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Finding Melania

Denise Stephenson


Categories: Theater, Comedy & Improv

Dates: September 12, 2023 - September 17, 2023

Run Time: 60 mins

Venue: Proscenium Theatre at the Drake


Finding Melania is a solo show merging dark clowning, surreal metaphors and utter silliness in an exploration of authoritarian and populist regimes and our complicite in enabling them to exist and continue.

Melania, still lurking around in the bowels of the White House, invites us into her lonely world, where she takes us through the pains and gains of what it really means to “stand by your man”. 

Created and performed by Denise Stephenson. Directed by Sarah Calver.

Performed to sold out houses at the Edinburgh Festival, Bergen Fringe Festival, The Wardrobe Theatre Bristol, Camden People’s Theatre, Canal Cafe and The Rosemary Branch Theatre in London UK.

Described by the Scotsman:

‘The masterful Denise Stephenson’s surreal comic creation inspired by former First Lady Melania Trump is an otherworldly treat… ” ****

“A strangely compelling presence, whether lovingly stroking the walls of the tiny room in which she’s performing or barking commands at the audience” – The Stage

“This is a piece of clown surrealism worth experiencing.” – The Wee Review

Finding Melania is a female-led collaborative project led by Denise Stephenson with director and dramaturg Sarah Calver. The work is produced by Ellandar Productions, a new multidisciplinary theatre company committed to pursuing diverse and inclusive work, both in form and content. 


Note: the Sept. 11 performance of this show has been canceled.


About the Artist

Denise Stephenson is an actor, writer and clown. She has worked in Theatre, Film and Televison for 30 years appearing most recently in Simon Pegg's Truth Seekers for Amazon TV.  After many years working across all media she enrolled at LISPA to study Lecoq training and since then has been writing and creating new work. She has been developing Finding Melania with Sarah Calver since 2019 and has performed the show at Edinburgh Festival, Bergen Fringe Festival, The Wardrobe Theatre Bristol, Camden People's Theatre, Canal Cafe and The Rosemary Branch Theatre in London UK. 

Sarah Calver is a theatre maker, director, dramaturg and movement director. She works in various capacities in the creation and development of new work and adaptation with a focus on devised, collaborative and interdisciplinary work. She also works with puppets. With an interest in working with the subversive, the dark and the ridiculous and in working across genres; often with clowns, with movement and with documentary, she has collaborated with a range of artists across a range of projects in the UK and internationally.

She trained at Lecoq and The Central School of Speech and Drama. She is founder and Artistic Director of Flight of The Escales Theatre Company - an international collective making new work for theatre and film. 


  • Denise StephensonPerformer- creator
  • Sarah CalverDirector - dramaturg

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