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Nottingham Comedy Festival begins


Helen Stead is the Director of Nottingham Comedy Festival and one of the nicest people you are likely to meet in Nottingham’s creative sector.

After graduating in 2008, she happened to see some comedy on a trip to London with her friend Rachel Greensmith. Inspired they came back to Nottingham, and together, started organizing the first Nottingham Comedy Festival, in the words of Public Enemy’s Paralympic anthem, “just like that”.  It’s exactly the sort of story that Nottingham’s creative sector should really promote.

Now four year later, the Festival has gone from strength to strength and this year the Festival will have 60 acts, over 10 days in 17 venues. This takes a alot of planning to put together, around 18 months of hard work, many trips across the country seeing acts and meeting agents, including a visit to the Edinburgh Festival, which doesn’t sound like a bad job to me.

This years Festival promises to be one of the best with some big stars, Alan Davies with his acute brand of surreal story telling ; silent-comedy hero The Boy with Tape on His Face with a brand new show which critics at Edinburgh highly rated; and Marcus Brigstocke restructuring every aspect of life in Britain as only a talented comic can do.

Some of the acts you shouldn’t miss include Laurence Clark – he brings his show ‘Inspired’ to The Approach on Sunday 23rd Sept at 6.30 pm. Laurence is a brilliant comedian that happens to have Cerebral Palsy, he recently stared in BBC1’s ‘We Won’t Drop The Baby’. The show is part of The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, – Also worth catching is Tom Slade – the Canadian comedian is one of the country’s most exciting talents and is tipped to become the next hot comedian on TV.

Finally, no doubt there are a fair few of you who probably have a secret comedy act that hasn’t been seen, well some people from Nottingham did present their act and have been performing and competing in a Comedy Competition over the past year. The Festival is set showcase the best of the newest acts in the final leg of the competition. So if you want to get inspired, head out to the Canalhouse on Sunday 23rd at 8pm.

Anyway, as summer has now officially ended, we could all do with some cheering up and for the next 10 days you can see both big headline acts and catch new and upcoming comedy acts, sounds good doesn’t it.

If you want to check out the schedule go to the Festival website at




Jagdish Patel is a Nottingham based photographer and a Director at the Nottingham Photographers’ Hub a social enterprise helping vulnerable communities enter the creative sector.