“What The Frock! has become the UK's most significant nurturer of female talent, and has meant Bristol now gives female comedians a bigger slice of the action” – The Naked Guide To Bristol, 2015
JANE DUFFUS INTERVIEWS BETHAN
When the four judges at the 2013 What The Frock! Newcomer Award were collating the scores, there was no need for discussion – we all agreed in a shot that the out-and-out winner was Welsh wonder Bethan Roberts.
And now that the celebrations have calmed down after the competition, we caught up with Bethan, who is originally from Cardiff, to find out more about the new Queen of the Frock!
What stunned the judges more than anything was that the What The Frock! Award was only Bethan’s 12th ever comedy gig, although she’s been dabbling in the stand-up circuit for about a year. “I randomly did my first stand-up gig after my friend convinced me to do it,” Bethan says. “Then I had a long gap, put myself down for some more, then went quiet, but now I’ve started up again. I haven’t done too many gigs but the ones I’ve done so far have been pretty enjoyable so I’d definitely like to do more.”
Bethan studied musical theatre at college, where she was always given the funny roles in course productions and told that she had excellent comic timing. But after college Bethan mostly landed dancing jobs rather than the acting parts she wanted, and randomly ended up dipping her toe into an ill-fated career as a pastry chef! “I hated it,” she admits of the kitchen role, “I got really down and depressed about it.”
Which was when a friend suggested that Bethan cheer herself up by going back to performing, and asked why she didn’t have a crack at stand-up. And since Bethan doesn’t do anything by halves, her first ever gig was for last year’s Funny’s Funny competition in London. “After that gig, I enjoyed it so much that I’m sticking with comedy for the time being,” Bethan says, which is good news for us!
And for someone who’s only done 12 gigs, she’s racked up a lot of competition entries. As well as What The Frock! and Funny’s Funny, Bethan is also taking part in the Welsh Unsigned Stand-Up Awards, the Golden Jester Awards in London, and she’s in the finals for Comedy Knight’s Fresh Comedians 2013.
Obviously, the What The Frock! Awards have been Bethan’s favourite experience to date, though! “It was really fun doing the What The Frock! Awards,” she says, with no hint of buttering me up! “It was only three minutes, so I thought ‘just enjoy it’. Everyone beforehand was nice, none of the other contestants were stand-offi-sh, and everyone was sharing chips backstage. It was a good crowd and a nice atmosphere. The compere Jayde Adams really got the audience going, which was a big help.”
Lastly, and most importantly, Bethan: where do you keep your What The Frock! certificate? “My certificate is at my mum and dad’s house in Wales. It’s on their dining room table, so whenever anyone comes to the house it’s the first thing they see.” As it should be!