Comedy Festival returns with another stellar line-up

John Bishop

John Bishop

Birmingham Comedy Festival returns this October with yet another great line-up of top comedy talent.

Headlining the city-wide festival, which runs from Friday 5 to Sunday 14 October 2012, is none other than John Bishop, who’ll be packing The NIA for three nights (Oct 11-13).

He’s joined by foodie-duo The Hairy Bikers, who’ll be entertaining audiences at the New Alexandra Theatre (Oct 5-6).

Punk poet John Cooper Clarke, recently at the top of the charts as guest on Plan B’s Ill Manors album, makes a much anticipated return to the festival (Town Hall, Oct 11), while music takes centre-stage with appearances from The Midnight Beast (O2 Academy, Oct 14), fresh from the success of their E4 sitcom, and Irish freestyle improv’ sensations Abandoman (The Glee Club, Oct 7). There’s also sharp observations and the odd tune from the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (Old Joint Stock, Oct 11).

As always, local acts play a strong part in the festival line up, with appearances from Joe Lycett (arguably Birmingham’s next big comedy star! – Blue Orange Theatre, Oct 9), King Heath housewife Mrs Barbara Nice (mac, Oct 7; Kitchen Garden Cafe, Oct 10), along with varied line-ups at such venues as The Actress And Bishop and Six Eight Cafe.

And if you think you’ve got what it takes to become a stand-up comedian, why not try hone your skills at a one of two comedy workshops in which improv’ troupe Box Of Frogs and comedian and broadcaster James Cook share top tips and industry secrets (Blue Orange Theatre, Oct 13-14).

Other highlights include a free exhibition by fine artist Steve Lilly depicting classic comedy favourites (Artfull Expression, Oct 5-27), a ‘comference’ examining the links between art and comedy (Hare And Hounds, Oct 6), Comedy In The Dark (Electric, Oct 11) Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (Blue Orange Theatre, Sept 27 to Oct 6), and a night of extremely low-budget remakes of Hollywood blockbusters entitled Short And Swede (Cafe Ort, Oct 11).

A spokesperson for the festival said: “We have well over 60 shows this year, taking place right across the city, including stand-up comedy, theatre, film, art, sketch shows, puppets, workshops, poetry and music. There’s not only events happening in big theatres, venues and clubs, but also cafes and neighbourhood pubs, once again highlighting just how vibrant and fresh Birmingham’s comedy scene is.”

For more information, including full line-up, see:

The Birmingham Comedy Festival 2012 is presented in association with evening5 from National Express West Midlands, and supported by The Arcadian.

Jack Kelly, spokesperson from National Express West Midlands, said: “National Express West Midlands is proud to be involved with the Birmingham Comedy Festival where not only will people have a great time at the comedy shows, we can save them money to and from the venues with our evening5 ticket – unlimited travel for 5 people for £5”

Jo Salmon Asset Manager for the Arcadian said: “The Arcadian is home to The Glee Club one of the best known comedy venues in Birmingham, so it only seemed fitting that we support the Birmingham Comedy Festival”.