“It’s totally okay to be a silly adult if that’s what you want to be.” | Katie Pritchard on the songs and silliness at the heart of Hysterical Histories

Tell us about your show, Hysterical Histories.

Hysterical Histories is a high-octane musical comedy tour of all of my favourite things History! We travel through time, and I attempt to bring history to life LIVE before your very eyes with some VERY (not very) high budget hand made costumes, super catchy music, and some death-defyng feats of acting.

This show has something for everyone, and I encourage anyone who loves history to come along, regardless of age (it’s not just for kids)!

I have so much fun doing the show, and learning about history, and watching people react as I present my very definitely facts about history! Warning: Some of the facts might be new facts that you’ve never heard before, and that’s because I’ve made them up. 

What inspired you to write a show about historical figures?

I just used to love history as a kid. I was always in the Roman museum in St Albans learning facts and collecting very realistic Roman coins every week. I would also prance around like historical figures after school most days. So, writing a comedy show about history was inevitable really.

I just had so much material about history because I kept finding myself looking up things I had learnt at school to see if I remembered them correctly. Also, there’s something so fascinating about history, and sometimes we don’t get to explore the periods of history that we want to at school – which is why I didn’t take it as a subject after year 9.

And, most of me was thinking, well, if I like learning about history still at my age because I didn’t feel like I learnt about everything I wished I had at school, then I am most likely not the only one. It is also really fun to see kids in the audience enjoying history, and screaming out gory and hilarious facts throughout the show. We all learn something, and sometimes the parents learn that their kids are incredibly clever, with excellent retention of historical facts. 

What sparked your interest in history?

I don’t know what the initial spark was. But it was definitely somewhere around about year 3. I think it was the Romans that did it! And I grew up so close to some cool Roman stuff (like the A1, and Verulanium) that I think I was lucky as I had access to all these facts about them, and I was like “Okay, so who else in history was cool?” and it went from there really. 

What kind of characters feature in your show?

Well, I won’t give too much away, but I do span a lot of time as the show starts at Stonehenge and ends at Queen Victoria. 

What is your favourite historical figure? Why?

I do think I love King Henry VIII. The things he got up to are hilarious! I know, at the time it would have been incredibly scary to be his girlfriend, but now that it’s a few hundred years ago, we can look back and laugh at this man that was just living his best life. He could do whatever he wanted because he was King, and so, that’s what he did.

I just find him so fascinating. And all of the Tudor period really. It is incredible when you look at the family trees, and research into all the disputes both family blood-line wise, and also religious. It is so fascinating. 

Do you have a system for pairing up characters with songs?

Not really. I try to make sure I choose a song which can hold extra jokes for the character for people that know the song or the writer or performer of the song. But, mostly the ideas will come fairly organically. If I can write the first draft of the song in 10 minutes, I know that I’ve chosen the right song. 

What do you hope people take away from your show?

I hope that they have an awesome time, and laugh a lot (hopefully), and remember all of their favourite parts of history from when they were growing up.

It should be fun and perhaps a little nostalgic for the adults as they re-learn things that they learnt at school – I’ve had people messaging me after the show to say that they then went to a museum or read a book or website on their favourite part of history. Which is the best!

And for the kids, I hope that they have an awesome time, they get to show off some facts, they laugh, and they realise how cool learning can be. This may sound a bit silly, but sometimes I meet kids and they’ve been told not to be silly so many times that they become incredibly serious and they perhaps don’t engage with their subjects because they are learning them as facts, and they’re not being brought to life enough to make them engage with them. I hate that so much. So, I want to do the opposite.

I also would love for kids to understand that there are a lot of times and places to be serious, but that it’s also totally okay to be a silly adult if that’s what you want to be.

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to at the Funny Things festival?

Oh there are so many awesome shows on this year! But I can’t wait to see Ben Van Der Velde, and Paul McGarrity. 

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into comedy?

DO IT!!! Stop dillydallying and give it a go! You’re not going to know how you feel about it until you get up on that stage a few times and give it a go! If you’ve tried it a few times and you love it – just know that it can sometimes be quite hard as a career path, but if you love it, then just try to remember why you love it and use that as motivation to keep going.

Only you can be in charge of your own comedy at the start, so don’t make any excuses about it, and just get yourself to an open mic night, sign up, do your jokes, meet some new people also dipping their toe into comedy, and HAVE FUN!!!

You got this!

Katie is performing Hysterical Histories on October 30th.

Book your ticket here.

Find out more about the Funny Things Festival here.

You can keep up with other stuff Katie has going on by checking out her website and following her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.