Birmingham Comedy Festival returns for 2021

Friday 1 to Sunday 10 October 2021

Award-winning arts festival celebrates 20 years.

Line-up includes Russell Brand, Chris Ramsey, Jenny Eclair, Free Half-Dayer, and more.

After a year online, Birmingham Comedy Festival is back in the room for 2021.

Running from Friday 1 to Sunday 10 October 2021, the popular arts festival features over 40 shows, from big name acts, to emerging newcomers.

Highlights include the return of the fast-talking comedian-turned-actor Russell Brand (Oct 3, Symphony Hall), as well as appearances from Strictly semi-finalist Chris Ramsey (Oct 10, Town Hall) and The Tailenders crew (Oct 1, Symphony Hall).

They’re joined by the now 60 year-old Jenny Eclair (Oct 10, The Old Rep), Dane Baptiste (Oct 10, The Glee Club), social star Max Fosh (Oct 3, The Glee Club), Phoenix Nights’ psychic Clinton Baptiste (Oct 7, Town Hall), Rachel Fairburn (Oct 8, The Glee Club) and South African comic Loyiso Gola (Oct 1, The Glee Club).

Elsewhere, new stage production When You Fall Down (Sep 30-Oct 3, Old Joint Stock) explores the story of silent comic Buster Keaton, while Howerd’s End (Oct 6-10, Old Joint Stock) reveals the hidden life of post-war British comedian Frankie Howerd.

The festival also features some of the best acts from across the region, including former Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award winners Josh Pugh and Celya AB, plus Mary Flanigan, Danny Clives, Good Kids and Eric Rushton (who won the prestigious Leicester Comedy Festival Comedian Of The Year Award 2020).

A spokesperson for Birmingham Comedy Festival said: “We’re so excited to be back. The response to last year’s online festival was fantastic, and we’re hoping to continue with a few digital activities, but you just can’t beat seeing comedy with a roaring audience – the laughter’s infectious!

“And this year is extra special for us as it marks our 20th anniversary – which we can’t quite believe! We reckon this makes us the second longest running comedy festival in the UK, and one of the longest running independent arts festivals in the West Midlands!”

Birmingham Comedy Festival runs from Friday 1 to Sunday 10 October 2021 at venues across the city. For more details, including the full programme, see: www.bhamcomfest.co.uk

LISTINGS

Friday 1 to Sunday 10 October 2021
Birmingham Comedy Festival

The award-winning city-wide arts festival returns. Among those celebrating the festival’s 20th anniversary are Russell Brand, Chris Ramsey, Clinton Baptiste, Jenny Eclair, Mark Steel, Jimeoin, Dane Baptiste, Rachel Fairburn, Tailenders and more.
Various venues, Birmingham
Website: www.bhamcomfest.co.uk

Social media: twitter.com/bhamcomfest | facebook.com/bhamcomfest | instagram.com/bhamcomfest

NOTES FOR EDITORS

About Birmingham Comedy Festival

Established in 2001, the annual festival has welcomed some of the biggest names in stand-up comedy, from Michael McIntyre and Peter Kay, to Jack Whitehall and Sarah Millican. 2019’s Birmingham-wide event featured appearances from James Acaster, Josh Widdicombe, The Impractical Jokers, Henning Wehn, and Reg D Hunter, among many others, with performances enjoyed by an impressive 24,000 people.

The festival was originally set up to highlight the city’s vibrant, but then largely unsung, comedy scene, and acts from West Midlands have always featured prominently, from Lenny Henry and Stewart Lee, to Joe Lycett and Mrs Barbara Nice.

Unfunded and volunteer-led, the event is one of the biggest independent multi-site arts festivals in the region, and in 2019 scooped both Best Midlands Arts Festival and Best Birmingham Arts Festival wins at the What’s On Magazine Awards. A feat it repeated in 2020.

Responding to the pandemic, the festival shifted online in 2020, with a varied programme of streamed performances, podcasts, videos, radio programmes and commissions featuring artists Foka Wolf and Tat Vision, The Nightingales, Toyah Willcox, Barbara Nice, Board Game Smackdown (James Cook, Laura Lexx, Carl Donnelly), Josh Pugh, Maureen Younger, BBCWM’s Daz Hale, and musician Dan Whitehouse, who composed a new soundtrack to a classic Charlie Chaplin silent.

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