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Manchester’s Women In Comedy Festival is Europes only festival dedicated to gender equality and takes place annually in Manchester, UK

The Women In Comedy Festival produces monthly  comedy shows and an annual comedy festival in Greater Manchester. ‘Set up as a reaction to the sidelining of women comics by club owners back in the day, Manchester’s homegrown Women In Comedy Festival (set up by Hazel O’Keefe) has found its feet in a very short space of time - only three years in attracting the likes of actress Maxine Peake as a patron, joining Isy Suttie and Jo Caulfield. It’s a very positive event, attracting massive headline acts.’  Manchester Evening News


The festival is co-ordinated by Dulcet Sounds founder Hazel O’Keefe with the support of the crew, main sponsors Laughology and our supporters and advertisers. The Women in Comedy festival continues year on year due to the energy and commitment of a glorious team who offer their time on a voluntary basis. Adding value to Manchester’s cultural offering, and showcasing performances of female comedy which are affordable and accessible encouraging all sections of the community to be involved. read more about our aims and objectives


Patron Susan Calman is “supporting the Women in Comedy Festival as a performer because there are few better places to perform than in Manchester, as part of such a supportive and celebratory festival alongside some of the best comics in the country.  As a patron I think it’s vital that the festival exists to showcase how diverse female writers and performers are, so that we can finally put to rest the idea that we’re all the same.  We’re not.  And with such a vast array of comedians showcased in October it’s a privilege to be part of it and to support it.”


The festival aims to celebrate all things funny and female across a variety of platforms including live comedy performances, comedy theatre, spoken word, book readings, film, visual art, installations, improvisation, photography, workshops and debates.   With a strong statement and a mixture of promotional, developmental and showcasing events, the Women in Comedy Festival is an opportunity for female comics to meet, perform, debate, discuss and get feedback from industry and peer reviewers. Aiming to put an end to circular conversations and blow certain myths out of the water whilst showcasing, promoting and nurturing female comedy across a variety of platforms.


Alongside headline acts, there will be open mic nights providing the opportunity for burgeoning talent to develop and for the punters to say, in years to come, that they were there at the beginning when a new telly star or award winning comic was performing their first gig. There will be compilation shows such as the best of the North West, workshops, panel shows, comedic plays and sketch comedy.


“I think it was really fantastic that it was put together by a bunch of local women and they’ve managed to kind of draw performers nationally, they’ve got people from so many different places, to kind of build up Manchester as a kind of place where you can go and see a wide variety of comics and for me as a southerner to go there and they’ve not got just northern acts, its really important.” (Audience Survey 2014 participant 71 )


The festival is still unfunded and is reliant on advertising, donations, submission fees and ticket sales from the launch event for running costs which are in excess of £150,000. If you would like to contribute to this project please purchase tickets for the launch night, donate to the festival or look at our sponsorship opportunities.


Actor Maxine Peake another of our festival patrons on appointment, Peake commented, “I’m proud to be supporting the UK Women in Comedy Festival as a patron. A festival filled with laughter combined with feminist principles taking place in the North … what’s not to support!” Originally hailing from Bolton, Peake is well known for her roles in Channel 4's Shameless, Victoria Wood's Dinnerladies, BBC legal drama Silk, BBC's The Village.


One of ‘the UK's best comedy festivals’ 

One of ‘the UK's best comedy festivals’