On the Couch with Helen Duff

Helen Duff oncWho is Helen Duff?
A UK based clown / comedian / actress who’s bringing her first solo show Vanity Bites Back to the Australia for the Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
A really important part of my show and a central premise of clowning is accepting what’s happening in the room at anyone moment in time, so I wouldn’t want to do anything differently – just be receptive and playful as it occurs.

Who inspires you and why?
People who allow themselves to be seen – vulnerable, imperfect and human.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think if you can celebrate your individuality and share that with others, you’re doing the best you can to make a connection.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
My Dad lived in Sydney when I was growing up so it’s always been a treat to visit Australia. The other extreme is the Northumberland coast in England which is stunning and lined with castles that make Shakespeare’s history plays seem possible.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In London my favourite way to feel alive is to jump into the Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond – on New Year’s Day it was 2 degrees and we swam with mulled wine waiting.

What are you currently reading?
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is a brilliant novel which stretches from the beginning of the 20th Century and in which the character keeps being re-born – it’s amazing to see how different choices can shape who you become.

What are you currently listening to?
Years and Years are a new band in the UK who mix disco and beats with the vocals of lead singer Olly Alexander; his voice is eerily reminiscent of Tracy Chapman.

Happiness is?
Feeling free.

What does the future hold for you?
More of what I’m doing right now, I hope.

Helen Duff studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, L’Ecole Philippe Gaulier and the University of Cambridge. She started performing stand up at the end of 2013 and has subsequently played gigs across the UK, in Paris and New York, winning a place in the Foster’s So You Think You’re Funny? semi finals and the Squawker Award final at the Brighton Comedy Festival.

Recent acting credits include Making Dickie Happy (Tristan Bates), Dead Pile (Old Vic TS Eliot Exchange), Happy New (Old Red Lion), The Sexual Awakening of Peter Mayo (Pleasance Courtyard / Theatre 503) and The Old Vic’s 24 Hour Plays and Time Warner Ignite Projects.

LAMDA credits include: Hedda Gabler (Joseph Blatchley), The Talented Mr Ripley (James Kerr), Daisy Pulls It Off (Stephen Jameson), Touched (Colin Cook) and Twelfth Night (Lucy Kerbel). Cambridge credits include: Titus Andronicus (Action To The Word, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Macbeth (European Theatre Group Tour) and Greek (Alexandra Spencer Jones).

Helen will be making her Australian debut in her self-written solo show, Vanity Bites Back at the Adelaide Fringe (until 15 March) and at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (25 March – 19 April). For more information, visit: www.vanitybitesback.com for details.

Image: Helen Duff