Creative Spotlight | Carolyn Swindell
Published on 17 October 2022
Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make
I am a writer, stand-up comedian and live comedy producer. I write fiction, narrative non-fiction and scripts for live performance and am the Founder and Producer of the Hunters Hill Comedy and Cocktail Festival. I’m ABC Radio’s sometime cocktail expert, following my four years writing about cocktails and popular culture at www.shakestirmuddle.com
How does your personal history, culture or experience inform your work?
I had a long career in the corporate sector – jobs where I wore high heels and pantyhose and had a mobile phone permanently glued to my ear – before venturing into stand-up comedy ridiculously late at age 49. I think that work history – and the teensy bit of wisdom I’ve managed to accrue with age – have been very influential in the sort of comedy I do, and also how I do it. I don’t wing it, I’m researched, prepped and rehearsed before everything I do. And I record everything and try to learn from it.
What is a creative project that you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of? Why?
In late April 2022 I ran a sell-out season of a show – Nice Lady MP - at the Sydney Comedy Festival which felt at the time like a huge creative leap. It was more theatre than stand-up and drew on my experience in working as a political advisor and examined the role of female MPs in the Federal Liberal Party. It ran just a few weeks before the Federal election and received some excellent reviews and audience responses. It was a risk for me creatively to move away from strict stand-up but absolutely paid off and has given me the confidence to continue to do things that scare me.
I’ve also published a book of 23 stories from unpublished writers over 50 – including several local writers. It’s called Analogue and all proceeds go to addressing homelessness in older women in NSW. It’s a great read for a great cause (and cheap!). Buy a copy here https://bear-mandarin-l4g8.squarespace.com/
What creative projects are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished a run at the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival and am now turning to the final edit stage of my novel We Only Want What’s Best which is being published by Affirm Press in March 2023. I have worked on this novel for years – about 6 I think – and received so many knock-backs and had to rework it so many times to get it picked up by a publisher and it feels almost unreal that it is finally happening.
Do you have any top tips for emerging artists and creatives just starting out?
Ask for that opportunity. Be impatient.
We always love recommendations! Who are some other local artists we should check out?
Marty Bright is a fabulous stand-up comedian who has taught me a lot. He’s a local boy too, growing up in Ryde.
Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?
I also have the world’s worst website: www.carolynswindell.com