Big laughs at comedy fest

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Halifax is set to become a serious – and seriously funny -- fixture on the UK cultural map with the ambitious new Halifax Comedy Festival.

Running from October 23 to 31, the festival will see more than 100 artists decamp to 14 venues across town, ranging from the well-known Victoria Theatre and Square Chapel Centre for the Arts to the Wellington Rooms and the Workshop, to legendary local music venue, the Arden Road Social Club, which has seen an array of artists grace its stage.

Other venues, such as Cedar Court Hotel and The Shay Stadium are well-known – but not for comedy. And there is even a secret venue for the festival’s specially-commissioned Hidden Theatre.

The 50-event strong line-up ranges from big names such as Paul Chowdhry, Andy Hamilton, Seann Walsh and Shappi Khorsandi to family friendly comedy, interactive workshops, free film screenings, and 12 top picks from the Edinburgh Fringe circuit.

Positive reviews for the Festival’s crop of Edinburgh shows confirm it as the best place to see the latest and edgiest comedy south of the border. Andrew Doyle, Angela Barnes, Charlie Baker and Suzi Ruffell have received huge critical acclaim for their Edinburgh shows and will all perform of part of the festival’s ‘Edinburgh Express’ series, each of which features two up-and-coming comedians for just £12 to £15.

Families are promised a hilarious half term, too, with child-friendly events taking place throughout the week including Marty MacDonald’s Farm, a musical directed by Iain Lauchlan, creator of The Tweenies and featuring the voice of Justin Fletcher of ‘Mr Tumble’ fame.

There are also stand up and clowning workshops for kids and plenty of free drop-in events throughout the week.

Festival director Tim Fagan said: “Halifax is unique in having such a wonderful and diverse festival infrastructure. The town, which is full of wonderful hidden spaces and stages, is, in many ways, readymade to start a major festival.

“The programme aims to be diverse, offering something for families, day visitors and those who may want to stay longer.

“The scale of the festival was important, as we wanted to shout about the value, importance and creativity of Halifax.”