Deborah Frances-White

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Deborah Frances-White
BornBrisbane, Australia
MediumStand-up, improvisation
NationalityBritish, Australian
Years active2007–present
GenresObservational humour, Self-help, storytelling
Subject(s)Feminism, religion

Deborah Frances-White is a comedian and feminist writer who also delivers seminars to women in business 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.

Early life[edit]

Frances-White was born in Australia and adopted at ten days old.[3] She moved to the UK and attended Oxford University and founded improv theatre company The Spontaneity Shop of which she is a director.[4]


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.[5][6]


After developing a number of improvisation formats at The Spontaneity Shop (including the improvised romantic comedy DreamDate which had a pilot made for ITV[7]), 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[8] and at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2008[9] where she also hosted The Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow.[10]

Frances-White's recent shows have been more personal. Cult Following (2012) dealt with her experiences as a teenage Jehovah's Witness,[11] Half a Can of Worms (2013) was about tracking down her biological family[12] and Friend of a Friend of Dorothy (2015) was about feminism, sexism and homophobia.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15] Guests have included Russell Tovey[16] and Dan Starkey.

Her BBC Radio 4 series Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice was first broadcast in spring 2015[5] and featured stories about her adoption, green card marriage, and 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 Writers Guild of Great Britain awarded her Best Radio Comedy at their annual ceremony.[17] A second series was first broadcast in autumn 2016.[18]

With Sofie Hagen she created the podcast The Guilty Feminist and she is also the creator and host of the podcast Global Pillage.

Corporate work[edit]

Frances-White regularly appears at corporate events speaking about confidence, charisma, diversity and sexism.[19] Her TEDx talk on Charisma vs Stage-Fright[20] was cited by James Caan as the secret of his presenting skills.[21]


With her writing partner Philippa Waller, she contributed an episode of Young Dracula in 2014.[22] She has co-written two books: The Improv Handbook with Tom Salinsky[23] and Off the Mic with Marsha Shandur[24] both published by Bloomsbury. She writes for Standard Issue Magazine.[25] In 2018 The Guilty Feminist, a spin-off from her podcast was published.[26]


  1. ^ Kelley, Trista (1 June 2012). "Barclays Books Comedian to Harness Female Bankers' Secret Power". Bloomberg. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Deborah Frances-White Rolls The Dice Episode Guide". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Deborah". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  4. ^ "About The Spontaneity Shop". The Spontaneity Shop. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice (Series 1)". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice (Series 2)". BBC. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  7. ^ Deans, Jason (27 October 2004), "ITV pilots improvised dating show", The Guardian, London
  8. ^ Bennett, Steve (27 April 2008). "Deborah Frances-White: How to Get Almost Anyone to Want to Sleep with You". Chortle. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  9. ^ Kent, Melissa (23 March 2008), "Venus and Mars, bah! Dating a man is easy", The Age, Melbourne
  10. ^ "Deborah Frances-White". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  11. ^ Richardson, Jay (21 August 2012), "Comedy review: Deborah Frances-White: Cult Following, Assembly Roxy", The Scotsman, Edinburgh
  12. ^ Bijleveld, Celine (20 September 2013), "I tracked down my biological family online: 'It was like a treasure hunt'", The Guardian, London
  13. ^ "Friend of a Friend of Dorothy". The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. 29 August 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Voices in Your Head". Soho Theatre. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  15. ^ "The Beau Zeaux". So Television. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  16. ^ "The Beau Zeaux". Etcetera Theatre. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Writers Guild Award Winners". Writers Guild of Great Britain. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  18. ^ "Deborah Frances-White Rolls the Dice: "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" Series 2". BBC Radio 4. 7 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Deborah Frances-White Live in the West End!". 21 January 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  20. ^ "TedxTalks". Charisma versus Stage Fright. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  21. ^ Caan, James (8 October 2015). "Wonder where I got my presenting skills from?". Twitter. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Young Dracula: Full House". IMDb. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  23. ^ "The Improv Handbook". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Off the Mic: The World's Best Stand-Up Comedians Get Serious About Comedy". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  25. ^ "Standard Issue Magazine". Standard Issue. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  26. ^ Frances-White, Deborah (2018), The guilty feminist : from our noble goals to our worst hypocrisies, Virago, ISBN 978-0-349-01014-4

External links[edit]