Six of the best emerging comedy acts from across the West Midlands are in the running for the second Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award.
The annual competition aims to recognise and support ‘breaking talent’ from the region, offering the winners a vital step-up on the comedy career ladder.
A collaboration between Birmingham Comedy Festival and The Glee Club, and sponsored by Fosters, the competition officially kicks off the festival on Friday 2 October 2015.
The competing acts are Josh Pugh, Thomas Rackham, Michael Dryburgh, Lucy Thompson, Jo D’Arcy and Jack Kirwan.
Born in Nuneaton and now living in Atherstone, Josh is an office worker who blends one-liners with stories and poems. Thomas resides in Shard End, Birmingham, and has just made his Edinburgh Fringe debut in a double-bill with the also-nominated Lucy, who was born in Rugby. They also host a comedy podcast, Toad Radio. A sales rep’, Michael lives in Tamworth and has already performed with such established comics as Joe Lycett and Russell Kane, while Jo is a University of Birmingham graduate from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs. Character-based performer Jack Kirwan works in the aerospace industry and lives in Wolverhampton.
A panel of comedy professionals selected the acts for their crack gag writing skills, observational chops, deft delivery, and their potential to break out.
Birmingham Comedy Festival’s Dave Freak said: “There are so many excellent new acts performing across the region at the moment that selecting just six names was a real challenge. But we’re confident that those who’ve been shortlisted all show real promise and look forward to seeing them perform at The Glee Club on the opening night of the festival.”
Mark Tughan, owner of The Glee Club, said: “Bringing a ‘breaking talent’ show back into the heart of the Birmingham Comedy Festival in 2014 was a huge success. The show had the most electric atmosphere and the level of local talent was staggering. I cannot wait to take my seat on the judging panel.”
2014’s sell-out competition was won by Andrew McBurney, who was presented with his award by comedy legend Jasper Carrott.
The 2015 nomination panel were formed of James Cook (comedian, mac Birmingham comedy course tutor), Jo Enright (comedian and actress, Rough Works, Life’s Too Short, The Job Lot), Alex Jackson (booker, The Glee Club) and Maureen Younger (comedian, MY Comedy).
Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award, sponsored by Fosters, takes place at The Glee Club Studio on Friday 2 October 2015. The night is compered by James Cook and also features a set from Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award 2015 nominee Nish Kumar. Tickets are £10.50 (£6 NUS) from 0871 472 0400. For more information see: www.bhamcomfest.co.uk
Friday 2 October 2015
Birmingham Comedy Festival and The Glee Club present:
BIRMINGHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL BREAKING TALENT AWARD 2014
Sponsored by Fosters
A hand-picked selection of emerging acts from across the West Midlands compete for the prestigious award. Each has been chosen by the city’s best comedians and clubs, selected for their crack gag writing skills, observational chops, deft delivery, and their potential to break out. With contestants Jack Kirwan, Josh Pugh, Jo D’Arcy, Lucy Thompson, Thomas Rackham and Michael Dryburgh. Compered by James Cook and featuring a set from Nish Kumar.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
About the Birmingham Comedy Festival
The Birmingham Comedy Festival runs from Friday 2 to Sunday 11 October 2015 across the city. Key events include shows from Trevor Noah, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Chris Ramsey, Henning Wehn, Lee Nelson and Rob Beckett, plus the world premiere of Meera Syal’s Anita And Me, cult US act Red Bas****, Tangram Theatre, a Free Half-Dayer and the Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award.
One of the longest running comedy festival’s in the UK, the Birmingham Comedy Festival is also one of the biggest multi-site independent arts festivals in the West Midlands. The first festival was in 2001.
About the nominated acts
Josh Pugh: Hailing from Nuneaton and now living in Atherstone, by day Josh is a full-time office worker in nearby Coventry. Inspired by Harry Hill and Vic and Bob, he describes his comedy as “alternative but with a foot in reality” as he mixes one-liners, stories and poems.
Thomas Rackham: Thomas started performing in early 2014 and recently made his Edinburgh Fringe debut with The Toadshow, a two-hander with fellow nominee Lucy Thompson. The duo also have their own podcast, Toad Radio. Born and bred in Birmingham, Thomas currently works for a beer company.
Michael Dryburgh: Residing in Tamworth, though born in Fife, Scotland, Mike has only been doing stand-up for just over a year. With a style based “mainly on personal anecdotes,” he’s already performed alongside such established comedians as Alfie Moore, Joe Lycett, Mike Gunn, Patrick Monahan, Hal Cruttenden and Russell Kane.
Lucy Thompson: Currently living in Leicester, by way of Italy, Rugby-born Lucy cites such acts as French and Saunders, Victoria Wood, Julia Davis and Katherine Ryan as inspirations. Performing since early 2014, she teamed up with fellow nominee Thomas Rackham for The Toadshow at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe.
Jo D’Arcy: In just over two years the former University of Birmingham student from Newcastle-under-Lyme has found herself in the semi-finals and finals of several comedy awards, include Hobgoblin, So You Think You’re Funny, and Nando’s New Comedian. Of her comedy career to date, she says she’s made “largely inappropriate jokes to audiences of varying degrees of tolerance.”
Jack Kirwan: A character comedian from Wolverhampton, Jack’s many personas include jilted mom Tash, Black Country robot saviour The Kirwanator and small mouthed singer Jack Marrowfatpeamouth. An aerospace engineer by day, Jack also writes and performs with Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent 2014 winner, Andrew McBurney.
- For more information about Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award 2015, including images, please contact us. Shortlisted acts are available for interviews and Q&As etc.