No laughing around – a chat with Ilaria Passeri

in Authors & Books/Comedy/Interview/News/Spotlight

Since lockdown / the virus first swept across the world and my local area, people have been forced to look for entertainment that don’t watch Television (I’ve not owned a Television in years) elsewhere. When previously my partner and I would be out watching performers / artists put shows / doing readings etc now we have to look at this from a very different perspective as a audience member.

But what of the artists themselves? As a writer myself, I am used to going to quite a few Literature open mic nights myself and it is interesting to note how are  comedians / storytellers operating in this time which relay on audiences and how now found their approach having to completely change.

Take for example, Manchester based Ilaria Passeri. I first met her at the Sunday Assembly, a Sunday morning reading in Manchester in November last year and was mesmerised by her storytelling which I’ve read described as funny and warm with a touch of nostalgia and a pinch of pepper.

I met her again shortly after for a session for Spoken Label which was released in February of this year when she told me story after story of a show she was planning to run called Lady Ilaria’s drawers in March.

‘I did my show in March with my producer’ She told me in a recent chat ‘and then I was going to be doing another one in May, then June and July and then Camden fringe at the Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar in August but Camden fringe has been cancelled’.

Ilaria tells me in addition “I’ve tweaked the show with my creative producer. I’ve been using this extra time to write stories and essays to use in the show after Lady Ilaria’s Drawers. I’ve been doing gigs at online events. I’ve also been filming stories. I’ve been teaching workshops in writing and drama online to ages 10-19  and lots of cooking!”

Of course Zoom, facebook live and countless other internet readings are the normal and in relation to internet readings she added in relation to doing these “In some ways it’s been lovely. I’ve been able to do some london events without the expensive train ticket and it’s kind of nice that once the gig is over I don’t have to get the tram home late at night. Nothing beats the real thing though and I can’t wait to get back to gigging properly in sweaty rooms in the middle of nowhere filled with characters”

Living in lockdown and Co-Vid 19 myself as a writer has forced me to look at my own writing in a different way and asked about that she concluded “Yes definitely. I think a shift in anything is important react to, in some way. Most of my writing is about my upbringing and growing up and is often related back into being about my family. Recently I’ve thinking about things from a wider perspective. A lot of my stuff is very introspective so I’ve been working on looking further afield, then back to me, then back out”

More about Ilaria can be seen on her website at

Photograph by Andy Hollingworth

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections - the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of 'Spoken Label' - a author / writer chat series and does ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle. His official blog is