The following is an interview with Sarah Carroll regarding the production, Cherry, at the 2023 Hollywood Fringe Festival. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Carroll about the inspiration behind the production, working with co-writer Nadia Townsend to bring the show to life, how you can purchase tickets, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congrats on the recent launch of Cherry! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this show?
Sarah Carroll: Thank you! Cherry is all about my Katy Perry fangirl life. The show is autobiographical, tracking the moment I discovered Katy Perry in 2008 when “I Kissed A Girl” came out, being a hard core KatyCat on Stan Twitter, following her on tour, meeting her and pin pointing how she was an anchor in my life to help me believe in myself and follow my dreams. It’s my personal thank you card to Katy in solo show form – because why not!
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with co-writer Nadia Townsend to bring this production to life?
SC: I started writing Cherry first by myself during the COVID lockdown (of course, I was); however, this was my first time writing a solo show and I knew I needed support to get it performance ready. I then got on board Nadia Townsend who I had worked with quite closely for a few years and I always admired her work. She said yes (She took some convincing.), and we workshopped the show in January 2022 doing 14-hour days in a scout hall on the Central Coast (Australia).We did a deep dive into this world of Katy Perry and obsessive fandoms. Nadia really helped me solidify my ‘why’ for this show, and it was a dream to bounce ideas off and help me structure the show in a way that made sense dramaturgically. I can’t thank her enough for coming on this crazy journey with me to co-write. This process really bought us closer, and Nadia is someone I want with me for life throughout this whole process. We just gel and work really well together. She gets me and these are the kinds of people you need in this industry by your side. I’m really grateful.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that your story may connect with and impact audiences?
SC: My story deep dives into the world of obsessive fandoms and also growing up in the early 2000s being a queer, mixed-race teen. A lot of the work I create has this bubblegum pop aesthetic, and I always want to make sure audiences laugh and feel joy. I strive to create work where I didn’t see myself represented, and the best part of it is when it resonates with audiences. I’ve had people message me or come up to me after the show and say it made them feel seen and that’s really important for me. It’s why I create the work and if it can impact at least one person per night, that’s better than nothing.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for this production?
SC: Fringe is the perfect environment for this show, as Fringe fosters this environment where you can test new work and also engage with new audiences. My show does often break the fourth wall and there are also a bunch of interactive elements, and I find Fringe audiences are more on board to join in on the fun and just have a go! I also went to Vegas last year to tell Katy about the show – she was touched, so here’s hoping bringing it to LA specifically means Katy or her team can see it that would be the Cherry on top!
BD: The show is appearing at Thymele Arts throughout June. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
SC: I feel lucky that I have already had successful seasons of this show back in Australia doing the rounds on the Fringe circuit. After Hollywood Fringe, I would have performed this show almost 30 times. I’m a little tired; however, I do have a one-off show planned back in Sydney, and then I want to take some time off to start adapting the show for a mini-series for screen.
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
SC: Yes! Besides looking out for Cherry the screen adaption, I am also working on writing a new series called Untouched which is all about first kisses and navigating life as a late bloomer. It will be very camp and funny! Follow me on socials (@_sarahleigh) to keep updated.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Cherry?
SC: You can follow the show on socials (@cherrytheshow) for Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. We have one show left (Saturday, June 24th, at 10:15 p.m.). You can purchase tickets here.