Leicester Comedy Festival is awarded National Lottery funding

Leicester Comedy Festival is awarded National Lottery funding

Leicester Comedy Festival has received £37,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project which will celebrate the history of comedy and humour.

“A Funny City” will culminate with an exhibition and website drawing on the memories of people living in Leicester telling the story of comedy and humour in the city since 1979 – when the phrase “alternative comedy” was first used.  The stories, memories and material will be collected by a team of volunteers from the local community and displayed in a touring exhibition as well as a dedicated website http://www.leicesterfolkstellingjokes.co.uk/

Leicester has a growing comedy scene, with several regular comedy nights taking place in venues across the city, and these will be featured in the exhibition.  In addition it is hoped that the exhibition, and accompanying website, will focus on past comedy clubs and events which took place throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s before the comedy festival began in 1994.

Key promoters and individuals involved in the Leicester comedy scene will be consulted about what made people laugh in the city in those early days.  These include Delphine Manley, Director of comedy agency Beyond Compere who has worked with acts including Jo Brand, Jenny Eclair, Sean Hughes and Frank Skinner.  The project will also include memories and memorabilia from promoters including Alan Seaman, Kev F and Nicola Ward who ran the Leicester based comedy club ‘And Y Not’ at venues including The Y Theatre and Bar Gaudi.  It is also hoped the exhibition will reflect the diversity of Leicester’s communities and include material from groups such as Gujarati Comedy Club, Funny Peepul, Hathi Productions Comedy Club and the annual Gay Comedy Night.

Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “this project was developed in partnership with young people from across the city and it will provide a fascinating glimpse into what’s made Leicester laugh over the last 40 years. Thanks to National Lottery players, it will not only increase our understanding of the changing nature of comedy and its social impact, but will also help the young volunteers gain new experiences and skills.”

Festival founder and Director, Geoff Rowe, said “we are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will celebrate both the history of comedy in Leicester but also help preserve the archive of Leicester Comedy Festival.” 

Festival organisers are encouraging people from Leicester and Leicestershire to get in touch with stories and memories about comedy and humour.  Project Manager, Anna Peavitt said “people often don’t think that their personal memories or even jokes are important; this isn’t true.  History is as much about the voices and memories of people as it is about a building or a historical event.  And our regional east midlands accent is often overlooked in mainstream media – we hope we can do something positive about this, adding to recordings of people living in the city.  So we really hope people get in touch, their memory and voice might be just what we need”.  People are invited to get in contact by email: [email protected]

For further information: http://www.comedy-festival.co.uk/