Sofie Hagen on coping with anxiety and her new stand-up tour

Photo: Andrew McGibbon

Photo: Andrew McGibbon

Edinburgh Comedy Best Newcomer 2015 award winner Sofie Hagen is not a woman who is afraid to speak her mind on the topics which sit close to her heart. Topics which many may find uncomfortable to open up about. Her blog and podcast are implicitly honest, discussing all of the topics which her current show Shimmer Shatter, and her former show Bubblewrap explore. Initially I felt a little nervous to interview such a confident woman; however I soon learned that there is a lot more to Sofie Hagen than her honest demeanour.

Copenhagen born Sofie first came to life on the comedy circuit in 2010, she now lives in London and is touring her show Shimmer Shatter around the UK stopping at the Engine Shed, Lincoln on the 17th November. Shimmer Shatter focuses on ‘anxiety and depression, not being able to function as a human in social situations, at parties and crowds, not knowing what to say and generally being an introvert.’ Topics which many people may experience at some time in their life and can relate to on a very personal level.

“I would definitely describe myself as an introvert” Sofie admits, something which I find particularly interesting, an introvert performing comedy in front of big audiences, a little ironic? Sofie found this concept slightly amusing herself.

“I guess it is ironic, however when I am on stage, I feel a lot more comfortable than when I am in small groups and crowds. When I am on stage I know what I am going to say, and people are listening.” This explains why I felt confused to learn that Sofie was not as confident as I initially thought, as her writing style, her podcasts and her stage performances expel such confidence; to learn that there is a hidden layer within Sofie makes her all the more endearing, alongside her unique view on the world.

Photo: Per Bix

Photo: Per Bix

“Wouldn’t the world be so much easier if we knew that when we see people we are only going to speak about 3 topics and we can practice what we will say.” An idea I find fascinating – imagine if all social situations were like stage shows, we meet, we perform our pre-rehearsed pieces, they laugh, we feel good and then we walk away. But the world isn’t like that, and for many, social interactions, no matter how big or small can feel very daunting, something which Sofie admits she experiences.

“I suffer from anxiety, and going to gigs can freak me out. It helps to sit in certain seats. I want to see if venues that I’m visiting on my tour will accommodate anxiety.”

Not only is Sofie’s material relevant to those suffering with mental health disorders, but she is also going to the extra effort of ensuring the venues on her tour are anxiety safe, so what does ‘anxiety safe’ mean?

Sofie offers an email address where people can contact her personally and request a number of specific details which will help them feel less anxious whilst visiting the venues on her tour.

“People can contact me and I will talk to the venue and organise for them to feel as comfortable as possible during my show.”

No issue seems to be too big or small to Sofie, she wants to help people and is clearly on a mission to communicate with venues and find a way to ensure everybody is happy, whether this be to let certain groups in before everybody else, ‘I will walk people in and seat people in certain places myself’, or to ensure people can stand where they would feel most comfortable, Sofie seems to be much more than a fantastic stand up performer, but also a very considerate host and inspirational role model for those dealing with the issues she discusses.

Sofie is performing at the Engine Shed on the 17th November at 8pm.

Doors open at 7.30pm, show starts at 8pm.

Tickets are still available from http://www.engineshed.co.uk/

If you feel you may wish to contact Sofie in regards to making this venue more anxiety-safe for you, please email Sofie at anxietytour2016@gmail.com

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