Guest Blog-From Actress Sallyann Fellowes

I have something to confess- I have never written a blog before.
I know what a blog is so I resorted to Google. It says
“a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
Ok thanks- that tells me Nothing.
I guess that makes me a blog virgin as I am at the moment a comedy virgin- so the two virgins types can sit together and eat chips. There’s probably a joke there but I have comedy constipation at this precise moment.

I am an ex nurse ex police officer who turned to acting after I got injured on duty in the police and I retired because of my health, or lack of it. In June this year I did a stand-up comedy course at the London School of Comedy in Camden. They’re a lovely bunch and they do brilliant things in the community to tackle knife crime and help mentor young people whose start has not been the best. What’s not to like? Plus I had already booked and paid for a slot at the Edinburgh Festival to do a show that I hadn’t actually written yet.

I’d never done any sort of stand-up comedy and I had never been to Edinburgh.
What could possibly go wrong?
Here comes another confession (fellow lapsed Catholics will see a familiar pattern here). Whenever I had seen a stand up show the sight of the empty stage with a microphone was like a very strong magnet and I have to sit on my hands.
I always wanted to run up and say something (I never actually did it) – I realise this is weird and probably has a long name and involves visits to a psychiatrist.

So the course was really helpful and I wrote the show, did a preview of it, plus a couple of open mics then went to Edinburgh.
When I told my Dad he said no-one will come, then after a minute the word “unfortunately” so a nice bit of compassion there to lighten the kiss of doom, thanks Dad.
My Mum said I’m just worried you’ll die either on stage or actually just die.
Great thanks Mum.

I can confirm I didnt do either. The audience did laugh and hopefully not out of pity. A few people came up afterwards to tell me they loved the show. I’ve done a few spots in other people’s shows since and the Out of the Blue show is at Tribeca Basement in Manchester, for the Women in Comedy Festival on October 24th at 7pm. You have been warned. Oh and theres a bar and theres lots of other funny women doing their stuff too.

Theres been some fab gigs and of course not so fab- including one where there was no light! I am not even joking it was like being in a dungeon. A woman tried to sell me a bottle of knocked off champagne in the toilets when I said No thanks I was alright, she said I can get you any pills you want! I thought one guy was heckling me, so I went nearer to hear what he was saying and he was on his phone! Another instance, a bloke heckled me through a window while he was smoking a cigarette comedy gold! The audience were all rolling drunk and another woman tried to take the MCs mic- shouting that she wanted to make a stand against political correctness.

After that I tried to find that woman with the pills but she’d gone (I’m joking).
Thanks for reading guys if you’re in Manchester on 24th October I would love to see you at my show.



Feel Beautiful Inside And Out

We all have those days, where we wake up and don’t feel our best. If you are feeling like your mo is missing your jo, perhaps you’ve not landed that role you set your heart upon, or you just feel in need of some YOU time, then here are some tips, to help you feel beautiful inside and out:

1. Have a pampering evening

This means clear your diary if possible, put your phone on silent and relax! Surround yourself by your favourite bath and body products ie. face mask and body lotions…indulge! Talking of indulging, have your favourite snacks on stand by and read that new book or watch a DVD. Enjoy!

2. Write a list of goals

What do you want to do in your life that will make you happy? Not just in your career but life in general. Being happy is so important and making goals to achieve this, can be so helpful for you to find focus. If you want to write a new play then do it! Life is for living and the possibilities are endless.

3. Smile

Sometimes you really might not feel like it, but trust me, a smile has the power to lift your mood. It is a small act that makes the biggest of changes to your life, as well as others. A friendly smile can also make the day of those around you, so what you waiting for? Start smiling.

Hope this has inspired you and as always have a beautiful week 💕

IARA Award Winners 2017

The 4th annual IARA Awards took place on the 2nd September, at Stratford Old Town Hall, in London. Celebrating equality and diversity in the Arts industry, on an international scale, the IARA Awards are certainly integral accolades. 

This year the big winner everyone is taking about, is Terry Pheto who won two awards, including Best Actress 2017! Rent the Musical also won two awards, including Best Theatre Director for Bruce Guthrie. 

Here is a list of the winners below:

Best Actor 

ANTHONY BOYLE (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)

 Best Actress

TERRY PHETO (A United Kingdom)

Best Emerging Actor

OLISA ODELE (E4-ChewingGum)

 Best Emerging Actress


 Best Actor in TV/Drama 2017

JAMES FLOYD (ITV Good Karma Hospital)

 Best Actress in TV/Drama 2017

 TERRY PHETO (BET Nelson Mandela)

 Best Young Actor in Film/TV/ Drama


Best Young Actress in Film/TV/Drama

KIRAN SONIA SAWAR (Murdered By My Father)

 Best International Actor

OC UKEJE (The Arbitration)

Best International Actress

Nse Ikpe Etim (Tess)

 Best Male Stage Performance

Adam J Bernard (Dream Girls)

Best Female Stage Performance


Best Dance Act

LUKE AHMET (The Creation)
Best Theatre Director

BRUCE GUTHRIE (Rent the Musical)

Best Choreographer

LEE PROUD (Rent the Musical)

Best Playwright

JOHN O’Donovan (If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You)

Best Original Screenplay


Best Short Film Director


 Best Director – TV or Drama


Best Feature or Independent Film 2017


Best Fashion Designer

Joshua Kane

Best New Music Act


Best Music Album


Best UK Music Artist 2017


Best UK Afroabeat Artist


Best African Music Artist


Best FM/Radio Station


 Best UK FM/Radio DJ

DJ ACE (BBC 1xtra)

Best TV Presenter

SCARLETTE DOUGLAS (Channel4 A Place in the Sun)

Best UK Reality TV Star 2017

SANDRA MARTIN (Channel4 Gogglebox)

Best Web Series 2017

Hood Documentary by Tyrell Williams & Kayode Ewumi 

Guest Blog-From Actress And Playwright Felicity Huxley-Miners

Being the Change You Want To See

Victoria Sadler’s stark article on the lack of female playwrights makes for troubling reading:

The bigger theatres aren’t programming female playwrights. Promises are being made and not kept and people want to see more diversity across the board on stage and in the wings of all our theatres.

I’m not allowed into the important rooms where important decisions are made in these venues. Yet. But what I do get to see is female playwrights creating, being pro-active, hustling producers, pedalling their work and writing even if no-one’s going to listen.

I’ve seen an uprising of small theatre companies calling out for female playwrights, female directors, stories from BAME artists, gender-blind and any-ethnicity casting. This online community is coming together, supporting and encouraging one another, sharing, recommending and generally being so positive. It’s a world away from the trolling and bullying reported on every day in the press and the competitiveness that can sometimes consume the most competitive industries.

The arts, and freelancing in general, can be such an isolating experience, especially when work is thin on the ground and everyone else is absolutely definitely doing so much better than you, that an online support network can be such a fabulously important resource.

So much of our lives are now conducted online; for most freelancers it’s an essential way of self-promotion, maintaining working relationships and networking that we can’t do without it. In this anonymous cyber-space environment filled with keyboard warriors and the eternally offended it’s incredibly reassuring to see the support and generosity of a movement of people (yes, men too) working towards a united goal.

And what a ridiculous goal. To have roughly as many female playwrights as male. Roughly as many women on stage as men. Roughly as many BAMER artists both on the creative team and cast.

Many of the big theatres (I’ll leave you to define ‘big’) are pledging to start evening out this balance in 2, 5, 10 years. Why? What’s wrong with now? It seems that the fringe, the small companies, the ones who didn’t get funding, the regional venues, the do-ers, the self-published and self-produced, the crowd-funders, the one (wo)man shows, the risk-takers, the unconventional, the don’t-fit-in-your-boxers, the forgotten and the unheard are boldly leading the way into new territories, producing innovative, exciting art and reaching those who need representation on stage. Those who need a voice. Then hopefully the audiences and the massive, resource heavy, funded theatres will then follow.

But in the meantime go online, look at those doing it for themselves, look at the words of encouragement, the empowerment, the brilliant ideas and collaborations and be encouraged, if not by the theatre, then by the resilience, determination and the spirit of those who are going to make it happen.


Always Make Time To Check-In On You

We spend so much of our time as creatives, wondering about others. Wondering what the audience thought of our performance, what that director was thinking during our audition or what our peers are achieving (the list goes on and on!), that we often forget to simply think about ourselves.

I am not saying that we have to not consider those around us, as kindness is always needed in the Arts, but instead channel all that energy, on making time to check we are OK. What I mean by that, is we need to take time and effort to assess how we are coping, with the unpredictable, but exhilarating life we lead as artists. By essentially ‘checking in’ on ourselves, we are able to see if we need to take further time out, to de-stress and recharge our batteries.

Everyone is unique and of course have different ways of taking time to relax, chill, unwind and different names for it! I’ve given tips on ways to unwind in previous blog posts, but this is more of an encouragement to recognise when you do and act on it. We all know when we are tired and getting stressed, but a lot of us also try to ignore it, because we feel we don’t have time and have unending things to get done. Please don’t ignore it, take time for you as your mental and physical well-being is so vital. You are vital.

Be kind to you.💜

When The Rom’s Stopped Coming…Or Just Evolved?

I can’t put a precise year or date to when the Romantic Comedy or more widely known ‘Rom Com’ genre, disintergrated to just a bygone era. It just, well, happened. The late nineties She’s All That heyday was over, Filmmakers and to some extent Theatre ones, were seemingly no longer investing their time and effort in to Romantic Comedy and nor were we, the audience.

For a hopeless romantic like myself, this ending could have been bitter and meant endless hours of contemplation, on the world in general, while eating an entire Chocolate Orange. But no, I decided to set about writing a romantic comedy play, with an idea that this extinction symbolised a revolution. A revolution of wit and sarcasm had to mix up the genre, make it laugh at itself. A rom-com’s had to become a parody because let’s face it, life and love is a parody.

Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is admittedly not exactly uplifting, in terms of storyline, but it’s a favourite Novel of mine, because it is not a happy-ever-after story. The fact two characters Cathy and Heathcliff are entwined to the point of being one soul, but have every obstacle thrown at them, is just as relevant, if not more so, in the 21st Century. A rom-com can’t compete with this intensity, although it has plenty of humour, it doesn’t have that lingering effect in the mind.

We have to be willing to accept that a happy ending exists in many forms, that the happy is the most important bit, push the ending to one side and focus on what makes you happy, not what you think will make you happy to get that perfect ending. That’s largely where the once the escapism inducing rom-com went wrong, it have a perfect ending that was predictable and didn’t have the big gasp! moment. Even the biggest romantic needs a bit of a suprise to the tale, now and again.

In an act of pure reminissance, I shall watch 27 Dresses and Trainwrecked to remember all that’s good with the genre…Oh and She’s All That too. Ok I have a long list.

Wishing you all a lovely week 💜

Role Models: Aspire not Compare 

Everyone has someone that their teenage self wanted to become, when they grew up, usually someone who you saw as the pinnacle of their field..and usually someone ‘famous’. Yes, I was convinced I would one day be Audrey Hepburn the actress, the style icon, the legend, Barbra Streisand the legend, the voice…the list went on.

Once you get older, you unfortunately fall victim to a sense of pressure, to be that person when you reach a certain age. This dawned on me while having a conversation thread on ageism in the Arts industry, with mostly fellow female creatives on good old (no pun intended) twitter. We see successful artists such as Adele or Beyoncé for example and think Oh wow I have achieved nothing as you are all in the same age bracket. Please don’t think this, true is you have achieved so much, you don’t even realise it!

The truth is everyone is different and I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. We all achieve different things and at different times in our lives. Someone might have what you perceive to be the ‘perfect’ career aged 35, but they have still so much more they can do in another thirty-five years. Everyone has a different path and no two careers are identical so why compare?

If you are going to want to look up to someone as a role model, then it would make more sense, to make it someone who has had a long and steady career, perhaps 60 plus in age. A person who has worked consistently and is still working, that’s someone you want to aspire in the Arts-Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand, are in my opinion, the epitome of a long distuinguished career. 

Of course the two women I have given as examples are very well known in the industry but there are so many other females consistently working, that we know not much about, they aren’t in the media spotlight and have worked in it for many years. They are true role models, unsung heroes who work hard and are pillars in our artistic community. Let’s start celebrating them!

IARA Awards: Symbolising Equality And Diversity In The Arts

Now in its fourth year, the IARA Awards-International Achievement Recognition Awards, are the accolades that signify the real Arts industry. They recognise artists from a range of genres and actively promote equality and diversity. A British founded awards organization, that celebrates excellence on an international scale, the IARA Awards are unique, with categories ranging from Best Playwright to Best TV Presenter.

The IARA Awards website reads:

We strongly believe that by celebrating, rewarding, raising awareness and empowering people committed to bringing about change; together we can start a new chapter with equal opportunities for everyone.

This ethos is why I am so delighted to be covering the IARA Awards on 2nd September for Frantastic View, as innovation and creating your own path in the Arts industry is so important. Change is what’s needed to make our industry a fair one, with equal opportunities and to make us grow as artists. This is what the IARA Awards stand for-making an impact by rewarding hard work and talent.

Here are just some of last year’s winners…

Tanya Moodie- Best Actress 2016 ( RSC Hamlet )

Joshua Kane – Best Fashion Designer 2016

Atiha Sen Gupta – Best Playwright 2016

Charles Venn – Best Actor – TV or Drama 2016

(All photos courtesy of the IARA Awards media team)

With thirty-one award categories this year, well known performers such as Amber Riley and Scott Malsen, join emerging category nominees such as Ethan Le Phong and Seraphina Beh in the list of artists being recognised in their fields.

For a full list of the 2017 Nominees and the 2016 Winners visit

Frantastic View will be bringing you all the highlights of the IARA Awards 2017 (there will be many) from it’s nominees, winners and guest presenters. The awards ceremony take place 2nd September at Stratford Town Hall from 6pm, tickets available on the awards website (as above).

Evita And Her Inspiring Legacy 

I was invited to the media night last night of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical Evita, at The Phoenix Theatre, London, where the show is performing a limited 12 week run until October. Something struck me that I felt compelled to write, not so much about this stunning production, but Eva Perón (also known as Evita), the woman and what she still symbolises today, 65 years after her death at the age of 33.

Rags-to-Riches stories are often now seen as a cliché, over baked and an excuse to gain fame and notoriety from a highly fabricated back story. It doesn’t stop young and old alike, from dreaming of that fairytale coming true for them and if you have a goal and work hard then why not? This is what the legend of Evita coming to Buenos Aires aged 15, to make her name, has based it’s foundations on, the idea that any young person can aspire to be whatever they want to become. Of course Argentina in the 1930’s, is a different setting to present day UK for example, but her message is still an empowering one.

Being a romantic in a modern world where romance is perhaps unfortunately on the decline, has me believing, with a little help from the show I saw last night, that Evita and her husband Juan Perón were in love. Let’s be honest, a man in Juan Perón’s position of power in that era, could have just wanted Evita, a famous actress, as his mistress, but as Emma Hatton sung so convincingly as Evita in a duet with Juan, she was certainly good for him. OK, they were mutually beneficial for each others lives, but this isn’t a bad thing at all, that’s a wonderful attribute in a relationship- to have someone who believes in you and what you can achieve.

Evita was a woman, I know you are probably shouting out loud Yes I know that, obviously! But, this needs to be celebrated that a lady, a ‘celebrity’ was a signal of hope for the people of Argentina, a signal of change, the people’s champion. We of course had Princess Diana thirty years later, who captured the hearts of the people around the world, with her kindness and warmth a strong female figure, but Evita Argentina’s first lady, was a phenomena never seen before. The song Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, from the musical Evita, captures the mood perfectly, on a balcony surrounded by her adoring public, as well as her biggest critics in equal measure, who had doubted her sincerity.

A pivotal figure, I believe Evita is also a feminist one, who still inspires many around the world, not to mention she has a musical about her life by one of the most successful musical theatre writing duo in history! Yes, she was very ambitious, but everyone has drive and that shouldn’t still be seen as a negative today like it was 70 years ago. The world has evolved, but the legend of Eva Perón, a visionary, remains as current as ever.

Self Validation In The Arts

What is it we all seem to want in the Arts industry?

In my experience, it’s feeling a sense of validation, of having your own niche. Even if you are someone who works in multiple areas of the arts, you want to create your own identity. But this begs the question, are you then worrying about what others think of you? The honest answer to this is yes.

We all spend more time than we should, wondering what others think about our work, not so much the audience of course, but our peers. Yes, those people you pretend have no effect on your work and there are no comparisons made by you, between them and yourself. For some reason we think everyone is so concerned with what we are doing, when in reality they really don’t. They are more concerned with finding their own place in the Arts.

So what if an audience didn’t give you resounding praise for your play? That should not mean you are less enthusiastic about the piece of theatre you have created, in exactly the same strand as if the feedback was very positive. Nurture your work and make the play the best it can possibly be. This can be said for ourselves, we need to give ourselves the same care.

The validation we need to focus on, is mostly a self one. This one we need to look at in detail with ourselves, how can we expect an entire industry to feel a sense of belonging within it for us, when we aren’t comfortable with ourselves as an artist? We need to be at peace at who we are and realise our worth, that we are irreplaceable in the arts, we are unique.