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Wave of laughs on way as new pier cultural centre to host comedy festival
IT’S been a source of fascination ever since it arrived by barge to take up its place at the end of Southend Pier, and the new cultural centre will open its doors for the first time as the town hosts a new comedy festival.
The Wave Comedy Festival next week will see a host of top acts alongside popular local names. Kids and would-be comics and comedy writers can get involved as well with workshops.
Top comedian Terry Alderton will perform at a special charity night and established Southend comedy club the Joker will also host a night.
London comics Chris Mayo, Hils Barker and Eric Lampaert will make an appearance, while improvisation troupe Quirkish Delight entertain fans and Los Desperados add to the improvisation mix with some sketches.
Organiser and comedian Sadie Hasler, who regularly appears on Russell Howard’s Good News and has received rave reviews for her own Edinburgh shows, says: “Thursday night is dedicated to the Joker Club.
“The club has been running in Southend for 25 years now. It’s a really strong brand with a lot of support and lots of regular people going there – we’re kind of the opposite, we’re new and it’s the first time this has been done, and in a new venue as well.”
Of course, there’s always the chance the cultural centre won’t quite be ready for the comedy extravaganza, but Sadie’s not too worried about working around that.
“It’s supposed to be ready the day before the festival,” she says. “The council guy was quite open about the fact it would have been nice to have a sandwich of time in the middle.
“But we’re not going to panic because that would be silly. It’s comedy, so even if it’s still a bit rough round the edges when we get there, we’ll just celebrate it and have a laugh with the audience.”
The action carries on into the weekend. Friday sees the pier centre getting itself dolled up for a champagne charity reception in aid of the Rotary Club and it’s chosen charities, with Southend comic Terry Alderton being the star attraction.
“It’s going to be really good fun,” says Sadie. “The whole thing is going to be fun from the moment you rock up to the pier. There’s going to be drinks on the train with everyone having a great experience trekking down to the gig.
“Then there’ll be a champagne reception before the show itself.” Sadie and the other organisers, Lee Tearell and Malcolm Clark, were keen to include a charity element to the festival.
Sadie says: “It’s important with any community event to show an awareness of local need and community charities and to doff your cap at the efforts of everyone who has worked hard around you.”
Saturday will see a kids’ comedy workshop run by Sadie and fellow funnylady Sarah Mayhew, who’s known for her appearances with Quirkish Delight.
Sadie says: “We’ll run the workshop and then perform their stuff at the end, so their parents can come and watch Improvisation troupe Quirkish Delight take to the stage on Saturday with their no-holds barred brand of humour.
They will be followed by new improvisation and sketch troupe Los Desperados before the evening gives way to a triple bill of London comics.
The Wave Comedy Festival is at the Pier Cultural Centre, Southend Pier, between July 19-22. To book a place on the youth comedy workshop e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
WAVE COMEDY FESTIVAL Thursday, July 19, 8pm, £10 The Joker Comedy Club Friday, July 20, 8pm, £25 The Wave Charity Night Terry Alderton returns home with his award-winning tour show. Champagne reception Saturday, July 21, 14pm, £15 Youth Comedy Workshop 6pm, £6 Quirkish: Improvised Comedy Featuring Sarah Mayhew and John Oakes 7.30pm, £5 Los Desperados Anarchic sketches and impish improvisation 9pm, £7 Three Funny People Stand-Up from London comics Eric Lampaert, Hils Barker and Chris Mayo.
Sunday July 22, 2-5pm Comedy writing workshop.
8pm Comedy writing Showcase
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