Inspirational Woman: Yolanda Mercy | Writer, Performer & Contemporary Dance Maker

Meet Yolanda Mercy

Writer & Performer

Yolanda Mercy is a London-based writer and performer creating work for stage, screen and audio. Her play Quarter Life Crisis which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017 was shortlisted for the BBC Audio Drama Awards and played to critical acclaim at the Bridge Theatre in 2020. Mercy was named an Artist to Watch by the British Council, has created work as part of the BBC Writersroom and has been on attachment at the Soho Theatre. Her work combines comedy, spoken word, music, audience participation and – now – dance, and has taken her to countries across the globe.

Her new show, Dance Body, is a joyous celebration of the plus-sized dancing body, and runs at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 3 – 28 Aug 2022.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My name is Yolanda Mercy. I am a British Nigerian, writer, performer and contemporary dance maker. I have been making work on stage and screen, and I’m super keen to shine a light on stories and characters that aren’t always represented. My vehicle for storytelling is blending comedy and drama, I love to entertain and make work that makes you think. My last piece for stage is called “Dance Body”, and it’s a contemporary dance show that celebrates bodies that are considered plus size in contemporary dance, premiering at the Edinburgh Fringe this August.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Rather than planning, I’m always very intentional and specific with the projects that I work on, because creating takes a lot of energy and dedication, which means I love working on projects that I am super passionate about.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Challenges are part of the creative process, and life! It’s important to not let those setbacks define who you are. With that being said, I’m a big advocate for looking after your mental health, so it’s important to make sure you do what’s best for your well-being and seek support if you need it.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Oh, there are so many which I am extremely grateful for, it’s nice to be recognised within my industry, so I’m super appreciative for the awards such as Edinburgh TV Festival Award and the Underbelly Untapped Award I received for Quarter Life Crisis in 2017.  I’m honoured for the nominations I have received including my BAFTA nomination, Writers Guild Nomination and Broadcast Nomination. And I feel extremely grateful to keep telling stories. I love sharing my art.

You’ve got a new show opening at the Edinburgh Fringe, Dance Body – can you tell us more about this?

I’m returning to my contemporary dance roots, and making this joyous dance show which celebrates a bodies which are considered plus size in the contemporary dance world. The show includes projection, music and dance. It’s my choreographic debut and I’m really excited to share this piece with the world.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Keep enjoying the journey, because the lessons you learn along the way will make you stronger and wiser.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I’m keen to keep choreographing and making more contemporary dance shows.

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