From Write Out Loud Wigan to Edinburgh: Joy France takes story of how she became a battle-rapper to the Fringe
A experienced performer who cut her teeth on the open mic poetry stage at Write Out Loud Wigan and has been making headlines in recent years with her forays into the young, male-dominated world of battle rap has taken her story to the Edinburgh Free Fringe.
Joy France’s show From Retirement to Battle Rap has just finished its run. She has said that she loves “the variety of people. It’s massively neurodiverse. It’s a very welcoming scene, a beautiful world of mainly young men who are there for each other.”
A Guardian feature on her appearance at Edinburgh mentions a documentary about Joy made by Northern Heart Films which captures her battle rapping. Joy is no stranger to publicity, but interest in her has really taken off in the last few days. On Facebook she listed all the demands made on her, since that Gardian article: "BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, Radio 1 briefly 12.00 (will be back on in a couple of weeks), interview for an article in a print magazine, Jeremy Vine show, Italian TV, doing my show 5.15. Been here two days and literally not seen one show!"
In a previous TV interview Joy said she was “always really shy, really quiet” for ”almost all my life”. But in her mid-50s something happened – and she became a performance poet, winning slams and awards, and treading the boards as a stand-up comic as well as a poet.
In recent years she has run a creative space at Affleck’s in Manchester, an emporium of independent traders, where she encourages people to explore their own creativity. She is also known to don a panda mask at the drop of a hat, when staging impromptu performances, and at one time was the ‘face’ of Nationwide Building Society adverts.