Award for Equity
4 April 2017
The Leicester Comedy Festival special award for Lifetime Contribution has been given to Equity in recognition of the work the union does to support comedians. During the presentation made on April 3rd in Leicester the Festival Director, Geoff Rowe said that the judges thought the contribution made by Equity during the festival over the past 12 years along with the difference the union makes to the comedy scene should be recognised.
Since 2005 Equity has run workshops and advice sessions for emerging and established comedians, visited all the venues, talked to comedians and promoters about the union and for many Equity comedians, this has been the first time they have had direct contact with their union. For others it has been the spur they needed to join the union. More active engagement amongst comedians has resulted in the setting up of the Equity Comedians Network which is doing great work on pay transparency and contracts.
Over the years Equity has particularly been associated with the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year final and in the past few years with the annual I Say event. This is a chance for a well-established comedian to discuss with an audience their view of comedy and their experiences of the comedy industry. The first to do this was Alexei Sayle followed by Nicholas Parsons and this year it was Janice Connolly (aka Mrs Barbara Nice), who also compered the awards event.
On giving the award to Louise Grainger who has lead the union’s work with the festival, Geoff Rowe said "you may not know her name as she is mainly behind the scenes at the festival, but you will all know the organisation!" Louise was delighted to accept the award which came towards the end of the ceremony which saw ten other awards given out and culminated with the very special Legend of Comedy presentation.
This was given posthumously to Victoria Wood and was collected by Victoria’s sister Rosalind who made a speech celebrating her sister’s career. This was made even more special by the fact that it was delivered in a venue just around the corner from the former Phoenix Theatre (now Sue Townsend Theatre) where Victoria Wood got an early lucky career break in 1976 as a relief pianist in ’Gunslinger’, a musical set in the Wild West, starring her husband-to-be Geoffrey Durham and Alan Rickman.
Full list of winners:
Legend of Comedy
Lifetime contribution to Leicester Comedy Festival
Louise Grainger & Equity
Winner: The Elvis Dead
Nominees: Lucy Thompson: Shake It Off; Olaf Falafel and the Cheese of Truth ; Sean Morley: Earned Helplessness; The Elvis Dead.
Best New Show
Winner: Stuart Goldsmith: All The Time In The World
Nominees: Maddy Anholt: work in progress; Paul Currie: Catzinmymouth; Paul F Taylor: Look A Distraction; Sarah Johnson: Reminisce; Stuart Goldsmith: All The Time In The World.
Best Musical/Improv Show
Winner: The Elvis Dead
Nominees: Russell Hicks: From the Heart; Scriptless in Seattle; The Elvis Dead; The Harry & Chris Show.
Best Kids Show
Winner: Sooty & Co
Nominees: Jarred Christmas and The Hobbit ; Mini Fridge - Kid’s Court; Sooty & Co.
Best Venue (under 200 capacity)
Winner: The Black Horse
Nominees: Brewdog; Firebug; The Black Horse; The Cookie; The Exchange.
Best Venue (over 200 capacity)
Winner: The Little Theatre
Nominees: Curve; De Montfort Hall; The Cookie @02 Academy; The Little Theatre; The Y.
Winner: Naked Comedy
Nominees: Make ‘Em Laugh Exhibition/George Williams; Naked Comedy; Roar With Laughter Fringe; The Thermos Museum; @deadmonarchs exhibition.
Winner: Captain Coliño’s Comedy Playhouse
Nominees: Captain Coliño’s Comedy Playhouse; Daniel Nicholas & Attenborough Arts; Grays; Jokes on Us; The Cookie.
Contribution to Leicester Comedy Festival 2017
Winner: Crosscut Media
Nominees: Crosscut Media; Demon FM; LCB Depot; Takeover Radio.
Winner: Focus Charity
Nominees: Centre for Integrated Living; Elaine Pantling; Square Mile Smiles; The Real Junk Food Project; Focus charity.
Winner: Michael Brunstrom: Parsley
Nominees: Alasdair Beckett-King; Katherine Ferns; Kyle D Evans; Make ‘em Laugh; Michael Brunstrom; Rob Kemp.