Q&A with Fat Chance creator and performer Rachel Stockdale

21 Mar 2024


Actor Rachel Stockdale talks about Fat Chance, her funny, politically powerful one-woman play exploring her true-life experiences of weight gain and the challenges she’s faced while carving out her career.

What inspired your new show Fat Chance?

“The idea came from an encounter I had on my honeymoon. I’d been on a ridiculous diet for the wedding, decided to have some white carbs on the holiday and, in a moment of joy, chose not to wear any Spanx with my white maxi dress. We walked into a beautiful restaurant in Lake Bled (Slovenia) and the waiter said ‘table for two? Soon it’ll be three, no?’ looking down at my belly. I froze in place with shock and then sat down and ranted at my husband about women’s bodies and people’s judgement of them and how you are always pressured to take up less space. Then I ordered a bottle of wine and texted my now dramaturg, Laura Lindow, with what became the start of the play.”

What can people expect to see when they book tickets for the show in our Bramall Rock Void?

“They can expect a dark comedy peppered with high camp joy and original songs. Fat Chance is an exploration of fatphobia, classism and feminism as a fat, northern, benefit class woman. It’s a celebration of our differences and how they make us unique.”

What makes the story so relatable for a lot of people?

“We’re telling a story that needs to be told. Fatphobia is so rooted in everything we do; we congratulate people for starving themselves and shame people for taking up space. The current Ozempic epidemic (buying diabetes medication privately), for example, shows the desire to lose weight at the expense of long-term health. Also, there is no fat representation on stage – and on screen it’s generally straight size actors in fat suits.”

How are audiences reacting to the show?

“People have told me they found it really powerful and that they laughed and cried! The best thing I’ve heard is people telling me they’re no longer going to diet after seeing the show. It seems to resonate with lots of different types of people. It highlights the pressure we put on ourselves to look a certain way and be accepted, and everyone reacts in their own way.”

How much research did you do before writing the script?

“I did a lot of research with the Fat Performance Network in lockdown, curating fat performance timelines and a workbook about fatphobia, fat activism and performance. In another sense, not much, because it’s my life story!”

Do you think solo shows are becoming more popular?

“I think we had to lean into them because of the pandemic – and funding also limits cast sizes. In this case, I always wanted to make Fat Chance a one-woman play. It’s a dynamic, all singing, all dancing, mad little show that showcases all the different aspects of me and my personality.”

What’s next for you?

Jonluke McKie (Director of Fat Chance) and I are collaborating on another project, exploring Class Confessions. Expect more pop culture references, dark comedy and politics through a benefit class lens.”


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

    Caddick Group
  • Principal Access Partner

    Irwin Mitchell