Fat Chance – a funny, politically powerful one-woman play exploring fatphobia and class stigma

29 Feb 2024


Rachel Stockdale, a fat, benefit class northern actor is inviting anyone who’s ever put on or lost weight, anyone who had free school meals and anyone who feels they ‘don’t fit’ to join her for her celebratory one-woman play Fat Chance in our Bramall Rock Void on 5-6 April.

This funny and politically powerful show explores her true-life experience of weight gain from size 8 to 18, and the challenges she has faced along the way in her effort to carve out a career as an actor.

Rachel explained: “Fat Chance condenses my twenties into a show that examines everything from the changing relationship I’ve had with my body to other people’s fear of fatness and class stigma.”

She grew up in a single parent family on benefits in central Middlesbrough – officially one of the most underprivileged areas in the UK – where, at the age of seven, she decided she wanted to become an actor. She went on to graduate from Academy of Live and Recorded Arts after gaining a scholarship.

“Since then, in my career as a professional actor I’ve been told by top agents that even though I have talent I’m ‘too fat, Northern and female,” she said. “Fat Chance is a funny, reflective look at my life and struggles to succeed in an industry that doesn’t want to represent people like me.”

The tour has been made possible with funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with kind support from Northern Stage in Newcastle.

The creative team comprises Writer & Performer Rachel Stockdale; Director Jonluke McKie; Producer Chloe Stott; Dramaturg Laura Lindow; Lighting & AV Designer Simon Cole; Sound Design & Composer Roma Yagnik; Set & Costume Designer Amy Watts; Touring Stage Manager Kylie Ann Ford; Vocal Coach Pippa Anderson; and Marketing Support Shannon Rewcroft.

More info

Rachel Stockdale is a fat, benefit class Actor & Theatre-maker from Middlesbrough, in the top 1% of underprivileged areas in the UK. She trained at National Youth Theatre, Northumbria University and ALRA North.

As a writer/performer, Rachel has been selected as a BBC Development Fund Comedy Creative 2023 and is working on adapting her work for screen. Her work includes the five-star Fat Chance (The Pleasance, Edinburgh Fringe); Tub Time (Northern Stage); the award-winning Bin Day (BBC iPlayer) and Coal Girls (Oldham Coliseum).

Acting credits:
Rachel was recently the voice of Newcastle United on TNT Sports. Other credits include Scar Top (BBC Radio 4); The Black Prince (Netflix); Black Dark (Live Theatre); Dick Whittington (Harrogate Theatre) The Twa Sisters (Middlesbrough Theatre); A View From The Bridge (Bolton Octagon); 1984 (Oldham Coliseum) and The Visit (Northern Stage).

Directing credits:
Rachel recently won the John Fernald Award for Directing and was Assistant Director on These Majestic Creatures at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Dick Whittington at Harrogate Theatre, the Northern Stage tour of Hound of the Baskervilles and 10 Things To Do In A Small Cumbrian Town at Alphabetti Theatre. She has directed various short plays, rehearsed readings and youth theatre productions across the North, including for the award-winning Live Youth Theatre.

Jonluke McKie is a director and theatremaker based in the North East of England, and a graduate of the National Theatre’s Step Change Programme. Directing credits include Beyond Caring and A Way Home by Christina Castling,10 Things To Do in a Small Cumbrian Town by Hannah Sowerby, Into Thin Air co-created with Alison Davies and Precious Cargo Theatre, The Last Drop and When She Went by Beth Coverdale and One Small Case by Paddy Campbell for Holocaust Memorial Day with Curious Monkey Theatre.

As a theatre maker, Jonluke recently performed his first solo show The Devil Danced in Our Eyes co-written by Jonluke and Allison Davies. Jonluke also works as a freelance drama facilitator, specialising in work with children and young people, collaborating with various organisations including Live Theatre, Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice and Northern Stage.


    Arts Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • LTB Foundation
  • Principal Partner

    Caddick Group
  • Principal Access Partner

    Irwin Mitchell