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Sarah Townsend
British film director

Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro British film director
Is Musician Film producer Writer Film director Composer Screenwriter
From United Kingdom
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature Music
Gender female
Birth London
The details (from wikipedia)


Sarah Townsend is a British producer, director, composer, and screenwriter. Townsend has worked across all genres, starting off in theatre and stage shows, moving into music production and then moving into feature and documentary film-making. In 2010 she received an Emmy nomination for her work on Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story for best Outstanding Nonfiction Special. Townsend splits her time between the United Kingdom and Los Angeles.

Early career

Townsend went on to run Oxmad Theatre Company, while working backstage on West End shows to fund herself. While living in Edinburgh, she then set up the GreyFriars Kirk House, an ex-soup kitchen which she turned into a venue for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. During the festival, Townsend ran shows including Bertolt Brecht's A Respectable Wedding and Company of Wolves by Polka TC, for 20 theatre companies from across the globe.

It was in Edinburgh where she "discovered" a number of stand-up comedians including Ardal O'Hanlon (star of the hit Irish sitcom Father Ted) who made his UK debut at the venue. Townsend also premiered Eddie Izzard's first solo standup show where he received his prestigious Perrier Award nomination. For a brief period of time, Townsend promoted Izzard along with Jenny Eclair.

Townsend then used the profits she earned to produce her own plays, which she toured around the UK and Ireland including a commedia version of Molière's 'Medecin Malgre Lui' and a punk version of Bulgakov's 'Molière.' It was on the set of 'Molière.' that she met Laurence Olivier Award-winning English actress, Noma Dumezweni who would go on to become the focus of her 2015 short documentary, 'Noma (Forgiving Apartheid)' which premiered at the 2015 Foyle Film Festival before officially entering the film festival circuit throughout 2016.

In the early nineties, Townsend took over the running the Time Out Street Entertainers Festival and mounted the World Street Fest in Covent Garden, bringing together performers from across the globe.

As Townsend became more involved in the UK comedy scene, she opened a comedy club called "The Swan" in south London and ran the Soho comedy club "Raging Bull", which was hosted regularly by Eddie Izzard for several years and featured a number of comedians during the period, including Jerry Sadowitz, Steve Coogan, Patrick Marber and Jo Brand.

Following "Raging Bull", Townsend set up the Halyon Club, in Soho in early 2000. With support from local jazz musicians, particularly Mercury award winning composer and musician Guy Barker, Halyon became a music, art and film club which held regular events for both up-and-coming and established artists. The club attracted an extraordinarily eclectic audience, from Terry Gilliam to Mo Mowlam, Norman Cook (Fat Boy Slim) to Alan Rickman and hundreds of others in between. She closed it in 2003 due to other work commitments.


To transfer her skills across from theatre to film, Townsend produced and directed a series of DVD extras including Comedy Masterclass and 24 Hours Sexie. She then produced a number of short films with executive producers Vince Power and Phil McIntyre, including "Secrets" written by Tony Thompson, "Angel", and "Whacked" directed by Jake West. In addition to being screened on Sky Movies, "Whacked" also earned nods from the New York International Film Festival, Turner Classic Movies Shorts Awards, and the US International Film Festival.

Eddie Izzard and Sarah Townsend met in 1989, after Izzard approached Townsend for a booking at the venue she was running at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. After producing several DVD extras for Izzard, in 2003 he invited Townsend to film one of his shows. After deliberating for several months, she declined and opted to direct a documentary focused on the comedian.

Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story

Written, produced and directed by Townsend, the documentary film Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story was released in 2009. Known for her combined passion for music and humour the documentary was reviewed by the LA Times as being a heartfelt documentary on comedian/actor Eddie Izzard which blends home movies, interviews and performance footage to fine effect' to reveal a raw perspective on the creative mastermind. "Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story" was released in theaters in the United Kingdom and the United States in October 2009, and then on DVD on 2 March 2010.

In 2010, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story was nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Nonfiction Special.

Production Credits



  • Whacked (2002)
  • Secrets (2004)
  • Diva 51 (2006)
  • Eddie Izzard: Stripped (2009)
  • Eddie Izzard: Live from Wembley (2009)
  • Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story (2009)
  • Believe: Live at Madison Square Garden (2011)
  • Marathons For Mandela (2013)
  • Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure Live (2013)


  • Comedy Masterclass (2001)
  • Diva 51 (2006)
  • Eddie Izzard: Stripped (2009)
  • Eddie Izzard: Live from Wembley (2009)
  • Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story (2009)
  • Marathons For Mandela (2013)
  • Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure Live (2013)
  • Noma (Forgiving Apartheid) (2015)
  • Luisa Omielan: Am I Right Ladies (2015)


  • Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story (2009)
  • NOMA (Forgiving Apartheid) (2015)



  • Eddie Izzard: Definite Article (1996)
  • Eddie Izzard: Glorious (1997)
  • Eddie Izzard: Circle (2000)
  • Eddie Izzard: Sexie (2003)
  • Eddie Izzard: Stripped (2009)
  • Marathons For Mandela' (2013)
  • Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure Live (2013)
  • NOMA (Forgiving Apartheid) (2015)

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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