News: Leicester Comedy Festival Launches Crowdfunder To Support Emerging Talent

News: Leicester Comedy Festival Launches Crowdfunder To Support Emerging Talent

Organisers of the annual Leicester Comedy Festival have launched a crowd funding campaign to raise £3,000 to continue their support of new and emerging comedians.

The festival, which is produced by registered charity Big Difference Company, is appealing to comedy fans and members of the public to pledge money to enable the festival to develop their support for comedians breaking onto the UK comedy circuit. “Circuit Breakers” is a development programme which will benefit comedians who are just starting out and enable them to perform at the festival, which takes place again in February 2020. The programme first took place as part of Leicester Comedy Festival 2018, and took place again in 2019, following successful crowd funding campaigns where members of the public donated money. Each year, producers of the festival have been inundated with applications from emerging comedians from across the UK so have decided to run the programme again, but need financial support to enable this to happen.  Members of the public who pledge money will receive a range of exclusive rewards, including discounts on festival tickets and invitations to private events.

Pledges can now be made via

Leicester Comedy Festival is produced by registered charity Big Difference Company and one of the charities aims is to support new and emerging comedians.  The annual festival is a great showcase for performers and “Circuit Breakers” is an opportunity for newer acts to benefit from taking part in the longest running comedy festival in Europe.   Full details about the festival are available by visiting

The festival has a great track record of supporting new talent via projects such as Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year, Silver Stand Up, The UK Pun Championships and the annual Awards Ceremony.  These projects have helped to launch the careers of comedians including Romesh Ranganathan, Johnny Vegas & Jason Manford.  The Circuit Breakers project will help more comedians benefit from performing at the festival. 

Organisers hope to raise £3,000 from the campaign which will go towards paying for the comedians to come to the festival, and helping them with marketing materials and mentoring support.  Director of Leicester Comedy Festival, Geoff Rowe said “Leicester Comedy Festival is produced by registered charity Big Difference Company and like many festivals and cultural organisations we are having to identify new income streams to enable us to sustain what we do and stay true to our core mission.  Sponsorship and funding is increasingly difficult for us to sustain but we want to continue our commitment to supporting new talent. 

I’m really proud that over the years the festival has become a really supportive place for comedians to learn and develop what they do and numerous acts have benefitted from this.  Feedback from our audience has shown that a significant number also value this part of the festival and we are responding to this by launching our Circuit Breakers 2020 crowd funding campaign. In past years we received pledges from members of the public, as well as established comedians who wanted to give something back and support emerging talent.  We hope fans from across the UK will support the campaign again and help us find the future big names in comedy.”

Comedians who have previously taken part in Circuit Breakers are supporting this year’s crowd funding campaign, alongside comedian Mark Dolan and photographer Andy Hollingworth, who met all the comedians and took professional photographs of them as part of the project.  The comedians who took part in Circuit Breakers 2019 were Joe Hobbs, Hannah Platt, Chris Copestake, Carla Pol, George Edgeller, Nena Edwards.

Liam Bannigan, who has previously benefitted from taking part, said “Circuit Breakers gave me a fantastic taster of what a career in comedy will be like. It gave me more confidence in my material, and myself as a comedian. Since Circuit Breakers, I have been able to push myself comedy wise as well as networking, which has led to me MC'ing for the first time, and performing at Edinburgh Fringe.”

Comedian Mark Dolan, who is host of the Circuit Breakers showcase performances, said “the bottom line is when you are starting out in comedy there is very little support, either financial support or moral support.  The brilliant thing about Circuit Breakers is it gives these emerging comedians, who are full of talent, a bit of a budget to get to Leicester Comedy Festival, accommodation and the chance to perform on that amazing stage.” 

Applications from comedians who want to apply to benefit from Circuit Breakers 2020 will open later this year.

Leicester Comedy Festival will run from 5-23rd February and the full programme will be announced at the end of October.  Further information will be available from

Picture © Andy Hollingworth Archive


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