Interview with TheComedyLocal, NYC

Philippa Dawson, an English graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York, performs Monday, June 6, 2016, in "What's your Fracking Problem," an original comedy, featuring sketches, monologues and interpretive dance. The show, written by Charly Clive and Will McDowell, benefits The Pituitary Foundation.

What do you get to do in this show?

I will be acting in two sketches written by Charly Clive. I’m playing an NYU student, someone who we can all probably say, ‘Oh yeah… I know that girl!’ Someone who thinks themselves to be free spirited, at one with the planet and culturally aware, but really is learning everything on Wikipedia and Twitter. She has strong beliefs but doesn’t quite understand why she believes in certain things, and contradicts herself when she speaks. Oh, but she’s very funny and great —I love her!

Ah! We do all know that girl, and the comedic possibilities are endless. Tell us more about the show itself.

It’s going to be a great night! Charly Clive and Will McDowell are two of the funniest people I know. I was lucky enough to perform in a play last year that Charly wrote, “On Prosperity” and it was so fantastic — I can’t wait to be involved in her work again! The humour is going to be very on topic and relatable, plus … I find female comedians very inspiring and I think it’s great when there is a large level of support.

The night will be raising money for the Pituitary Foundation. Earlier this year Charly underwent surgery for a brain tumour, which is exactly what this charity helps with. This foundation is very close to home, and one that we all support. (Oh, also there’s going to be an interpretative dance performed by Will—definitely not to miss!!)

Did you perform improv or sketch comedy in England? What’s improv like over there? I mean, there’s no “UCB Liverpool” (yet).

Most of the acting I have done, has been here in New York. When I was last in London I tried to get to know the acting scene there and meet some people in the industry—as far as I could see, there wasn’t a great deal of improv. Anyone who said they loved improv explained it to me, and it wasn’t at all like the UCB training or the Harold structure etc, and more like games. If I went back to London for a longer period of time I would definitely try to start an improv troupe up and get people interested!

You studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, which included training in dance, camera, singing, fencing, stage combat and clowning. I think a quarter of improvisers have degrees in literature, and the stage presence of a wind chime.

Do you use all these skills when you improvise?

Gosh, I try to, but in improvising there is so much going on, I find it’s best to not think (even though, of course, I do!) as that makes it all so much harder. I definitely think training in improv at UCB has helped build my confidence in a much larger way than at drama school. One skill however that I do use all of the time, is my speech and dialect training. I love dipping in and out of accents, I have a habit of giving each character I play a different dialect.

How do your fellow improvisers react? What does it do for a scene?

A girl once told me that she couldn’t really focus on the scene or watch what was going on because she was so confused that I had changed into an American girl from Brit. I took that as a nice compliment for my American accent, but perhaps such a large distraction isn’t great for improv. It’s about the group as a whole, and not one person. 

Do you have a tip or two for improvisers who don’t have acting training? (Sometimes, I forget to face the audience.)

Don’t worry! I have found that with improv, acting skills aren’t the most important thing. It helps with stage details and accents and maybe confidence, but fast thinking and great timing is something we didn’t learn at acting school. Anyone can do improv if they put their mind to it and work hard.

Follow Philippa Dawson on Twitter at @probablypip


Read Article and more NYC Comedy News by TheComedyLocal -


Cast as Shelley in 'What's Your Fracking Problem?'

Written, produced and directed by the talented Charly Clive and Will McDowell, Philippa will be playing one of the lead roles as Shelley. What's Your Fracking Problem is an original comedy, performed at the Kinfolk 94 Centre in Williamsburg, NYC. In aid of the Pituitary Foundation. June 2016 

Cast as Lead in NYU Short 'A Mother'

Philippa has been cast as the lead role of Evie Pacquet in Matthew Park's NYU Thesis Film 'A Mother'. The Film tells the story of a young English girl who travels to New York in search of her birth mother, but her biggest discovering is something she had to learn, rather than find.
Footage and Stills to follow.

Upright Citizens Brigade Improv

Philippa has enrolled at the renowned UCB Training Centre in NY, set up by Amy Poehler and the original UCB 4. She will be taking Improv 101, taught by Molly Thomas (Seth Myers Late Show).
Graduation Show at the UCB Chelsea Theatre, Jan 30th at 4pm.

Philippa completed the 2015 NYC Marathon

Raising over $2600 for the New York TFK Charity, Philippa completed her first Marathon, 26.2 miles, in 4 Hours and 45 Minutes.  She would like to thank everyone who generously supported and sponsored her!!

Brilliant reviews following The Report's success

**** - TIMEOUT

'Actors are excellent' - NY TIMES

'Philippa Dawson is heartbreaking as a young wife who, in the midst of communal grief, is forced to deal with a second tragedy.' -

'Even under stressful conditions, the cast gave a committed performance and held the audience for two hours.' -

‘All cast members give remarkable performances,’ -

'The cast adds another dimension with their nuanced and layered performances.' -

‘A solid company of youthful actors, many of them from the United Kingdom’ -

Martin Casella wins the Outstanding Playwriting Award at FringeNYC for THE REPORT -

The Report

Philippa is delighted to be making her official New York Stage debut in the new play 'The Report' by Martin Casella, (The Irish Curse, Play It Cool) directed Alan Maraoka, (Kung Fu, American Songbook; Ann Harada, Sesame Street).  'The Report' examines the true and unknown story of the British Government's covering up of the largest civilian tragedy of WWII, which occurred in London's Underground system.

This new, incredibly moving play will open at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre on August 15th.

Timeout - The Top 28 shows to see at this years NYC Fringe Festival


Philippa was cast in a featured role in 'Vandal', a short film about a young girl, seeking to be recognised for her talents in the very elite and exclusive art world of New York City. Written by Katya Martín, and directed by Felipe Vara de Rey.  

Vandal Short Film Cover.jpg

On Prosperity

Philippa is thrilled to be working on a brand new play, written by Charly Clive and directed by Jonathan Bolt. She will be originating the role of 'Camilla Arthurs'. This is a bold new about a small town reeling after a senseless tragedy makes national news. @On_Prosperity

Robin Hood

Philippa is incredibly thrilled to be cast in the World Premier of Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn's new musical 'Robin Hood'. The play, is a mix of well-known and loved stories, historic facts and the marvellous wit of Douglas Carter Beane. The musical will be performed in the Lester Martin Theatre and will run from Feb 2nd - 7th.


Philippa is very pleased to have been cast as 'Mary' in Lisa D'Armour's play 'Detroit'.

In a 'first ring' suburb outside a midsize American city, Ben and Mary fire up the grill to welcome the new neighbors who’ve moved into the long-empty house next door.  The fledgling friendship soon veers out of control, shattering the fragile hold that newly unemployed Ben and burgeoning alcoholic Mary have on their way of life—with unexpected comic consequences.  Detroit is a fresh, offbeat look at what happens when we dare to open ourselves up to something new.

Watch the Trailer here - 

'The Night Season'

Philippa has been cast as 'Maud' in the Irish play 'The Night Season' by Rebecca Lenkiewicz and directed by Lisa Milinazzo.

The performance opens at the beginning of October at the Mary MacArthur Theatre.

Watch the trailer here -

An Absolute Turkey

Philippa has been cast in the Acadamy Company's 1st series productions of 'An Absolute Turkey' by George Fedeau, playing 'Madame Pontagnac' and in 'Look Homeward, Angel' by Ketti Frings. 

Philippa is very excited that her director for this play - was originally cast as the lead in the original Broadway production of 'Look Homeward, Angel'