Cancer survivor's bid to take show to Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Louise McEvoy

Louise McEvoy | 20 Apr 2022, 18:18

A bowel cancer survivor who has written a one-woman comedy show on the back of her experience is determined to take it to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.

Sarah Mills, who is a former pupil of The Barclay School in Stevenage, was diagnosed with Stage 3C cancer in 2018.

She said: “These were the most traumatic months of my life.

“My surgery was successful in removing the cancer, but I developed an infection and required emergency surgery a few days later, which left me using a stoma bag.

“I have had two more major abdominal surgeries since, as doctors have tried to correct complications – fistulas and hernias – that have developed as a result of these initial surgeries.

“The intent is to reverse my stoma, although doctors are not confident this will be possible now. I will need at least two more surgeries to finish this process.

“I have always wanted to write and perform comedy, and this experience spurred me on to write a one-woman show called Badass – my own personal love note to the NHS – which I was developing for the Edinburgh Festival 2020, before lockdown shut everything down.”

Sarah says the show tells her story “in all its painfully funny, gory detail”, as she “adjusts to life with a disability and the newfound knowledge she can’t even trust her own bum not to kill her”.

Sarah, who developed the script into a sitcom pilot which won the BAFTA Rocliffe Award for TV Comedy 2020, has now been offered a slot at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the whole of August. She said: “This offer is more than I could ever have dreamed of, and comes off the back of years of hard work honing my story and forming my application.

“Since my cancer diagnosis, I have campaigned emphatically to raise awareness of the plight of the NHS, and this show is no exception. Having been in and out of hospital for four years, I have witnessed first-hand the under-staffing and obstacles patients face in getting on a care pathway.

“I think my show is important, but I can’t launch this project without help. To do a show in Edinburgh is really expensive.” To support Sarah and make a donation, visit gofundme.com/f/help-sarah-get-to-the-edinburgh-fringe.