Ich Bin: Willow Nash, kids theatre company owner


The local mum on everything from recycling to a healthy body image – with the help of some oversized underwear



Willow (left) and Joe with a pair of suitably Really Big Pants
Willow (left) and Joe with a pair of suitably Really Big Pants
Willow Nash is in an actor, writer and voice artist who has worked extensively in theatre, appearing in the West End and touring the country, Europe and Japan. She now performs with and runs her own theatre company for primary school children – Really Big Pants Theatre – with partner in crime Joe Bromley.

When were you happiest?
I was alone when I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter. Holding that secret close to myself – the only person in the world to have that knowledge for that short time before telling my husband Mark – was truly magical. I felt as though nothing could touch me, like I was floating.

Willow, photo: PR
Willow, photo: PR

Where would you like to live?
Right now, right where I am: in Kentish Town. But a little country get away in Snowdonia National Park would be pretty fantastic as a dream add-on.

What is your favourite sound or smell?
I discovered early on in my relationship that Mark and I both love a sound that lots of people find really irritating: a wood pigeon cooing in the early morning, especially if you’re in a tent. It reminds me of my childhood and it makes me feel safe and calm.

What is your greatest life achievement?
Creating (with a little help from my husband!) my two gorgeous babes.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To trust your own voice and go with your instincts. You’ll upset some people but you’ll thrill others.

What is your earliest memory?
Bumping along half asleep on the back of my dad’s bike with my brother on the cross bar (my dad was bloody strong back then) as we rode along the sea wall on our way to do some cockling in the mud flats of the river Blackwater.

What makes you unhappy?
Seeing the Camden Lock area of the canal almost completely covered in rubbish as the birds paddle their way through it all.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
If no-one anywhere in the world dropped a single piece of litter, but recycled, reused or never even obtained it in the first place. Really Big Pants theatre company tackles these issues, we have a show for primary school children about litterbug pirates and a storytelling show which points out we all have too much ‘stuff’. In fun, educative ways, of course.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Telling my children they can’t have any more chocolate, then going and snaffling it myself in the kitchen where they can’t see me.

Willow, Joe & their epic dressing up box
Willow, Joe & their epic pirate dressing up box

Where do you hang out?
When writing a new script, Hampstead Heath is a place of inspiration for me and Big Pants partner Joe. We chat through plots and she brings unidentifiable vegan food in old ‘Pure’ tubs, or we’ll buy something from Earth Natural Foods. We also enjoy Kew Gardens (so easy to access via the Overground). We often find a tricky plot point is cleared up by a good walk.

Tell us a bit more about your theatre company.
We love theatre and find it thrilling to introduce children to its power to transport, educate and inspire. The shows we’ve written for them are about themes we care deeply about; storytelling, the environment and a healthy body image.

What’s been your best experience? Worst?
Best: being at drama school, where I met lifelong friends and learnt to be resourceful for the challenges that followed living the lifestyle I’ve chosen.
Worst: nearly dying white water rafting in Australia.

What has your career taught you?
To be resourceful and believe in myself. And diversify at every opportunity.

What did you do today?
Processed three bookings for our new show and went shopping for props – one of my favourite parts of the process.

This is box title
Really Big Pants Theatre have performed at Gospel Oak Primary School amongst others and in community venues. Full info and bookings via their website. They also feature in the spring programme of Saturday morning children’s theatre at Lauderdale House.

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