A familiar face at the deaf and disabled arts festival, the Bebington-raised performer has taken part since the first event in 2001. But the new show, the story of a wheelchair user trying to break into the world of comedy that draws on many of Liz’s real life experiences.
“It’s heartfelt, funny, and very challenging – being an actor and a comedian at the same time,” she said. “The play was born out of the idea of a disabled woman trying to make her way in mainstream comedy. It was about putting out there some of the experiences I had, just for people to observe my journey.”
Liz, 37, was born in Port Sunlight and went to Upton Convent before becoming a full-time wheelchair user and transferring to Birkenhead High, which could better accommodate her needs as a disabled person. She has lived in London for the past five years, but previously broke into comedy as part of Liverpool sketch troupe Nasty Girls.
“We had an absolute ball, taking the mick out of what it’s like to be a disabled person and we did really well,” she said. “But three disabled women? When it came to the critics, we got panned.”
In London, she became involved in a similar company, Abnormally Funny People.
“There wasn’t ever any great plan to take on the world of comedy, I had no great desire to be a comic,” she said. “I’m a night person, and I know I can be funny, so it appealed to me in that way. It’s all been more about proving myself to me and other people. Although any comic will tell you when it goes well, when you make the audience laugh and forget themselves for a little bit, there’s no job like it.”
She has been performing solo stand up for four years.
“It’s often about saying things other people know but don’t say, especially around disability. There’s a lot of pussyfooting around,” she said. “I wheel onto the stage and I look a bit freaky, I know that. The next stage is whether I’m funny. People think ‘do I laugh, is it patronising to laugh – can I go to the bar?’. It’s palpable, I know people are thinking these things, and what I’ve learned I can do now most of the time is quickly acknowledge what’s going on, relax the audience and get them to take me on.”
It Hasn’t Happened Yet! is on at the Unity Theatre on Saturday, November 21.