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genuinely amazed by anarchic illusions as Ali draws you into a surreal world of disappear- ing goldfish, razorblades and shoes! Our late headline act for Saturday night is Miles Jupp with his show ‘Fibber in the Heat’. Allegedly disil- lusioned with comedy, Miles attempts to become a cricket commentator trying the ill –thought out and dishonest method of pretending to be one and telling some whop- ping fibs to get on a cricket tour to India. It wasn’t as easy as he thought! Award winning stand up from nationally ac- claimed comedian and actor Jupp.


Miles Jupp


Special thanks go to our lovely sponsors, Royal Castle Hotel, Simon Drew Gallery, Linden Homes, Cafe Alf Resco,


Subway at Townstal Road Garage and last but not least Compass Office, Books and Marine!


The History of the Dartmouth Comedy Festival


D


artmouth’s Comedy festival is a rare thing – a comedy event not in an urban area which is successful and


growing.


Its inception was as inspiring as it is unlikely – and the patronage of a famous South Hams son has ensured its popularity and importance in the town.


The comedy festival was the brainwave of Anna Uhr Delia, when she was the Programming Manager at the Flavel Arts Centre back in 2007.


The centre had already been running comedy nights for a while which were very successful, so she thought a mini festival would be just the ticket.


Sarah Hackford, Artistic Director now, was instrumental in implementing it with Anna and it was Sarah’s idea to approach comic strip writer, director and performer Peter Richardson to be a patron of the festival. It wasn’t a difficult thing to see if he would be interested in the role, because he’s her neighbour.


When they popped the question, they had no idea of how


involved Peter would become. His influence, ideas and the now traditional ‘mystery guest’ have all been factors in its enduring appeal.


Peter was working hard for the festival right from day one – he tried to bring superstar comedy music genius Bill Bailey in for the first festival, but the fates conspired so that it wasn’t possible. He’s still referred to as ‘the one that got away’!


In the past six years the festival has had visits from Gary Beadle of Eastenders fame, John Sessions and Phil Corn- wall, Harry Enfield, Keith Allen and Eddie Izzard. It’s a roll of honour everyone is proud of, and looking forward to adding to.


The festival has had more than 5,000 audience members, has had performances from more than 100 acts and seen such innovations as children’s comedy, family comedy workshops and even men’s and ladies’ nights.


Many venues throughout the town have thrown their doors open to performances, including the Flavel’s own café, Café Alf Resco, the Royal Castle, the Windjammer and many more. It’s an illustration of how well supported the festival is that such a wide range of people and busi- nesses want to support it with a space to perform in, sponsorship or just with their presence at a gig.


The festival has given the team behind it the chance to


try out new things, bringing in interesting and untried acts. It has been a learning curve for them, but one which they have truly loved. They now feel that the festival has found its natural shape and nature.


Sarah Hackford said: ‘We’ve been working very much on a trial and error basis. Several things did not work, and we believe we now have it just about right, fewer venues and better quality acts.


‘Every year we have some sort of disaster! Sarah Kendall cancelled at the last minute due to anaphylactic shock from a bee sting, in the first year. Then in year two we had so much snow, it was touch and go if some of the acts would arrive, not to mention the audiences!’


The disasters didn’t stop there: the theme of medical emergencies continued at an alarming rate and nearly finished off some of the performers!


‘Fascinating Aida cancelled at the last minute due to health problems, again after everything had gone to press,’ said Lisa Chandler. ‘And last year, Arabella Weir cancelled as she had to have an emergency operation!! In fact there seems to be a pattern here, clearly comedians are a sickly and delicate lot!


‘The only consistent thing for the festival, apart from the


wonderful Peter Richardson, is the generosity of all our lovely local sponsors, who are always up for a laugh!’


The small but beautifully formed festival has had some real greats performing there: Chris Addison – now a staple of both the comedy circuit and TV panel games, as well as those Direct Line ads – Greg Davies, who is hitting really big at the moment in London, the immensely respected comedian Ian Cognito and even the smiling superstar who is Michael McIntyre!


This year sees no change with nationally renowned performers Mark Steel and Jenny Eclair gracing the stage of the Flavel as part of the festival.


‘We are really proud of the festival,’ said Lisa. ‘It’s a uniquely successful and fun event in the comedy world – comedians love coming down here and having a fun gig whilst visiting this beautiful town. Long may it continue!’ by Phil Scoble


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