12:56 Monday 02 December 2013

Dave brings anorexia to the fore in stand-up act

Written byMARK MCKAY

A RECOVERED anorexic has create a stand-up comedy show based on his experience of overcoming his illness.

Dave Chawner, 24, who grew up in Barton under Needwood, created his act ‘Over It’, with fellow comedian Robyn Perkins, about struggling with anorexia and body image issues as a teenager.

Dave was hospitalised aged 19 after his pulse dropped dangerously low after ‘coffee loading’ – a tactic which he said anorexics use to substitute food for coffee to boost energy levels.

He said he hopes the show will raise awareness about eating disorders and remove stigma which people who suffer from them face.

Dave, who has performed stand-up comedy for six years, said: “One of the things I always liked about stand-up is that it’s people having a laugh but they can be talking about quite important things

“It’s about educating people and to get people talking about it in a non-preachy freak show kind of way.

“The whole show is meant to send a positive message of how you are never ‘over it’ but how you can deal with issues, so it shouldn’t be traumatic or glib.”

Dave, who also attended John Taylor High School in Barton, said he first struggled with his body image after performing topless in a school play aged 17.

From then on, he said he would exercise excessively, constantly count calories and weigh himself.

His condition only improved after he was hospitalised and after he worked teaching English to foreign students during his summer break from studying English and philosophy at the University of Southampton.

Dave has already received critical acclaim for his performance at this summer’s Edinburgh Comedy Festival, where an 18-year-old girl spoke to him about her battle with an eating disorder.

He said: “She started to cry and said she had experienced everything I had said.

“Now, people are come after each show to say what they have been through.”

Dave and Robyn are due to perform the show at Dave’s Comedy Festival, in Leicester, in February 2014.

Anyone who would like more information can visit www.davechawner.co.uk/

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