Circuit Breakers

A support programme for new and emerging comedians. Photo credit: Andy Hollingworth

Our 2018 Circuit Breakers are:

Akin Omobitan                                 Kathryn Mather
Liam Bannigan                                 Regan MacNeil
Sian Davies                                        Stephen Harper

More information for 2019 to be announced soon…


Over recent years the programme of shows at Leicester Comedy Festival has echoed the Edinburgh Fringe model of people doing full shows, mostly around an hour long.  There are some mixed bill shows but these tend to feature comedians who are reasonably established.

We know there is an audience who want to seek out the newer acts during the festival and we also know there are plenty of acts from across the UK who want to come to Leicester but they are new and don’t have hour long shows.  Circuit Breakers will benefit comedians like this; the ones who are about to break on the comedy circuit.


“I did my first ever hour long show at the festival and had a lovely time.  I use the festival as an opportunity to do work in progress shows, as a stepping stone to the Edinburgh Fringe or touring shows.” Sarah Millican


We know that comedians massively benefit from performing at Leicester Comedy Festival.  They receive good publicity, can get reviews for their shows, increase their social media following, have the potential to get “spotted” by the industry and also maybe win an award or 2…

Circuit Breakers is different as this project is to support those acts who don’t have a full show to bring to the festival.  We know there is a lack of showcase shows at Leicester Comedy Festival and we often have to turn acts away if they don’t have full shows.  So, we’ve put together this package to support new & emerging acts each year.  They will get support to come to the festival, plus professional support from the festival team, as well as paid gigs during the 19 days.

The Circuit Breakers Project: How it started

One of Leicester Comedy Festival’s key aims from the very beginning was to provide a platform for new & emerging comedians.  We have done this over the years and now, in our 25th year, we want to encourage acts who don’t have full shows to come to the festival and provide them with professional support at the start of their careers.  Circuit Breakers will provide a supportive place for new and emerging acts to perform and develop their networks and contacts.  We think this is a new & different approach as it is for comedians who are at the very start of their careers.


“I have a long standing relationship with Leicester Comedy Festival.  I did the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year competition in 1997 and I won.  It was brilliant.  It was the first thing I had to attach to my name.  I’ve been back since. It’s been here for years; it’s such a long standing festival.  There is a brilliant comedy audience at the festival; they want to come and appreciate great comedy.”  Johnny Vegas


We know the festival is a great platform for emerging comedians and we want to continue this to provide this. Sponsors and funds are increasingly difficult for us to sustain but we want to continue our commitment to support new talent.  Recent feedback from our audience has shown that a significant number massively value this part of the festival and want to support new talent themselves.  Hundreds of comedians attend the festival each year but we want to specifically support those who don’t have full shows yet, and allow them to benefit from being part of the longest running comedy festival in Europe.

So, we asked for support from our audience and comedy fans across the UK for Circuit Breakers.

After 6 weeks of crowdfunding campaign, we are very proud to have raised more than £1500 to set up this project.

BIG Thanks to Julian Haywood, Shaf Islam, Mahmood Reza

Thanks to Graham Newcombe, Lee Ridley, Dave Deverick, Louisette Durham, Louise Ross, Lesley Davis, Deborah Gale, Anne Vinestock, Chris  Cameron, Ash Brown, Mark Ricketts, Sarah Thi. 

Even now that the campaign is over, we appreciate every contribution to help us build Leicester Comedy Festival and other events throughout the year. If you want to support us, you can donate by clicking on this link:

Thank you!


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