Forty years ago in May 1979, alternative comedy was born, changing the shape of British stand-up forever. Dr Olly Double, Reader in Drama in the School of Arts, in conjunction with The Gulbenkian, has organised a festival to celebrate the art form, entitled ‘Alternative Comedy Now’, which will include some of the funniest veterans of the 1980s scene, as well as some of today’s best alternative comedians. The Festival will run from Wednesday 1 May to Saturday 4 May 2019.
The Festival will open with the annual Linda Smith Lecture on Wednesday 1 May, to be delivered this year by the legendary Jo Brand, the writer and star of the critically acclaimed medical sitcom Getting On (BBC4), and the author of a numerous books from the 2009 novel The More You Ignore Me (made into a 2018 film starring Sheridan Smith) to Born Lippy, a recent Radio 4 Book of the Week. She is also a much-loved television personality, notably as presenter of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (BBC2/Channel 4). Such is her popularity, the event is already sold out.
On Thursday 2 May, Olly will host a conversation in the Gulbenkian with Alexei Sayle, famed for his appearances in The Young Ones (BBC2, 1982-1984), Alexei Sayle’s Stuff (BBC2, 1988-1991), parts in film and drama such as a role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) as well as a one-off appearance in Doctor Who (BBC1, 1985). Tickets to this event cost £5, can be booked here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/alexei-sayle-in-conversation-with-oliver-double/
On Friday 3 May, Olly will be in conversation with core members of Alternative Cabaret, in a free, unticketed event at the Gulbenkian. Along with the Comedy Store and the Comic Strip, Alternative Cabaret was one of the three pillars on which a whole new comedy movement was built, as a new wave of performers who banded together to present non-racist, non-sexist comedy. To find out more, please see the page here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/pioneers-of-alternative-comedy-in-conversation/
The Saturday will see a ‘Comedy Club For Kids’ being held in the afternoon at 2pm, featuring alternative comedians performing routines suitable for children, aged six to grown ups. The event costs £1 children, £8 adults and can be booked here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/comedy-club-4-kids/
And at 8pm on the Saturday evening, will be a grand finale, ‘Heroes of Alternative Cabaret’, featuring an impressive list of star names from the circuit including Arthur Smith, Steve Gribbin, Arnold Brown, Attila the Stockbroker and Lorraine Bowen. Tickets cost £10/£15 and can be booked here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/heroes-of-alternative-cabaret/