Sophie Willan is a Care Leaver, whose personal experiences have informed her mission; to empower, represent and advocate for care-experienced young people and marginalised children and adults.
Whether it’s through her own work, as a multi-award winning comedian, writer, theatre-maker and actress, or through participatory-lead outreach, Sophie is passionate about instigating positive social change through the arts.
Sophie had already built a reputation as a highly regarded, socially engaged arts practitioner and producer when she founded Stories Of Care; filled with love and anger, she felt compelled to do something big to challenge the Tory attack on the welfare state and the inadequate and insufficient representation of people like her and the people she knows and loves; care-leavers, welfare recipients, working class women, mental health and social service users.
Not only does she feel passionate about making her own creative work with Stories Of Care, she’s deeply committed to supporting other care-experienced and underrepresented artists to become creative leaders in their own right, and make personal and political work, that smashes through the glass ceilings across Theatre, Radio, Stand-Up, Television and Literature.
She is dedicated to offering long-term developmental support to the Stories Of Care participants, continually sourcing and providing opportunities and offering long-term mentor support, even after they’ve completed their participation in a Stories Of Care project.
As an Executive Producer on her BBC Two sitcom, Alma’s Not Normal, Sophie has also instigated a paid training programme for young people from low income and Care Experienced backgrounds on the production.
The trainees will work, full time and be paid at living wage, in specific departments across the programme including producing, art, costume, makeup, camera, location and production.
Alma’s Not Normal, has also delivered an extensive open audition process, to make sure working class actors from Bolton feature heavily in the show. The show also features one Stories Of Care’s, Young Company Members, Susie Hadaway, in her first television role.