We’ve seen a lot of creators from the theatre world make their into podcasting over the last few years. For some, it was a result of the pandemic, when podcasts offered a way to continue making stories. But for others, the lure of podcasting is purely about the freedom to speak your mind, and pick the minds of others.
In The Proper Class Podcast, working class and queer actor Laura Checkley and working class theatre director Hannah Chissick discuss and celebrate all things working class. Each week they are joined by a different guest who grew up working class, from actors like The Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison, to Labour politician Jess Philips and podcast regular Romesh Ranganathan.
We spoke to Laura and Hannah to find out more…
You ask guests to tell us about a moment in their working class roots that is pivotal, and we get to hear yours in the first episode BUT is there a pivotal moment when you decided to start podcasting?
We had talked about doing something positive with working class stories for a while but we didn’t know what that would look like or in what capacity we’d do it. Then one day Laura called Hannah raging about an article that she’d come across that said ‘There is a real sense that being working class is something you wish to escape from’ and it really pissed us off because it’s simply not true. We’ve always felt immensely proud of our working class roots and thought others must too. We were so fed up with all the negativity attached to being working class that we thought ‘Enough’s enough’ let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about what it means to be working class and let’s celebrate it. Let’s big up working class success stories, challenge some pre-conceived ideas and hopefully inspire a few a long the way.
What was the first podcast you ever listened to?
Laura: You know I’m such a nana that I didn’t really know much or care about podcasts until a few years back. A mate told me about this thing she was listening to called Serial She was totally obsessed with it and then it was suddenly everywhere and it’s all my mates were talking about so I eventually caved and asked one of them to set me up and that was that, I was totally hooked too. I actually had to stop listening to all the murder podcasts cos I was terrified going to bed.
Hannah: This might be a bit of cliché answer but a few years ago I was on a tube and a woman next to me had headphones on but was crying with laughter, so much so I started laughing at her laughing. She took her headphones out to tell me she was listening to a podcast called My Dad Wrote a Porno. She of course assured me it wasn’t as dodgy as it sounded and so I had a listen and loved it. I too found myself explaining my hysterics to fellow commuters.
You both have a background in theatre – what are the similarities and differences with podcasting?
Hannah: In all honesty they are very different in most ways. For a start theatre is always live and although we have just done our first live episode of the podcast, the listener is still not listening live, mostly people listen to podcasts alone where theatre is nearly always a communal activity. I suppose the way in which they are similar is that they both work best when they have a unique voice that connects to the audience.
Laura: Also, anyone can make a podcast. Theatre is quite a closed shop.
I just want to do a shout out to the great music on the podcast! Who was in charge of that?
Laura: The brilliant Thomas Nelstrop aka Tommy Music was the brains behind it all. We had a discussion about the feel etc and then I sent a rubbish voice note over humming and beat boxing a rough idea and luckily for everyone he ignored me worked his magic and came up with the brilliant tune we have now. Small fact, If you listen carefully you can hear me shouting the “Oi’ and being all cockney in the background.
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
We didn’t really, we just knew what we wanted to say and how it should feel. We purposely didn’t want to copy any other shows because we just wanted it to feel honest, genuine and not be influenced by anything else.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
That’s a no brainer, our queen…Kathy Burke and we WILL get her on one day, we will! *Cries in to near by pillow ‘Why won’t Kathy be my friend?’
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
I think tapping in to something or a subject matter that’s not already out there is a good place to start. But you have to believe in it if you want people to connect to it. Be honest, be yourself and create content you believe in. Not everyone is going to love it or listen to it and it’s really hard to compete with the biggies and the famous people so don’t… if people want to listen they will. Word of mouth is everything.
Your first episode (bonus) is a great intro to yourselves and the reasons behind the podcast, but is there a particular interview you would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
Laura: Oh no that’s not fair!! They’re of course all fantastic in their own way but one of my all time faves has to be Vicky McClure’s. It’s just everything I imagined our podcast would be, a real meeting of minds and values. I could listen to it over and over. She’s a top person.
Hannah: We genuinely feel so inspired by all of our guests’ stories, but when we first talked about the Podcast right at the top of the wish list was MP Jess Philips and interviewing her was a real pinch me moment.
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
You can find us both on Twitter and Instagram – Laura’s twitter is @Laucheckley and her Insta page is @lauracheck and Hannah @hannahinlondon and her Insta @hannahinlondon Or follow our joint Insta page @theproperclasspodcast for all the latest TPCPC news and goss.