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1 April 1971 |
Dunbar was born in Glasgow but moved to Ayr at young age. She first came to the attention of mainstream audiences in the BBC Scotland comedy series Chewin' the Fat and was subsequently given her own show by the channel, The Karen Dunbar Show.
Over Christmas 2007, Dunbar made her first appearance in pantomime, at the King's Theatre in Glasgow, playing Nanny Begood in Sleeping Beauty. Further pantomime roles include the Good Fairy and the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella (2008–09) and Widow Twankey in Aladdin (2009–10). She appeared as a critic on "Britain's Got More Talent" on 27 May 2008. She played the fairy godmother in Cinderella (2012–13) and appeared in the 2013-14 season as a new character, Slave of the Ring, in Aladdin.
In 2008, Dunbar was scheduled to star in Ecstasy, the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh's best-selling novel, Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance, as well as performing a series of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Also known as a comedy actress, she has tackled serious roles, most notably to date her performance in the poetic monologue A Drunk Woman Looks at the Thistle adapted by Denise Mina from Hugh MacDiarmid's poem, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.
In 2009, she starred in a 6 part series of the Scottish comedy Happy Hollidays.
In 2014 she was lead compère at the XX Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
She is currently starring in Henry IV at the Donmar in London. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd.
Karen is also famous for performing Tam O'Shanter on Burns Nights every year.
Karen Dunbar is openly gay.
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