FEATURE: FELT NOWT TIPS FOR 2022 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Kelly Edgar

Words: Felt Nowt

We have just passed the time of year when The Lists come out. One of these lists are of the comedians to keep an eye out for over the next twelve months and, as ever, despite the incredible talent in the region, this year saw no acts from the region included.

Why? Well, it’s because we are isolated up here, and therefore easily ignored. Indeed, in what must count as a stunning oversight, despite being the BBC City Of Comedy 2022, Newcastle and Sunderland were the furthest cities (other than Inverness and Plymouth) away from a heat of the BBC New Act of the Year competition.

It certainly isn’t for lack of talent. So, recently, we at Felt Nowt (the non profit co-operative dedicated to the promotion of comedy in the North East) published our list of new local comedians to keep an eye on over the year, which included Estelle Anderson, Anja Atkinson, Omar Abid, Jack Fox, Elaine Robertson, Kelly Edgar, Catherine Young, Mike Wardley, Sam Mayes, Connor Read and Matthew McLane.

We’d like to draw your attention to the amazing female comedians on the list, particularly as our all-female stand-up gala show at Tyne Theatre & Opera House on International Women’s Day (Tuesday 8th March) is almost upon us. It’s a show where you can see all of these women and more as some of the best comedians in the region come together to raise money for Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland.

Recently, we at Felt Nowt published our list of new local comedians to keep an eye on over the year

If you’re a comedy fan around these parts you’ll already be familiar with the likes of Lauren Pattison from her regular TV appearances and vaunted live shows. Maybe you’ve seen Louise Young doing tour support for Alan Carr recently or caught the likes of Sammy Dobson and Zoe taking the roof off at The Stand or the new comedy club at Laurel’s Theatre in Whitley Bay. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed the left-field delight of Lauren Stone at her groundbreaking Comedy Night That Passes The Bechdel Test?
Following in the wake of these women are the next generation of great acts who we strongly suggest you keep an eye out for! Like Estelle Anderson, a truly prodigious talent; living on Holy Island and still young enough to be doing her A-Levels, there’s a depth to her writing that you just don’t find in one so young. The most experienced of these acts is the deliciously devilish Anja Atkinson, who has developed into a strong headline act over the last year with her almost brutal honesty and strong punchlines. Elaine Robertson has something you don’t normally see from new acts too; the ability to go where the gig takes her. Elaine has great material but isn’t confined by it, and is able to adlib like an act with many years under their belt – she has definite star quality. Sam Mayes was due to take part in Best In Class, the showcase of the best working class acts at the Edinburgh Fringe, before ‘All This’, and it was a spot she’d thoroughly earned; an effervescent performer, she’s just loads of fun to watch. Catherine Young is wise beyond her comedy years – probably the most adaptable act here, she can play to arts centre audiences and in boisterous working men’s clubs just the same, she’s a joyful act; a dream for both bookers and audiences. Rounding out the list is Kelly Edgar, the newest of our tips but a real talent; it’s rare an act so new is so at home onstage, able to take her time and draw audiences in as well as having a genuinely individual point of view.

With these women, and the many other top up-and-comers you’ll find at the multitude of comedy shows across the region, it’s fair to say we are in safe hands!

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