Katie Arnstein: Acting in Sexy Lamp

March 9, 2020 by

My name is Katie Arnstein, I am a 28-year-old actor, writer and musician originally from the West Midlands. I am the daughter of 2 now retired teachers, Jane and Tim, and I have 2 sisters, Grace and Lil. I’m a vegan but I’m fun in other ways. I’ve written 3 one-woman storytelling shows which are called Bicycles and Fish, Sexy Lamp and Sticky Door. Each of the shows stand alone as individual pieces or can be seen together as part of the It’s A Girl! trilogy. I started writing my first show out of frustration. I’d had a string of poor auditions for underwritten female parts and wanted to take matters into my own hands.

Sexy Lamp is the semi-autobiographical story about my journey to becoming an actor, an ambition which began at a very young age. My parents rented The Wizard of Oz from our local video hire shop when I was 6 years old, and everything changed. Seeing Judy Garland play Dorothy set me on my own (yellow brick) road to becoming an artist. I studied acting at a regional drama school and moved to London in 2012 to pursue my dreams of becoming an actor. The show uses comedy, storytelling and original songs to tell of the trials and tribulations that awaited me.

Sexy Lamp was inspired by the Sexy Lamp Test which was created by Kelly-Sue DeConnick. The test was created to assess the importance of a female character in a story. Her test is an extremely simple one “if you can replace a female character with a sexy lamp and the plot still functions, it fails”. Once I heard about this test, I started watching television and film with new, wide eyes. Reader, it is unbelievable how many things on our screens fail this test.

Sexy Lamp premiered at VAULT Festival in Waterloo 2019 where it won Show of the Week and Pleasance Pick of VAULT, meaning we were able to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 (where I am delighted to say it got critical acclaim and we had a lovely time!). I am over the moon that we are touring the show around the UK and taking it to so many brilliant venues, including The Other Room at Porter’s in Cardiff.

Some of the issues discussed in the show are serious ones but myself and Sexy Lamp’s creative team: director, Ellen Havard, and producer, Beccy D’Souza, have created a safe space for the audience to come and hear a story that will leave them with a fire in their belly.

The show deals with the sexism and discrimination I have experienced, and it was important for me to discuss these issues because they have been such a huge and often unspoken part of my life. Sexy Lamp, and in fact all three parts of the It’s A Girl! trilogy, discuss the persistent, micro-sexisms that women are faced with on a daily basis. Writing the show has allowed me to examine and stand up against the sexism I have faced and turn it into a force for good.

I hope Sexy Lamp raises questions about consent in public and in workspaces. It challenges how women are treated and how we can stand up for ourselves and each other, particularly those of us who are taught only to be quiet or say yes. I believe Sexy Lamp is an important addition to the ongoing #MeToo conversation. Sexy Lamp is a personal story but one that I hope resonates with many people from many walks of life. It is about experiences I have faced on my own, but by no means am I the only one. It is also a comedy, I promise.

I am so excited to be sharing our show with audiences up and down the UK, it feels like a real privilege. I know how valuable everyone’s time and money is so I endeavour to make the best work that I can to repay them. Theatre is all I have ever really wanted to do. It’s where I feel bravest and I am so excited to share this piece with you.

Sexy Lamp will run at The Other Room at Porter’s, Harlech Court, Bute Terrace, Cardiff, CF10 2FE, from 26th March to 28th March 2020. Tickets are available here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/otherroomtheatre.

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