

She performs at gigs across the country and is one of the comedians taking to the stage in next month’s Leicester Comedy Festival, which starts on February 7.

Sarah said: “If it wasn’t for DMU, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

“When I got to DMU I had a vague idea that I’d like to break into comedy, but it just seemed like a pipe dream. I knew how competitive comedy was and I didn’t think it would actually even happen.

“But the people I met at DMU were brilliant. Everyone was encouraging me; people were booking gigs and driving me to gigs. I was given so many opportunities and I started to become active on the comedy circuit.

“Being a comedian is definitely a dream come true for me.”

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Sarah admits she was feeling ‘pretty disengaged’ about going to university until she attended the DMU Open Day. She joked that her Mum fell in love with DMU before her as ‘she was really impressed with the toilets in the SU.’

Sarah studied Drama Studies at DMU from 2011 to 2014 and fondly remembers all the hands-on experience she got in writing for performance. She was also an active member of DMU’s Comedy Society and got to do stand-up routines at the Leicester Comedy Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She also performed at venues across the city, such as The Cookie and The Looking Glass.

COMEDIAN SARAH grad

Sarah, second left, graduates in Drama with friends at DMU

She said: “It worked out incredibly well as DMU was involved so heavily in comedy and I just took advantage of every opportunity I could.

“I’ll always remember how brilliant my tutors were; they were really supportive.

“I also really enjoyed the size of the campus; it felt like it was easy and manageable size to manoeuvre as it was my first time away from home.”

After DMU, Sarah got a marketing internship at the LAMDA Drama School in London but found herself ‘falling asleep on the tube’ as she tried to juggle a full-time day job with gigging at night. So she started working as a nanny to give her more time to focus on her comedy.

Sarah, who is originally from Nottingham, has recently supported Stewart Francis on tour. She has also been recognised by various comedy awards, including Funny Women Awards, Amused Moose and Laughing Horse New Act of the Year.

COMEDIAN SARAH second main

Sarah performing at the legendary Comedy Store

She was one of nine comedians in the Leicester Comedy Festival’s preview show at De Montfort Hall where she gave DMU a shout-out. It was her biggest show to date and she even appeared on stage dressed up as show host Ed Byrne as people commented that they looked alike after they both had similar gags about pesto.

Sarah will be returning to Leicester for her own Comedy Festival show on Sunday, February 11 at The Exchange Bar.

She said: “It’s always nice to be back in Leicester, it feels familiar. I still know lots of people in the city and everyone is so welcoming.”

Sarah’s material is a mix of anecdotal storytelling, with the occasional addition of silly observations. She describes her comedy as ‘sort of charming, creepy and deadpan.’

She said: “I just really like making people laugh. I enjoy performance but I soon realised I couldn’t act!

“With comedy I like that you have control over your performance and you can take it in any direction you want.

“Although I still get so nervous and I’m one of those annoying, whinging nervous people. I complain about absolutely everything. But then I am absolutely fine as soon as I get on stage and everything just falls into place.”

For tickets for Leicester Comedy Festival, which is sponsored by DMU, visit Leicester Comedy Festival or call 0116 456 6812.

Posted on Monday 29th January 2018

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