Q: When is the next festival?
A: The next Birmingham Comedy Festival is Friday 2 to Sunday 11 October 2020. We typically run for 10 days every October, from the first Friday.
Q: Can I purchase a ticket for the entire festival?
A: Because of the sheer spread and number of shows in the festival, this sadly isn't possible at present.
Q: Can I purchase a ticket for [name of show] on the door?
A: Although there may well be tickets available on the door for certain performances, we cannot guarantee this, so where possible, we advise advance purchase. Details will be on the individual event page.
Q: Does the festival brochure include every festival show?
A: The majority of shows and activities are included in the festival brochure (which comes out in August), but there are always a few events that miss our deadline, so for the full line-up, always check the Line-Up section of our website....
Q: How can I take part in the festival?
A: Contact us for details, but basically, if you're an act, we often have venues and promoters who are looking for comics and shows and they may also have open spots; or if you're a venue, you can put on or host a show. We tend to put a call out for submissions around Easter(ish) with an initial deadline around end-June (for the brochure). Keep an eye on our Facebook page for exact dates and more information on how to get involved. However, we do accept submissions all year round.
Q: How do I enter the Breaking Talent Award?
A: The award is open only to emerging acts from the West Midlands region; it does not accept submissions (so you cannot nominate yourself!); competing acts are picked by a selection panel of comedy professionals based on performances since the previous festival. If you play a lot of gigs and are good ... someone might notice you!
Q: I'm trying to break into comedy, what advice do you have?
A: Perform as much as possible. Plenty of comedy nights have regular 'open spots' where new acts can try their luck, and once you get a few open spots under your belt, you can work your way up to longer spots. Open spots can be for as little as five minutes (which is longer than you think if you've never done it before). From a good five minutes, you can work your way up to 20 minutes over time. Don't rush it. Comedian and broadcaster James Cook also runs excellent stand-up comedy courses.
Q: Do you have any Open Mic spots available?
A: Once the full festival line-up has been announced, it's best to check fest' listings for 'open mic' shows and contact venues/ clubs/ promoters direct, as they may hold one or two slots open for 'newbies'. It varies from year to year.
Q: Can you recommend a show suitable for my grandma / child / teenager / cat ...?
A: Because comedy is so subjective it's hard for us to recommend particular shows for specific individuals we've never met. One person's hilarious is another's offensive! However, some shows will be 18+ (either due to licensing laws or content), and others will be open to a wider age group. You can find out more details on the venue websites, while a trawl of YouTube should give you an idea about a particular act/ show.
Q: What's the etiquette with free and 'bucket shows'?
A: They're essentially pay-what-you-want (PWYW) gigs that are typically free in with audiences encouraged to donate upon exit (with a bucket for donations). Although the show might be free, those involved will still have costs, so please do support live comedy, and give generously upon exit.
Q: We are a charity, can we organise collections at all your fest' shows?
A: Sadly we are not able to arrange festival-wide support for a variety of reasons, including our capacity (as volunteers), the sheer number of partners we work with (dozens and dozens!), and also the fact that many venues, promoters and/ or acts have their own chosen charities. However, the festival has previously featured individual events which support good causes, and we continue to welcome such activities.
Q: [Some show] has sold out - can you get me a ticket?
A: Unlikely. If it's sold out ... it's sold out. But feel free to contact the venue's Box Office direct in case there are any returns.
Q: Can I have a job please?
A: Sorry, there are presently no paid jobs available. If we do have any opportunities or commissions, they'll be advertised via our social media channels.
Q: Do you offer paid internships?
A: We are not presently able to offer paid internships.
Q: Can I book a food/ retail pitch?
A: As we're a festival that takes place across many different venues, and indoors, we are presently not able to offer food or retail stalls or pitches to traders.
Q: Do you have sponsorship opportunities?
A: Yes, we do. We can offer packages based around strands or the entire festival. Drop us an email with some info about who you are/ what you do, and we can take things from there ...
Q: How do we contact you?
A: We get this question a lot ... via the Contact page! We'll get back to you as soon as we can, although please don't be offended if we do not respond to sales stuff. However, if you send us (useful) information about what you're trying to flog, we will read it and get back to you if we are interested. Email is always the best / quickest way to reach us - we prefer email to social media DMs. Please do be aware that during our down-time, it can take a few days for us to respond, so do be patient.
Q: We are a charity and are organising a comedy night, and we want to book [big name comic]. Help!
A: Big name TV comics get asked to do loads of charity shows for free (and are often very busy), so we'd recommend that you do your research, consider an act who may be sympathetic to your charity's aims, and approach them professionally via their agent / management. Do not pester or troll them over social media. Many big name acts have their management contact details on their websites and/ or Facebook pages. if you are unable to meet their fee, be at least prepared to offer them transport costs and a decent meal ...
I'm a journalist and need some press information or images, where can I get them from?
A: There's an archive of festival press releases online. It goes back several years, so make sure you're looking at the latest info. For further information, including press/ media images and interview requests, drop a line via the PR contact form.
More Qs to follow...
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