Tag Archives: conference

Steve Bell and Arnold Brown in conversation

As part of the ‘Comedy on stage & page: satirical cartoons & stand-up’ conference on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th January, we are pleased that one of the main events (open to all, not just those registered for the conference) will be cartoonist Steve Bell and comedian Arnold Brown, in conversation. Steve Bell and Arnold Brown will be talking with Olly Double (Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre) and Nick Hiley (Head of the British Cartoon Archive) about their work, and the place of satire in cartooning and stand-up comedy.

This event will be held in the Templeman Library Lecture Theatre (Ground Floor, Templeman West) and is free and open to all. For more information about the conference, and how to register, visit our conference page on this blog.


Poster advertising Steve Bell &Arnold Brown in conversation

Poster advertising Steve Bell &Arnold Brown in conversation

Interesting facts about the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive

1. The British Stand-Up Comedy Archive contains 22 collections; we have been collecting material since 2013.

BSUCA collections on our Calm cataloguing system

BSUCA collections on our Calm cataloguing system

2. We have material dating from 1970 to the present day, documenting the rise of alternative comedy and stand-up comedy. We are keen to collect material from relevant areas of performance including alternative cabaret, performance poetry and working men’s club comedy.

3. We have collected a range of material in a variety of formats (including photographs, scripts, diaries, audiovisual recording, posters, contracts) and for a variety of purposes (promotion, academic research, for broadcast).


4. Throughout 2015 we have been developing new workflows to ensure that the recordings in the archive held on legacy audiovisual formats (such as cassette tapes, MiniDisc and DAT) are digitised and accessible for researchers today and in the future.

5. The digitisation of both printed and audiovisual material means that we can provide samples of representative content from the archive on platforms such as Flickr and Soundcloud as well as on our blog.

6. We have worked to ensure a range of content from the comedy world has been collected and we have been keen to engage with comedy promoters and venues. Monika Bobinska donated a large collection of material from the Meccano Club (1985-1995) and Peter Grahame has given material from Downstairs at the Kings Head (established in 1981). We also have material from more recent clubs and promoters, including The Folkestone Comedy Club and What The Frock! Comedy.

Meccano Club Bookings Book.

Meccano Club Bookings Book. February-March 1995. Featuring acts including Tracy Brothers, Al Murray, Nick Wilty and Dylan Moran. (c) Monika Bobinska

7. One strength of the BSUCA collections is the number of unique, unedited interviews with comedians, recorded for purposes including academic research and publication (Oliver Double Collection), and radio broadcast (John Pidgeon Collection, Andrew Sherlock Radio Collection).

Interviews with comedians on DATs (Digital Audio Tapes) from the John Pidgeon Collection

Interviews with comedians on DATs (Digital Audio Tapes) from the John Pidgeon Collection

8. We’ve had some incredible events this year, with performers such as Mark Thomas, Attila the Stockbroker, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee, and Phill Jupitus (at the University of Kent), and Jo Brand, Susan Calman, and Stephen K. Amos (at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe). These events were all recorded and can be accessed in our reading room at the Templeman Library, University of Kent.

Phill Jupitus talking about a Red Wedge Comedy leaflet which cartooned for (as Porky the Poet). Photo Matt Wilson

Phill Jupitus talking about a Red Wedge Comedy leaflet which cartooned for (as Porky the Poet) during an in-conversation event with Oliver Double in September 2015. Photo Matt Wilson


9. We are holding a joint conference with the British Cartoon Archive ‘Comedy On Stage and Page: satirical cartoons and stand-up‘ (14-15th January 2016), which will explore issues including the relationship between the audience and the comedian, writing shows, the comedy industry, censorship, and women in comedy, and also highlight the Stand-Up Comedy Archive collections.

10. Alongside the conference we will be hosting a joint exhibition with the British Cartoon Archive, providing access to material from the archive and explaining more about its establishment, development and collections in the new Templeman Library gallery area.

British Stand-Up Comedy Archive Winter Update


As Winter sets in here at the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive, we thought we would give a quick update on what we’re currently working on! As we near the end of the year we are delighted to now have 21 comedy collections as part of the archive. We have now received material from:

–          Alexei Sayle
–          Andrew Sherlock
–          Attila the Stockbroker
–          BSUCA Events
–          Camden Fringe
–          Folkestone Comedy Club
–          Ian Gardhouse
–          Jeremy Hardy
–          John Pidgeon
–          Linda Smith
–          Lost Voice Guy
–          Monika Bobinska (of the Meccano Club / Canal Gallery)
–          Mark Thomas
–          Nick Toczek
–          Oliver Double
–          Peter Grahame (of Downstairs at the Kings Head)
–          Richard Herring
–          Robin Ince
–          Tony Allen
–          Tiernan Douieb
–          What the Frock! Comedy



New Lost Voice Guy Collection- November 2015

As our collections grow, it becomes increasingly important to list and catalogue every collection on the University of Kent’s Special Collections & Archives Calm archival database. All collections have been catalogued to collection level and significant progress has been made in the cataloguing of our first, and largest, collections: The Linda Smith Collection, The Mark Thomas Collection and The John Pidgeon Collection. These collections were made a priority at the start of the BSUCA project due to their size and the large amounts, and variety of formats, of audiovisual material within them.

Cataloguing increases access and availability of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive and the next major step for us will be when the full BSUCA collection listings will be accessible via a Special Collections & Archives CalmView site in 2016. Until this point we are happy to provide any further information regarding the collections and their content to anyone interested and material can be viewed in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room in the Templeman Library on request (email specialcollections@kent.ac.uk).


Just 2 of the boxes of comedy books from the Ian Gardhouse collection

It’s not long not until the joint British Stand-Up Comedy Archive and British Cartoon Archive conference (‘Comedy on stage and page: satirical cartoons and stand-up’) on the 14th-15th January 2016. We have received some fantastic abstracts for papers and are delighted to have speakers and guests including Ivor Dembina, Steve Bell and Arnold Brown.

More information will be available very soon regarding registration for the conference. We look forward to seeing you there!

As part of the preparations for the January conference, we will be holding a joint exhibition with the British Cartoon Archive in the brand new exhibition space in the new Templeman Library West, on the first floor, right outside the Special Collections Reading Room. We’re delighted to be able to exhibit a range of materials from the BSUCA archive related to comedy performance, promotion, venues, and the intersection of comedy and politics. This exhibition is due to be unveiled from Monday 15th December and will run throughout the conference in January 2016.


A selection of cassette tapes from the Andrew Sherlock Collection. Andrew created a radio show ‘Best of Order’ about the history & legacy of working men’s clubs in Merseyside [These tapes are currently being digitised]