Love for superheroes is questioned in world premiere at Derbyshire arts festival

Award-winning performer Joe Sellman-Leava questions our love for superheroes and considers the fandom surrounding political figures in a world premiere at a Derbyshire festival.

By Gay Bolton
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 5:30 am
Joe Sellman-Leava will present Fanboy as part of Buxton Festival Fringe.
Joe Sellman-Leava will present Fanboy as part of Buxton Festival Fringe.

Fanboy will preview The Old Clubhouse, Buxton, from July 22 to 24 ahead of its transfer to the Edinburgh Fringe.

This world first for Buxton Fringe is a performance featuring epic storytelling, razor-sharp impressions and a dose of theatrical magic.

Joe has always been a nerd. In his teens, he hid it. In his twenties, he owned it. Now in his thirties, Joe is still obsessed with Nintendo, Star Wars and A Muppets Christmas Carol. But he’s started to notice something about the way certain fans are behaving. Something unsettling, which is making him question things he was always sure about. When Joe finds himself alone, in his old room, sorting through his old things, he finds an old video tape. He dusts off the VCR, presses play...and something incredible starts to happen!

His show asks us to consider the very nature of fandom and what happens to our childhood obsessions over time, how we can sometimes feel

safer in our childhood memories, hiding from the world.

This innovative, multi-disciplinary show examines loneliness, mental health, and how men often use pop-culture and fandom to form connections and process emotions.

Joe said: “While Fanboy is a show about my relationship with pop-culture, nostalgia and the joys of being a nerd, it’s also about our relationship with our past selves. It’s about love and hate, hope and fear, friendship and heartbreak - so I think there’s something in here for everyone! Fanboy is my third solo show, and my most ambitious to date. It’s also my second collaboration with director Yaz Al-Shaater and (without wishing to spoil anything!) we’re particularly excited about its technical design and video elements, drawing on Yaz’s experience as a filmmaker.”

Joe’s debut solo show, Labels, won a Scotsman Fringe First in 2015, as well as four other international awards.

Fanboy will be performed at The Old Clubhouse on Water Street, Buxton, on Friday, July 22, at 1pm, on Saturday, July 23, at 8.30pm and on Sunday, July 24, at 4pm.

Tickets £9, available from