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Image courtesy of Micheal Wharley

Drama alumna Samantha Baines triumphs at female comedy awards

Exeter alumna Samantha Baines (Drama 2008) has been named Best Newcomer at the What the Frock! Awards 2015, an organisation which celebrates outstanding, up-and-coming female talent in comedy.

What the Frock! launched their first comedy evening in 2012, which aimed to showcase talented female comedians working in the industry. Since then, What the Frock! has expanded its reach, organising over 20 events nationwide every year, and working with over 100 gifted female performers.

Samantha, who has a growing portfolio of work in stand-up comedy, film and theatre, received the accolade in April at the What the Frock! Best Newcomer award ceremony in Bristol. Samantha commented: “it is always lovely to win something and it's so nice to know that I am heading in the right direction. Hopefully it will encourage the opinion that I might be funny and get me a few more gigs and perhaps even encourage other ladies to give comedy a go! What the Frock! is a great comedy competition that supports female talent in the comedy industry and I was really honoured to win.” It comes as Samantha’s film debut, A Royal Night Out, is showing in cinemas. The film, in which Samantha plays Mary, is a period drama which depicts Princess Elizabeth’s and Margaret’s celebrations on VE day in 1945.

After completing her degree in Drama at the University of Exeter, Samantha trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She then participated in fringe theatre and began to appear in various comedic roles in television, such as Lee Nelson’s Well Funny People and Hank Zipzer: The World's Greatest Underachiever. Since then, Samantha’s venture into stand-up comedy has been praised: “I started stand-up comedy a year and a half ago after putting it off for a year because I wasn't brave enough. Last year I was lucky enough to be in the Funny Women Award Final for stand up.” Samantha also has two weekly shows on Hoxton Radio and Wandsworth Radio, as well as guest spots on Radio 4, XFM and BBC London.

Samantha states her comedic influencers as Sarah Silverman and Lee Evans, as well as recognising Drama at Exeter for giving her “a wonderful foundation for acting and performing”: “studying Drama at Exeter was just the best experience… People are still so impressed with my Drama degree from Exeter and ask me if I was ever taught by some of the illustrious teaching alumni. There are also so many Exeter Drama alumni working in the industry and it’s nice to reminisce together.”

Of her career to date, she continues “there have been amazing times and incredibly hard times. I have sat at home crying and emailing people my work with no responses and the next month I have been flown to foreign countries for glamorous film shoots. It's a very random life as an actor and comedian!”

For more information, please visit What the Frock! and Samantha Baines’ website.


Date: 9 June 2015

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