Leicester Comedy Festival To Open Permanent Venue

Leicester Comedy Festival to open permanent venue

Big Difference, the registered charity behind the annual Leicester Comedy Festival, have announced they are taking on the lease of the Leicester based venue previously known as The Cookie, and will be promoting live shows throughout the year.  The venue, which will be known as The Big Difference when it reopens later this year, has become known as a key location as part of the February festival, but is also known for hosting music gigs and other live entertainment since it opened in 2013.  Over the years the space has hosted performances by comedians including Rhod Gilbert, Russell Howard, Romesh Ranganathan, Katherine Ryan, Tom Allen and many more.

Big Difference has been promoting Leicester Comedy Festival each February since 1994, and 3 years ago set up the sister event The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival.  The charity is starting to look forward to the festivals in 2021 and the 30th anniversary of the Leicester Comedy Festival in 2023.  Taking on the venue is planned to help financially sustain the festivals for the future, as well as providing an exciting platform for the charity to expand its work at the heart of the cultural life of Leicester. In addition to the February festivals, Big Difference also organises a programme of year-round community projects, and it is hoped the venue will be a base for some of this activity.  The launch programme will be announced later this year, but interested promoters, artists and producers are encouraged to get in touch to discuss dates and potential projects.

Martyn Allison, Chair of the charity, said “we are incredibly proud of the work we have produced since Leicester Comedy Festival was set up in 1994 and are now beginning to seriously plan for our milestone 30th anniversary in 2023.  Like many charities, we are having to explore new income streams to support our exciting and varied programme of work and moving to The Cookie makes so much financial sense for us.  We can’t wait to announce our opening programme and build on the past successes.” 

Laura Arends, CEO of Big Difference said “since starting with the charity last summer, I have been struck by the support so many people have for what Big Difference does.  Of course Leicester Comedy Festival continues to be really popular and we need to ensure the annual festival is here for many, many more years to come.  The team have always worked really closely with local and national artists, venues and promoters and we’re all looking forward to developing these links once we open the doors at the venue.” 

Geoff Rowe, Founding Director of Leicester Comedy Festival, said: “the last 30 years or so have been a real rollercoaster as we have sustained the festival, and produced some amazing community projects and events alongside it.  I’ve had the privilege of working with so many amazing people and taking on the venue is the next exciting step on our journey.  We will be presenting a fab programme of comedy in addition to music gigs, spoken word and other live entertainment.”

The Big Difference is based at 68 High Street, Leicester LE1 5YP.  Further details will be announced later in the year and are subject to the latest Government Covid restrictions as well as licensing and planning applications.  Anyone wanting to book the venue can contact [email protected]




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