News: Funny Women Finalists Announced

Now in their fifteenth year, the Funny Women Awards have announced the finalists for the Stage Award.

The awards received a record number of registrations this year - the Stage Award, alone, received over 400 entries and in total nearly 1,000 registrations and nominations for acts and shows were considered.

Previous Stage Award winners and finalists have included Katherine RyanZoe LyonsJayde AdamsDesiree Burch, Harriet BraineSara PascoeSarah Millican and Susan Calman. 

In advance of the charity final on March 12 at The Duchess Theatre in Londonhosted by Jan Ravens (Dead RingersSpitting Image), Funny Women have announced five celebrity mentors who will help the 10 Stage Award finalists hone their acts in the run up to the event. The mentors are: Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones), Sindhu Vee (As Yet Untitled), Phil Nichol (Never Mind The Buzzcocks)Patrick Monahan (Celebrity Squares, The One Show Edinburgh Festival) and Arnab Chanda (Russell Howard’s Good NewsHunderby), The mix of male and female comedians was decided upon to reflect the HeForShe solidarity movement pioneered by the awards’ charity sponsor, UN Women National Committee UK.

Funny Women founder, Lynne Parker said: “We have received a record number of entries this year across all four categories (Stage Award, Comedy Shorts, Comedy Writing Award and Best Show Award) and I personally saw over 400 women compete in live heats for the coveted Stage Award all over the UK.”

The finalists are: 

Maisie Adam


Assistant Curator for festivals/events, aged 24, from Pannal, N.Yorks, now Brighton-based.

Fun fact about Maisie: “When I was at uni, I skipped a class to go on the ITV gameshow, ‘The Chase’. I didn't win because I didn’t know what bird was on the flag of Ecuador. I still can’t look at the flag without feeling bitter - still, a day off uni is a day off uni.”


Ashlee Bentley


Sales Assistant/Post Office Cashier, aged 27, based in her hometown of Dublin.

Fun fact about Ashlee: “I have named every stray cat I have ever met and remembered all of their names. Sometimes I think about them and wonder what they are up to."


Amy Mason


Novelist & theatremaker, aged 35, from Poole, Dorset, now lives in Walthamstow, London.

Fun fact about Amy:  “I was the longest baby ever born at Derby City Hospital. Please no one find out whether that's's my proudest accolade.”


Jodie Mitchell 


Freelance Theatre Programmer, aged 23, from Cambridge, now lives in London.  

Fun fact about Jodie: “I don’t always perform as a funny woman, I also does stand-up as drag-king, John Travulva, the queer, Glaswegian macho-man of everyone's dreams.”


Thanyia Moore  


Receptionist, aged 35, from South East London.

Fun fact about Thanyia: “When I was 10, I was in Games Master on Sky One. I didn't like games, I liked annoying my big brother by copying him!” 

Q&A: to be posted on

Chloe Petts 


Outreach worker with the homeless, aged 24 from Sittingbourne, Kent, now living in Streatham, London. 

Fun fact about Chloe: “I have an irrational fear of my armpit being touched.”


Lily Phillips  


Temp / nanny / workshop facilitator with the charity Blesma, aged 30, from London.

Fun fact about Lily: “I used to be part of Pineapple dance studio's cheerleading squad. Then I realised how unfunny dancing was!”


Susan Riddell


Writer and comedian, aged 34, from Glasgow.

Fun fact about Susan: “I share custody of a Labrador.”


Megan Shandley 


Actress, aged 27, from, and based in, Edinburgh.

Fun fact about Megan: “one of my hobbies is balloon modelling: single balloon elephant, two-balloon rabbit, THREE-balloon penguin, two-balloon dog (suspiciously similar to an elephant, but a true balloon modeller would never reveal her secrets).” 


Louise Young


Bartender, aged 28, from and based in Newcastle.

Fun fact about Louise: “I taste words. I've had it since I was tiny, certain words will have tastes and textures like I'm eating food. Especially names. Like Craig is coconut and Denise is a boiled carrot. It's horrible if someone's name is a flavour I don't like though. I thought would have got me a lot further in life if I'm honest.” 


The judging panel for the Stage Award will be chaired by Funny Women founder, Lynne Parker. Judges: Richard Bucknall, RBM; James Farrell, Head of Comedy Development, BBC Studios; Harriet Gibsone, Deputy Editor, Guardian Guide; Morwenna Gordon, Commissioning Editor Comedy, Sky; Lee Griffiths, Associate Producer, Soho Theatre; Ayesha Hazarika, Writer and Performer; Sharon Lougher, Head of Features, Metro; Ade Rawcliffe – Head of Diversity - ITV Commissioning; Rachel Springett, Commissioning Editor, Channel 4 Comedy.

Listings info:

Venue: Duchess Theatre, WC2B 5LA

Date: Monday 12 March

Time: 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm)

Duration: 2.5 hours including interval

Tickets: £21.25 

Booking link: 0330 333 4810

More about the mentors here.


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