Deborah Frances-White

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Deborah Frances-White
MediumStand-up, improvisation, Podcast
NationalityBritish, Australian
Years active2007–present
GenresObservational humour, Self-help, storytelling
Subject(s)Feminism, religion
Notable works and rolesThe Guilty Feminist

Deborah Frances-White is a London-based comedian, author and screenwriter who also delivers corporate seminars on subjects including charisma, diversity and inclusion.[1] She has both British and Australian citizenship.[2] She hosts the podcasts Global Pillage and The Guilty Feminist. She uses the platform and network she has built through The Guilty Feminist to help multiple charities, especially relating to refugees and/or human rights.[3]

Early life[edit]

Frances-White was born in Australia and adopted at ten days old.[4] She grew up in Brisbane, Queensland. Her family converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses when she was a teenager; Frances-White has since left the community and describes herself as an atheist.[5] During her gap year, she moved to London and later studied English at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University.[6]


Frances-White is one of three directors at the improv theatre company The Spontaneity Shop, which she co-founded with Tom Salinsky in 1996.[7] After developing a number of improvisation formats at The Spontaneity Shop (including the improvised romantic comedy DreamDate which had a pilot made for ITV[8]), Frances-White turned to stand-up comedy. Her first significant solo show was How to Get Almost Anyone to Want to Sleep With You which she performed at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2007[9] and at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2008[10] where she also hosted The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow.[11]

Frances-White's recent shows have been more personal. Cult Following (2012) dealt with her experiences as a teenage Jehovah's Witness,[12] Half a Can of Worms (2013) was about tracking down her biological family[13] and Friend of a Friend of Dorothy (2015) was about feminism, sexism and homophobia.[14]

Frances-White has continued to develop new improvisation formats. Voices in Your Head is a show which allows comedians, improvisers and actors to create comedy characters while the audience watches. Guests have included Phill Jupitus, Sara Pascoe, Russell Tovey, Mike McShane and Hannibal Buress.[15] In 2015 she created The Beau Zeaux a long-form improvised comedy featuring a rotating cast including Marcus Brigstocke, Thom Tuck, Rachel Parris, Brendan Murphy, Ed Coleman, Milly Thomas and Pippa Evans.[16] Guests have included Russell Tovey[17] and Dan Starkey.

Her BBC Radio 4 series Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice was first broadcast in spring 2015[18] and featured stories about her adoption, green card marriage, and the quest to find her biological family. The episodes were titled "Half a Can of Worms", "Cult Following", "Visa Issues" and "Who's Your Daddy"? In January 2016, the show won Frances-White the Writers' Guild of Great Britain award for "Best Radio Comedy".[19] A second series was first broadcast in autumn 2016.[20]

On television, Frances-White has appeared as a guest on Mock the Week, Have I Got News for You, Politics Live and Tonight With Vladimir Putin.[21]

With Sofie Hagen, she created the podcast The Guilty Feminist. She is also the creator and host of the podcast Global Pillage, a comedy panel show. In 2019, The Guilty Feminist and Amnesty International joined forces for the Secret Policeman’s Tour, consisting of three shows with comedy, music and discussion, all in support of human rights.[22]

Corporate work[edit]

Frances-White regularly appears at corporate events speaking about confidence, charisma, diversity and sexism.[23] Her TEDx talk on Charisma vs Stage-Fright[24] was cited by James Caan as the secret of his presenting skills.[25]


With her writing partner Philippa Waller, Frances-White contributed two episodes of Young Dracula in 2014.[21] She has co-written two books: The Improv Handbook with Tom Salinsky[26] and Off the Mic with Marsha Shandur,[27] both published by Bloomsbury. She writes for Standard Issue Magazine.[28] In 2018, Virago published The Guilty Feminist, a spin-off from her podcast.[29] Her debut feature film, the comedy thriller Say My Name,[30] premiered on 19 March 2019.


Frances-White became a Jehovah's Witness while still a teenager. Her years in the religion and how she left it were the focus of her 2012 Edinburgh Fringe stand-up comedy show and two of the episodes of her BBC Radio 4 show Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice.[18][31]


  1. ^ Rudd, Matt (26 August 2018). "Exclusive interview: Deborah Frances-White, the creator of the Guilty Feminist podcast, on how to crush the patriarchy". The Times. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Deborah Frances-White Rolls The Dice Episode Guide". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  3. ^ [] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 10 November 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Deborah". Archived from the original on 13 August 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  5. ^ Grady, Kitty (1 November 2018). "The Guilty Feminist: 'Laughing at somebody robs them of power'". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  6. ^ "On my radar: Deborah Frances-White's cultural highlights". The Guardian. 9 September 2018. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  7. ^ "History - The Spontaneity Shop". The Spontaneity Shop. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  8. ^ Deans, Jason (27 October 2004), "ITV pilots improvised dating show", The Guardian, London
  9. ^ Bennett, Steve (27 April 2008). "Deborah Frances-White: How to Get Almost Anyone to Want to Sleep with You". Chortle. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  10. ^ Kent, Melissa (23 March 2008), "Venus and Mars, bah! Dating a man is easy", The Age, Melbourne
  11. ^ "Deborah Frances-White". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  12. ^ Richardson, Jay (21 August 2012), "Comedy review: Deborah Frances-White: Cult Following, Assembly Roxy", The Scotsman, Edinburgh
  13. ^ Bijleveld, Celine (20 September 2013), "I tracked down my biological family online: 'It was like a treasure hunt'", The Guardian, London
  14. ^ "Friend of a Friend of Dorothy". The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. 29 August 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Voices in Your Head". Soho Theatre. 4 February 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  16. ^ "The Beau Zeaux". So Television. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  17. ^ "The Beau Zeaux". Etcetera Theatre. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice (Series 1)". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Writers Guild Award Winners". Writers Guild of Great Britain. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice: "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" Series 2". BBC Radio 4. 7 October 2016.
  21. ^ a b "Deborah Frances-White: Filmography". IMDb. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  22. ^ "News: Amnesty & Guilty Feminist Team Up for Secret Policeman Shows". Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  23. ^ "Deborah Frances-White Live in the West End!". 21 January 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  24. ^ "TedxTalks". Charisma versus Stage Fright. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  25. ^ Caan, James (8 October 2015). "Wonder where I got my presenting skills from?". Twitter. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  26. ^ The Improv Handbook. ASIN 0826428584.
  27. ^ Off the Mic: The World's Best Stand-Up Comedians Get Serious About Comedy. ASIN 1472526384.
  28. ^ "Standard Issue Magazine". Standard Issue. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  29. ^ Frances-White, Deborah (2018), The guilty feminist : from our noble goals to our worst hypocrisies, Virago, ISBN 978-0-349-01014-4
  30. ^ "Say My Name". Retrieved 4 July 2020 – via
  31. ^ "Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice (Series 2)". BBC. Retrieved 15 October 2016.

External links[edit]