FEATURE: Barnard Castle Comedy Fest | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Did you know that Barnard Castle was in The Sunday Times’ 50 Best Places To Live In Britain? With its quaint market town centre, its proximity to the stunning Bowes Museum and a pretty riverside location, it’s already got a lot to offer, and now you can add the Barnard Castle Comedy Festival to the town’s list of attractions.

Taking place at The Witham – which is becoming quite the ‘go to’ place for music, cinema, theatre and comedy – on Saturday 18th July this year, the festival will welcome over ten hours of stand-up comedy, boasting a line-up which reads like a who’s who of top telly comics. Counting everything from Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo on their CVs, plus an Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee, a 2014 British Comedy Award winner and some much-loved acts from the North East comedy circuit for good measure, it’s a pretty impressive line-up for the festival’s first outing.

The person behind the whole event is Peter Dixon, also known as regular comedy promoter Funny Way To Be. He’s an established and well-respected promoter who in the last year alone has put on shows featuring Chris Ramsey, Mark Steel, Gary Delaney, Romesh Ranganathan, Lee Nelson, Jason Cook and Russell Kane. He explains more about the ethos of the event. “Being our first comedy festival we thought it would be great to extend our evening show into a full day of comedy. We’ve gone for real quality acts in a single day rather than trying to spread it out over a longer period.”

boasting a line-up which reads like a who’s who of top telly comics

Confirmed for the festival are headliner Alex Horne, who brings his latest curious contraption to Teesdale; Time Out Critic’s Choice Mark Watson, who presents his work in progress show; actress, writer and all-round funny lady Jo Caulfield; the cheerfully absurd Tony Law; local comic Lost Voice Guy, who uses a communication aid to present his funny and unique set; and for the younger crowd, Lee Kyle offers up his Gunge show to open proceedings.

“We set out to provide a variety of different styles of act but all at the top of their game in their particular field.” Says Peter, who’s obviously very proud of the line-up, and he hopes the festival will become an annual staple. “In the future it would be good to include some smaller shows in the other venues in the town. It would also be great if we can extend it over a few days.”

It’s an exciting time for North East comedy at the moment and this excellent festival brings yet more choice for the stand-up fan, and additional dates for our growing ranks of regional laughter monkeys.

Barnard Castle Comedy Festival takes place at The Witham, Barnard Castle on Saturday 18th July.

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