Comedy 2016

Comedy coming up this year

News about acts and performances at Dave’s Leicester Comedy festival is coming in day by day; here is our pick of what to expect.

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival has begun.

from 3rd to 21st February 2016, Leicester plays host to the longest-running festivals of laughs.

Get all the details from the Comedy festival website.

Little Asian Women

Friday 19th February and/or Saturday 20th February

at the LCB Depot in Rutland Street.

JAMJAR (Jews and Muslims Joined against racism) Presents….
Work-in-progress of new show

SAJEELA KERSHI: SHARIA’S L.A.W. (Little Asian Women)

Who’s the unsung heroine in your life?

A show celebrating the little invisible unsung heroines in every family. Bigging up those little women – Sometimes you need to visit the past to understand why you are who you are today? Partician, Refugees, sibling rivalry, misogyny and what on earth happened to the women of colour in the film suffragette? Will the real heroines please stand up and be counted?

Sajeela Kershi has been performing stand-up since 2006, getting her big break as part of Brendon Burns’s 2007 Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly Perrier) winning show, So I Suppose This Is Offensive Now? She made her Edinburgh Fringe solo debut in 2009 and was a Hackney Empire New Act Award finalist in 2011. Her TV credits include appearances on Comedy Central and on ITV2’s Comedy Cuts, she has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends. Radio 4 Saturday Live, 2015 saw Sajeela win the Asian Women of Achievement Award (Arts and Culture section) and received the Brighton Argus Award for Artistic Excellence for her multi-bill storytelling show Immigrant Diaries, a show that Sajeela created and curates and that has played to full houses across the UK. Sajeela’s broadcasting experience as a pundit has ranged across numerous BBC radio stations, Sky news, ITV London News and an ITN Election Special. The Huffington Post named Sajeela in their Top 50 Funny Women to follow on Twitter (@SajeelaKershi). You can also find her on Facebook:

20th February

Kafka or Magaluf

Part Rave, Part Nightmare, an immersive trip to a bureaucratic nightclub. Clipboard or waffle? Dance or cry? Kafka or Magaluf?

An immersive comedy show about finding out who to hate.

Malcolm Julian Swan presents Kafka or Magaluf
Saturday 20 February, 10.45pm
Age restriction: 18+
Tickets: FREE.

a unique free comedy-rave experience.  Reserve free tickets from the Dave Leicester Comedy festival website.

A hilarious line-up of stand-up, theatre and kid’s comedy.

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre will take part in Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival this February; hosting 12 new shows by local favourites and new emerging comedians.

In this programme, packed full of fresh new talent, we have a variety of comedy to make you giggle, laugh out loud and even question what is cool. In the first week of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival we’ve already witnessed a crocodile and a mannequin’s head falling in love, comedy from mental health service users, clowning from theatre company Fowl Humour and fast-paced comedy from participants on the What’s the Story workshop, some taking to the stage for the very first time!

The second week of the comedy festival is jam-packed and so is our line-up. We are offering comedy festival goers the opportunity to see two great shows at a discounted rate by Leicester-based comedian and self-confessed comedy diva Jack Britton, which sees him singing his heart out in this high energy musical comedy and Nottingham-based Lewys Holt who has created a semi-autobiographical show about what it means to be cool, expect music, dance and dress up!

Double bill tickets are available at for £8 to see Jack Britton’s greatest hits (debut album) at 7pm and Lewys Holt presents Of, Or, At A Fairly Low Temperature at 8.30pm on Thursday 11 February.

Comedy isn’t just for grownups; we have shows to keep children aged 3+ years entertained too during half term. As part of Leicester Mini Fridge in association with Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival we are hosting family shows, including Leicester Fridge presents Mini Fridge: comedy for kids. The even more Further Adventures of Shirley on Wednesday 17 February at 11am. This interactive show invites the audience to dance, sing and make crafts. The next children’s show has an exciting twist where visitors decide what happens next and watch as the magic unfolds in Lindsey and Ian’s Incredible Interactive Improv on Wednesday 17 February at 1pm. In Kids’ Court on Wednesday 17 February at 3pm, parents sit in the dock in the court where the kids are in charge! This is one not to be missed! Suitable for 7+ years.

Daniel Nicholas, Guest Programmer for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival, said ‘It’s been great to be involved in putting the programme together for Attenborough Arts Centre at this year’s festival, and there’s a real range of shows on for people to see, with comedians coming from all over the country, not just Leicester. We have The Book of Northern on the 20 February, exploring what it’s like to be Northern! The festival is a great time of year for Leicester and offers a wide range of comedy, something for everyone, and I think this year’s programme at Attenborough Arts Centre reflects that’

Tickets are available on our website: and at our Box office: 0116 252 2455.

I’m Migrant!

Ishi Khan-Jackson will be at The Guildhall on Tuesday 9th February. One of two shows she is doing, it starts at 8pm. The same show will also take place on Saturday 13th.

Ishi Khan-Jackson at The Guildhall on 9th February
Ishi Khan-Jackson at The Guildhall on 9th February

13th February


Local artist Poetman will be performing at The LCB Depot in Rutland Street.

Poetman is appearance at the LCB Depot on 13th February
Poetman is appearance at the LCB Depot on 13th February

More about Poetman on his Facebook page.

A Fete worse Than Death

13th February

Karen Sherrard is appearing in A Fete worse than death on 13th February
Karen Sherrard is appearing in A Fete worse than death on 13th February

Karen Sherrard: A Fête Worse Than Death
Welcome to the village fête in Llanfairchwaraesboncen, nestled in the South Wales Valleys. Join your host, 76 year old village busybody Iris Evans, in a fun-filled romp complete with competitions, slide shows and audience participation. Also featuring guest speaker, Esme de Flange, a lascivious TV gardener providing advice on sowing seed, trimming your shrubbery and producing a prize marrow. But will you be able to contain yourself for the grand finale? THE RAFFLE!

This one-woman show, written and performed by Karen Sherrard (winner of Last Mic Standing 2014), debuts at the festival this year.

“Refreshing, wry, warm, witty and winsome…you want to bottle Sherrard and take her home” Colin Sell, BBC Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

Show Information
Date : February 13th
Time: 10.30pm (doors 10.10pm)
Show length: 1 hour
Venue : Kayal
Info tel: 0116 255 4667
Tickets : £6 / £5 concs

Wisdom of a fool


The Little Theatre is proud to include Wisdom of a Fool – Saturday 13th February 2016 7.30pm – in their programme of shows for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival in 2016. Jack Lane’s portrayal of the great man (and of course patron of the Festival since its inception), received standing ovations when it opened at the Capital Theatre Horsham in September 2015.

Tickets and information.

Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February

Adrian Mole is back… only now he’s Woody Allen(ish)

Joe Hulbert as Woody Alan Photo: copyright Joe Hulbert
Joe Hulbert as Woody Alan
Photo: copyright Joe Hulbert

Woody Allen(ish)

Simon Schatzberger, who was chosen by Sue Townsend to play the
original Adrian Mole at Leicester Pheonix Arts Theatre and in the
West End, brings his Woody Allen show to Dave’s Leicester Comedy
Festival, uncannily performing his legendary 1960s stand-up comedy
(including ‘The Moose’). Following fantastically reviewed, sell-out
London and Edinburgh Festival performances, and before a series of
shows in New York and LA, this is a must see for fans of Woody and
classic American comedy.

Sat 13th & Sun 14th February 2016 at 615pm
Just The Tonic at Hansom Hall
54 Belvoir St Leicester LE1 6QL

Find out more:  Woody Allenish website | Just The Tonic

Doug Segal

Comedy mind reader extraordinaire Doug Segal will be performing his 5 star, critically acclaimed show, How To Read Minds & Influence People, at the Leicester Comedy Festival on 4th February at 7.50pm at Kayal.

Have you ever wanted to read someone’s mind or implant a
subliminal suggestion? Doug Segal (as seen on BBC1 and BBC3)
can teach you that and more in his hit show How To Read Minds And
Influence People, all while making you laugh in the process.

See Doug Segal’s website.

James Ross – Leopardoptera

After three sell-out Edinburgh Fringe runs with improv troupe Fat Kitten Improv, 2010-12, James has turned his hand to stand-up with 2013’s “Ross vs Violich: Pistols at 3.55pm” and 2014’s “Unicornucopia”. He runs cult favourite monthly night Quantum Leopard, just off London’s occasionally trendy Brick Lane: a pay-what-you-like, bring-your-own-booze affair that vaguely evokes the DIY spirit of the squat party. He likes pina coladas and walking in the rain and dislikes timewasters.

High-energy, left field stand-up for people who’ve read a book, without pictures, and enjoyed it. Charming moustachioed comedian WLTM audience with GSOH for fun, maybe more. It’s my first full hour. I quite like it, I hope you will too.

Brewdog Leicester, 8 Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RA
On 7th Feb 2016, Doors 1930, Show start 2000

Visit the Dead Cat Comedy Club page on Facebook.

Zahra Barri

Talk Like an Eygptian is on 17th February
Talk Like an Eygptian is on 17th February

Stand Up Comic, Zahra is a bit like the country of Turkey, in that she’s a mix of Eastern and Western culture, and also she is a bird. A fun look into Eastern and Kanye Western Culture. ‘Terrific’ Venue Magazine

As heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra and BBC Radio 2

Tickets and information.

Daphna Baram

Something to Declare

Sat 6 Feb 4:45 at Just The Tonic, Hanson Hall

How to pass the Englishness test, build a New Jerusalem and become UKIP’s worst nightmare – An immigrant speaks out

After a successful full Edinburgh Fringe run, shows at the Museum of Comedy London, Leicester Square Theatre, and Women in Comedy Manchester and Dave Comedy Festival in Leicester (Feb 2016) – Daphna Baram brings her “immigrational comedy” to Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. “Masterful; Superbly refreshing” (Bunbury Magazine), Illuminating and poignant” (The List)
Daphna Baram, an Israeli human rights lawyer turned journalist (Ha’aretz, The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman, AlJazeera, BBC), invaded the UK in 2002. 13 years in, she now finally has an indefinite leave to remain. Her journey took her from suicide-bombing infested Jerusalem of the early 2000s to the dreaming spires and endless social rules of Oxford fellowships, then on to London’s media world of air-kissing and double-talk.

She studiously memorised pub etiquette, East-enders knowledge, dead royals’ wives, posh ways of causing offence and Christmas do-s and don’ts – in order to pass the ultimate test of Englishness (and the dread of all immigrants): the pub quiz – otherwise known as the Life In The UK Test.

See her website.

Joz Norris

Joz Norris coming up on 20th February
Joz Norris coming up on 20th February

Award-winning idiot and one-man comedy cult Joz Norris
presents potentially the most audacious, ambitious and
unique show at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2016 –
one idiot doing one comedy show in two places at the
same time. Quite whether it’ll work is anybody’s guess.
There are two audiences in two adjacent venues. One
man, via a bit of multimedia trickery, a lot of running, and
a series of enthusiastic comedy stunts that can be
performed in an endless series of variations, will attempt
to keep both audiences entertained simultaneously.
Whether it ends up a precisely engineered triumph of
intricate technical complexity, or a chaotic mess that only
just about holds together, it’ll be one of the silliest,
stupidest and most unique bits of nonsense in Leicester
this year.

Heroes @ The Criterion & Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus
Saturday 20th February, 13:00
Free Entry

Best of Irish is on 5th and 6th February at Hayla, Granby Street
Best of Irish is on 5th and 6th February at Hayla, Granby Street

Hilarity Bites present
Three of Ireland’s finest acts come to Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival for 2 special nights of top comedy.

Venue: Kayal, 153 Granby Street

Tom O’Mahony, an Irish stand-up and I will be performing for 2 nights (5-6th Feb) with a few other Irish comedian chums (it’s an odd word I know) at Kayla on 153 Granby Street. The shows will consist of Tom O’Mahony and Conor Drum on Friday 5th and Eleanor Tiernan joins us for the craic on Saturday 6th February.

Tickets and information.

Lost Voice Guy

Thursday 18th February
Award winning comedian, Lost Voice Guy, is inviting comedy fans to take part in a stupid amnesty at the Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival this February, where he will host his new show ‘Disability For Dunces’. 
Have you ever wondered how disabled people have sex? Or if disabled people have considered an exorcism? And just why are disabled toilets big enough to run around in? Lost Voice Guy will answer all these questions and more. 
And, on the day that Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival begins, he is launching the stupid amnesty to invite the general public to submit their questions about disability so he can finally put the record straight on a few matters in his show.
‘Disability For Dunces’, will be at The Kayal on Granby Street at 6.30pm on Thursday 18 February and will feature the bizarre questions that Lost Voice Guy gets asked on an all too regular basis.


8 Friar Lane
Telephone: 0116 262 3566

Leicester Guildhall

Guildhall Lane, Leicester, LE1 5FQ

153 Granby Street,

Dover Street,
Telephone: 0116 255 1302

Wellington Street,
Telephone: 0115 910 0009

See also:

Our page listing What’s On in Leicester.



News just in

News about arts and heritage

A look at our sizable in-tray of press releases and announcements.

22nd January 2016

Moon Song at Curve

Leicester’s Curve theatre have partnered with Remploy to fund three performances of Bamboozle Theatre Company’s Moon Song, to be performed in its Studio at no cost to the audience on Mon 1 Feb. The intention behind these free performances is to offer assistance to young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who are making the often difficult transition from childhood to adulthood.

Moon Song is an enchanting, space themed Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) production telling the story of Megan, who falls asleep and dreams of travelling to the moon. This production is carefully designed to accommodate the wide range of abilities within the autistic spectrum, through Bamboozle’s trademark interactive style.

The performances are part of a series of activities hosted at Curve and leading up to the Local Offer Live event which takes place at Curve on Wed 3 Feb.

Curve’s Chief Executive, Chris Stafford, said:

“Following the success of our recent Relaxed and Dementia Friendly performances of Oliver! our commitment to making theatre accessible to all is stronger than ever. We are thrilled to be working with Remploy to stage these performances of Bamboozle’s Moon Song for young people with SEND. It’s really important to us that Curve is renowned as a theatre where everyone can engage with the arts, and we look forward to welcoming special needs schools and SEND practitioners from across Leicester to these performances.

26th October


Organisers of the annual Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival are launching their search for the best Silver Stand Up Comedians. The Silver Stand Up Competition, organised in partnership with Silver Comedy and supported by Jasper Carrot, Arthur Smith and Sir Bruce Forsyth, will take place on Thursday 18th February as part of the annual Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. Comedians aged over 55 are encouraged to enter for the chance to win the 2016 title. The deadline for the competition is Friday 8th January 2016 and further details are available by contacting
Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival set up the competition in 2012 to provide a showcase for older comedians. The first competition was won by Shelley Bridgman who continues to gig regularly across the UK and has helped launch the BBC search for the best script that promotes a positive portrayal of transgender characters. The 2013 winner was Marc Lucero, who regularly gigs across London and has appeared on BBC Breakfast News. On winning the competition, Marc said “I want to change the perceptions people have of the elderly and by winning this award I have proved that humour transcends age. Now we need to convince audiences that silver comedy is just as edgy and exciting as seeing the young bucks. Winning the Silver Silver Stand Up Award also proves it is never too late to start a new career.” The 2014 competition was won by comedian Peter Callaghan, who recently returned from performing as part of Old Folks Telling Jokes at the Edinburgh Fringe, and in 2015 the competition was won by Ed de Cantor. Ed had given up performing stand up aged 40, thinking he was “too old”. On winning the competition in 2015, he said “I am completely over the moon. Winning this competition is a dream come true.”

17th September 2015

Proposals set to transform Leicester’s Market

LEICESTER’s outdoor market could be set for a stunning transformation if new proposals are given the go-ahead.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby is considering major investment in the 800 year-old market, to ensure it is fit for the future and to complement the ongoing redevelopment work in the area.

The improvements would follow the construction of a new public square on the site of the old indoor market, and the repaving of the roads surrounding it, but would take priority over an extension to the Corn Exchange building.

Initial proposals for the outdoor market are to give it a fresh new look, with improved stalls, better lighting and new signage.

The revamp could include changes to the roof to make it more transparent, and the installation of LED lighting, which would save energy and reduce costs.

Shoppers and traders will be consulted on the proposals as part of the detailed design process, and it’s expected that final designs will go to the City Mayor for approval early next year.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “It’s clear that the work we’ve already done at the market has made a huge difference, with the new food hall providing customers with the attractive shopping environment they want.

“The creation of a new public square and improvements to the roads and pavements around the market will really transform the area, but they will also highlight the poor quality of the outdoor market.

“I am therefore proposing that improvements to the market should take precedence over the Corn Exchange extension, which is something we could look at again in the future when we have seen how the new public square is being used.

“The market has been a significant feature of the city for hundreds of years, and we need to ensure it retains that position for many more years to come.”

Consultation on the proposals for the outdoor market will begin in the next few weeks.

Project manager Mike Dalzell said: “We have a lot of preparation work to do to move utilities and carry out necessary changes to the highways, but our aim is for construction of the new square to begin in the new year and finish by autumn 2016.”

The first phase of the market redevelopment was completed in May 2014, with the opening of the bright and airy new food hall.

The food hall has already won several awards, including Best Food Market from the National Markets Association (NABMA) and Best New Building from the Leicester Civic Society.

[Source: Leicester City Council]

28th August 2015

Everybody’s Reading

Everybody’s Reading- September 26th – October 4th

This annual festival is packed with over 140 events in 60 venues over nine days. Libraries around Leicester will be taking part, hosting numerous events – these include: local author Bali Rai will be at New Parks Library to talk about his passion for football and books; listen to scary stories and get creative with book illustration workshops at Fosse Library; at Beaumont Leys Library we have Toddler Tales with stories for younger library visitors all about Autumn Animals, and at Evington Library we have Under The Sea where fishy tales will come to life.  Watching the Detectives and John Martin (Leicester’s ‘Mr Crime’) are two of the events at Central and Hamilton Libraries for crime readers out there.

Booster Cushion Theatre for Children will also be at Fosse, Westcotes, Pork Pie and Brite Centre libraries with their show for young children and parents – Big Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

This year also sees the welcome return of BLAM!, our promotion of all things comic-related. The event at Central Library on Wednesday 30th September is a slight change to the one advertised in the brochure in that we are excited to be hosting a talk by comic-writer, Jamie Delano.

Jamie has written for 2000AD and DC Comics, as well as titles such as Dr Who, Captain Britain and Hellblazer. If you have an interest in comics, either as a reader or a writer then this event is for you.

For more events and details on how to book plus ticket prices pick up a festival guide or download it at

28th July 2015

New film about Children’s Comedy

Sceene from Kenton Hall's film A Dozen Summers
Scene from Kenton Hall’s film A Dozen Summers

Leicester’s writer and director Kenton Hall is behind a new film. As the website asks:

Are you 12 years old? Have you ever been 12 years old? Are you planning to be 12 years old at some point in the future? If so, then this is the film for you. “A Dozen Summers” is a comedy about what it’s really like to grow up in the 21st century. Get ready to enter the world of Maisie and Daisy McCormack, twin sisters who have just hijacked a children’s film in order to tell their own story. Or possibly one about a ghost girl who eats teachers. They haven’t decided yet.

See the website for A Dozen Summers

The film will be screened at Phoenix from 21st August

6th July 2015

Plans for riverside Development

PLANS for a major programme of work to improve access to Leicester’s riverside have been announced.

Leicester City Council has teamed up with the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust to help enhance the river corridor through the city, as part of a wider programme of work to reduce flood risk.

The programme of improvements has been awarded up to £1.5million from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) Local Growth Fund, with £850,000 of this earmarked for a first phase of projects along the River Soar and Grand Union Canal due to begin over the next year.

The improvements are being match-funded by the Environment Agency, which has been awarded £33milllion of Government funding for a five-year programme of flood risk management in the city.

The Canal & River Trust has also allocated £500,000 towards the project, which will fund important maintenance, including ongoing dredging works, to help ensure the waterways are accessible, attractive and welcoming.

A new cycle link along the river between Loughborough Road and Thurcaston Road will be created, and plans are being drawn up to improve and extend the cycleway between the river and the Great Central Railway.

The Environment Agency will also undertake a five-year, £6million programme of flood relief in the Abbey Meadows area from next year. This will include culverts under Thurcaston Road and Loughborough Road, new cycle links, creation of new wetland and woodland areas, and other environmental improvements.

The Canal and River Trust will improve the existing towpath along the Grand Union Canal from the city centre to Watermead Park.

The programme also includes creating better access to the riverside at Sock Island, environmental improvements around Willow Brook, restoration of the old, redundant mill race at Frog Island, and new boat mooring alongside Friars Mill.

Read more about this

3rd July

Festival of Archaeology

Jewry Wall Museum will be hosting a series of special events as part of the city’s two-week Festival of Archaeology.

The museum will be helping to celebrate the city’s rich archaeological heritage with guided walks, talks, displays and family-friendly activities.

The 2015 Festival of Archaeology runs from 11-26 July, but kicks off with a preview event at the University of Leicester on Saturday (4 July). Staff from the city council’s museums service and volunteers from the Friends of Jewry Wall Museum will be on hand at the event, offering activities including coin striking and marching drills with a Roman soldier.

On Sunday 12 July, visitors to Jewry Wall Museum can join in with a free ‘Romans and Barbarians’ day. It will include the chance to watch a Roman army on parade, see demonstrations of Roman arms and armour and strike your very own Roman coin.

There will also be craft activities, family games and an exciting finale to the event when a Barbarian warrior queen arrives on her war chariot to defy the might of Rome.

Daily from 12-26 July, the museum will run tours of Leicester’s Roman bath house, with replica objects to handle. Tours take place from 12-12.50pm each day.

On 18 July, at 2pm, there will be an illustrated talk and book-signing from Gareth Williams, curator at the British Museum, on the topic of Viking warfare in the light of new discoveries. Tickets are £5 and can be booked on 0116 225 4971.

And as a finale to the festival, the museum will host a Viking warfare day on Sunday 26 July. A full Viking encampment will be set up amidst the Roman ruins of Leicester, just as it might have looked in the 9th century, when these lands fell under Viking rule. Admission is £2 for adults, £1 for children.

Cllr Piara Singh Clair, assistant city mayor responsible for culture, heritage, leisure and sport, said: “I’m really pleased that our staff are able to work so closely with the dedicated volunteers from the Friends of Jewry Wall Museum to put on so many great events for the Festival of Archaeology.

“These family-friendly events mean everyone can get involved in celebrating Leicester’s rich archaeological heritage.”

Find out more about the Festival of Archaeology 2015

Find out what to do at Leicester’s museums

1st July

St. Nicholas Circle gets revamp

improve pedestrian and cycling routes around Leicester’s St Nicholas Circle will enter its final phase next week.

The ambitious £1.7milllion scheme has already seen improvements completed on the south side of the busy junction. Wider pavements and a new cycleway have been constructed from Peacock Lane to St Augustine Road, where a lane of traffic has been removed.

A new cycle lane has also been created on the Southgates northbound slip road, and work to create a new entrance into the award-winning Castle Gardens is almost complete.

The project will now move on to the Jewry Wall side of St Nicholas Circle from Monday (6 July).

Existing footpaths will be widened and re-laid with high-quality block paving to create a joint-use footpath and cycleway. The number of traffic lanes will be unchanged on this side of the roundabout.
This stage of the project will also see the Harvey Walk footbridge, which spans the roundabout passing between the NCP car park and Holiday Inn, taken down. Work to create a new surface-level footpath in its place will take place next year.

The scheme is part of the Connecting Leicester programme and will create more attractive routes from the city centre to attractions like Castle Gardens, the Roman Jewry Wall and St Mary de Castro Church, which all lie outside the 1960s ring road.

22nd June

Reading for everyone

The programme for Everybody’s Reading festival is very, very close to being finalised. With a multitude of events taking place all over the city, there is definitely going to be something for everyone to enjoy. There are plenty of free events taking place in libraries, cafes, community centres and many more.

Highlights of this year’s festival include an exclusive schools only performance from Countryfile and Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton at one lucky school in Leicester, as well as children’s book-themed days at Gorse Hill City Farm, smelly perfume poetry workshop from the people who brought Lush to the High Street, crime writers, story tellers, poets and so many more workshops, exhibitions and readings.  There will be loads of opportunity to get involved with something to do with reading!

Everybody’s Reading 2015 runs from Saturday 26th September until Sunday 4th October 2015. Everybody’s Reading is a nine day festival taking place in over 80 venues across Leicester City including community centres, schools, cafes, bars, arts venues, libraries and museums.

The festival, now in its fifth year, is organised by the School Development Support Agency (SDSA) and is an off-shoot of the ‘Whatever it Takes’ initiative (see separate bullet point for more information on this initiative). The aim of the festival is to get Leicester reading by encouraging people to hear and attend spoken word, poets, authors and community writers.

Find out more from the Everybody’s Reading website

23rd June

The Damask Rose

A CENTURIES-old local tradition as kept alive when the Lord Mayor of Leicester attended the Damask Rose ceremony on 24th June.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Ted Cassidy,  marked the annual custom when he received the symbolic peppercorn rent of a Damask Rose and four old pennies from the landlord of O’Neill’s, a pub in  in Loseby Lane.

The Lord Mayor said: “This is a local custom that dates back hundreds of years and I am delighted that we are continuing and protecting the tradition.”

Steve Thorn, landlord of O’Neill’s Leicester, said: “We here at O’Neill’s are happy to keep up this long-standing tradition and hope we can build on it in the future.”

Dating back to the 1600s, the Damask Rose ceremony survived until 2001 when the O’Neill’s chain took over the pub. The former Lord Mayor, Colin Hall, was instrumental in re-instating the ceremony in 2010.

In keeping with tradition, the Damask Rose ceremony takes place to coincide with the Feast of St John the Baptist and representatives from the Gild of Freemen of the City of Leicester will also be present.

11th June

Magna Carter celebrated

THE 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta was marked in Leicester with a packed programme of events. From Saturday, 13th June, people were able to find out how the medieval charter helped lay the foundations for the democracy we know today – and could learn how a baron with links to Leicester helped ensure the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215.

A an exhibition at the Guildhall – featuring a reproduction of the British Library’s copy of the Magna Carta – revealed the origins and impact of the charter, while an event at Leicester Market, on Saturday 13 June,  included medieval butter-making, traditional sweet-making and an appearance by the medieval rat-catcher.

The medieval Guildhall  – Leicester’s first town hall – hosted a Magna Carta day on Sunday, 14th June, when the Lord Mayor of Leicester talked to visitors about his role and local democracy, after musical performances from comedian Anthony King.

On Monday 15th June there was an opportunity to meet Baron Saer de Quincy – the rebel Leicester baron who helped ensure that King John accepted the terms of the Magna Carta. Baron de Quincy was joined by musicians from the Medieval Music Wagon at the special event at Leicester Market on Monday – the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.

The event also celebrated the standardisation of weights and measures – enshrined in the Magna Carta – with a selection of old Leicester weights, measures and scales on display in the window of the market’s customer service centre.

“The Magna Carta enshrines many of the things we take for granted today, particularly the rule of law and the principle that nobody can act above the law,” said City Mayor Peter Soulsby.

More news updates will follow in due course.


Reginald D Hunter in Leicester

Wednesday 17th June 2015

Reginald D. Hunter

at the De Montfort Hall

It’s always exciting when a well-known TV celebrity comes to Leicester to do a show. Prior to tonight I had seen Reginald D. Hunter on the television many times. He has appeared several times on programmes such as Have I Got News for You, Mock The Week, Live at the Apollo, 8 Out of 10 Cats, and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He is an artist who is readily recognisable with this deep, American Georgia accent and his now long dreadlocks.

Poster image for Reginald D. Hunters UK tour

Tonight Reginald did the whole show – from 8pm to 10pm with a twenty minute interval. He had no shortage of things to talk about.

The auditorium was pretty full for tonight’s show and people warmed to the American comedian – I suspect a lot of them had seen him before. His style was relaxed and conversational and from time to time he would chat with people in the front row. Reginald does not shy away from controversial topics: he is a master of drawing humour out of ticklish subjects and seeing the funny side of things that might make us uncomfortable. Through the night he kept the laughter coming. He often used a play on words and I have to say some his material was very clever. Much of his material was direct, often graphic and dealt with topics that many other stand-ups would prefer to avoid. But he did this in a way which was not primitively provocative but instead challenging and insightful.

Born in the USA, he now lives in the UK, coming here initially (at the age of 27) to be a student at RADA. Since then he has toured Britain extensively. His current tour is called The Man Who Attempted To Do As Much As Such. He ran a promo for it – a tour that takes in 45 shows.

Poster image for Reginald D. Hunters UK tour
Poster image for Reginald D. Hunters UK tour

He appeared at the Leicester comedy festival in 2000.  I asked him if he remembered that; he just said “That’s blast from the past” adding “I remember not winning it.” Since then Reginald has been back in Leicester many times playing Jonglers, doing one-offs and shows at The De Montfort Hall. Reginald appeared at The Melbourne Comedy Festival in 2014. I asked him how this Australian festival compares with the one we have here in Leicester. He told me “There’s no comparison. They are completely different animals. Leicester is much bigger.” he explained that a comedian is not in a country for very long and this might not be enough time to pick up on local things that people find funny at that time.

Tonight Reginald talked about his experiences filming with the BBC, including the time when they wanted him to sit with an eagle on this arm. he also talked about the filming he did for the BBC. Recently, Reginald travelled back to his birthplace in America to film Songs Of The South, which first aired in March 2015. The three-part BBC2 series documenting Reginald’s epic road trip from North Carolina to New Orleans through 150 years of American popular song. He explores the rich musical heritage of Georgia and, as the programme’s blurb says ‘A beautiful, original and hot evocation of the cradle of American music.’

After spending a couple of hours listening to this guy, you can’t help but like him. You can’t help but respect him – he is funny but he also has a depth to his work, his material; an impressive intellect drives that humour and he delivers it in a way that most people can relate to. He doesn’t preach about race; he just talks about his own experience of it and that of his friends and people he has met. He does that in a way that makes you feel comfortable but not too comfortable. He can make you laugh but he can make you think. Reginald is a man that does his own thing. That is the quality of a truly remarkable comedian.

Watch Reginald on Never Mind The Buzzcocks in April 2006

Visit Reginald D Hunter’s website

See also:

Our review of The Car Man at Curve

Our review of Beautiful Thing

Our review of Bromance



Us And Them

Sunday 3rd May

The Tetrad Collective

presented Us And Them

at Embrace Arts

Us and Them was a platform for new emerging artists and this was its third night at The Attenborough Arts Centre that presented tasters of new work by local artists.

The evening formed part of the Hand Made festival programme this weekend. See below for a link to a report on the music side of the HMF.

Tetrad is a collective led by artists, dedicated to engaging with the creative discourse of performance practices through the bringing together of local artists, thinkers and citizens.

The collective was founded by four Leicester based artists: Comedian Daniel Nicholas, Performance Artist Jack Britton and Dance Artists Lewys Holt and Katherine Hall (who performed at the UK Young Artists festival in Leicester November 2014). The collective, in partnership with Attenborough Arts Centre, are presenting a series of events throughout 2015 with the aim to foster performance and networking opportunities for emerging artists in the East Midlands.

The third Us and Them event will feature six local artists including De Montfort University student Nicky Daniels, Leicester-based dance artist Fern Chubb, Leicester-based artist Heather Forknell and Leicester based comedian and live artist Lindsey Warnes-Carroll.

Tonight, the audience gathered in the cafe/bar area of the arts centre at the opening of the evening; members of the company illustrated the theme Lost In Translation in this way: a member of the audience was asked to say something which was then communicated from one actor to the next by means of semaphore-type messages. various other actors then passed on the message to the next station until the communication arrived at its end point where the presenter announced what he had heard from the others – not what the audience member had said, presumably, a play on Chinese whispers.)

In the main hall (The Diana Princess of Wales hall), we watched a show that featured the story of an inflatable crocodile called Terrance and a mannequin called Julia.

This was the invention of Daniel Nicholas and told the story of how these unlikely creatures met, formed a relationship and married. It was a sort of soap-opera storyline that involved extra-marital affairs and Terrance touring the country as a Ukulele player and night club entertainer. Amusing, whimsical, satirical, it was party comedy sketch, partly fringe frolics but very funny.

Daniel Nicholas’s Reverb was part of Dave’s Leicester Comedy festival this year where it as nominated ‘best Festival Debut.’

Reverb (the love story of Terrance the crocodile and Julia the mannequin) was billed as ‘a surreal anti-love story, in reverse. Mixing story telling with comedy, draft surrealism was coupled with honest autobiographic discourse’, the programme notes explained. The story explored the highs and lows or a struggling performer and the strains that an obsession of a dream can have on loved ones.

Fern Chubb and Lily Thomas presented their dance sequence Who We Are. The girls’ gymnastic ballet was a visual into which you could read what you like. The choreography suggested a playful meeting of two children with duos and solo sequences reflecting their feelings and reactions to each other. The programme notes said ‘The work is semi-improvised with a set structure and material that we ‘riff’ off in performance.’ It was a performance that was richly poetic.

The evening was a really rewarding event that added something extra to the main festival programme of Hand Made.

We listed this event on our What’s On page; here is the entry:

3rd May

A night for emerging artists

Us and Them at the Attenborough Arts Centre

New performance platform night Us and Them will have it’s third night at Attenborough Arts Centre on Sunday the 3rd May (7pm) presenting tasters of new performance work created by local emerging artists.

Us and Them is brought to you by Tetrad, a collective led by artists, dedicated to engaging with the creative discourse of performance practices through the bringing together of local artists, thinkers and citizens. The collective was founded by four Leicester based artists: Comedian Daniel Nicholas, Performance Artist Jack Britton and Dance Artists Lewys Holt and Katherine Hall (who performed at the UK Young Artists festival in Leicester November 2014). The collective, in partnership with Attenborough Arts Centre, are presenting a series of events throughout 2015 with the aim to foster performance and networking opportunities for emerging artists in the East Midlands.

See also:

Coverage of the Hand Made Festival’s musical offerings on our magazine Music in Leicester

The website for the Tetrad Collective

John Shuttleworth

9th February 2015

 John Shuttleworth – A Wee Ken To Remember

at The Little Theatre

Joe Simons was there

“We all go a little funny when we get older.” What is probably best described to the layman as “an elderly Alan Partridge doing Bill Bailey”, or rather, “Count Arthur Strong goes musical”, John Shuttleworth has rocked audiences all over, from Windermere to Kendal, Guildford to Maidstone.

He came on stage halfway through eating a custard cream, which was, disappointingly, a lot softer than he expected. This would set the tone of the evening as the wonderfully bumbling, lovingly befuddled OAP Shuttleworth, the alter ego of veteran comic Graham Fellows, took the stage.

I went to see this Leicester Comedy Fest show at The Little Theatre, a venue I had not been to before and was surprised to find it just tucked away off of a main street I have used for years. My friend and I, nursing a pre-show drink, perused the merchandise which consisted of the usual fare of CDs, DVDs and fridge magnets to more age-appropriate items such as flasks, tea towels and travel rugs. Indeed Fellows gets the middle-England, Rover-driving, polo-neck jumper-wearing feel right down to the very detail!

The title of the show is actually the result of a typo, and Shuttleworth uses this to talk both about the titular Ken (neighbour/friend/booking agent) and some of his favourite weekends… Other rambling topics are digressed upon, such as how Cinnamon Grahams have lost his trust now that they have changed their name to Curiously Cinnamon (“it sounds like drugs!”) to the fact that Andy Murray doesn’t win anymore because he’s stopped doing “that angry face.”

The black stage adorned with only a stool, a microphone and his keyboard (“ballad setting ON!”), all the attention was on versatile singer-songwriter Shuttleworth as he ripped through (or rather, carefully primed apart) a genre-defying set, from rock ’n’ roll (“Yes, it is the devil’s music”) to calypso (“Get up and move your feet!”), playing a lot of his self-claimed ‘classics’ such as Y-Reg (an ode to his Austin Ambassador) and Can’t Go Back to Savoury Now (a poignant story of starting on your pudding before you’ve had your fill of the main).

Seeing as it is equal parts acting, stand-up and music, Fellows does a great job in never letting any of these facades slip, which is what you’d expect from a comedian who has been playing the same role for nearly 30 years. One feels inclined to almost review it as a performance piece rather than a stand up comedy musical. There’s something odd about watching a man, bearing in mind he’s been playing the same elderly character since he was in his 20s, gurning his way through offbeat performances and quirky musical numbers.

Fellows has been quoted as saying he can’t carry on playing the character forever; it must be hard to relinquish a side of yourself that is so prevalent and long lasting. Where does Fellows end and Shuttleworth begin? Who wears the slacks?! Maybe enough existentialism for one night…

Aside from some sound issues during the first act, the show was hilarious and genuine hearty laughs came by the bellyful. If you’re over 50, be it in mind, body or soul, and find yourself laughing and the slowly encroaching signs of dementia on the elderly then I highly recommend this show to you! Catch Sheffield’s answer to Supertramp on his tour until the end of March.

See also:

What’s on in Leicester

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2015



4th February 2015

Comedy we will be seeing

at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival

This page forms part of our archives

The world-renown comedy festival starts in Leicester today.


Here are the shows we will be going to

Friday 6th and Saturday 7th February

Lee Kern

Lee told us:  ‘I have had my own series on Channel 4 called Celebrity Bedlam (“Quite possibly the funniest thing that’s ever been on the telly” VIZ COMIC); have presented for Big Brother in the past; have voiced C4’s Modern Toss – and am currently writing and performing on E4 show Bad Robots with Michael Gambon, (“An absolute joy. I haven’t laughed so much for a long time” THE GUARDIAN).’

See the website for the LCB Depot

Saturday 14th February

Tim Fitzhigham: Valentine’s Kama Sutra

After not being nominated for a single AWARD LAST YEAR Tim FitzHigham is BACK at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2015.  TWO SHOWS – both at Bob Slayer’s (insert your own adjective here) venue Heroes@LCB Depot 31 Rutland Street, Leicester LE1 1RE

14th FEB VALENTINE’S NIGHT SUTRACULAR – it’s a one off revival of Tim’s legendary Karma Sutra Special unlocking the secrets of the greatest love book – come and laugh…the perfect way to spend the 14th

21st FEB HELLFIRE – the incredible TRUE story of a fan letter that leads Tim on a rapidly unravelling Da Vinci coded puzzle of his own, The Illuminate, The Knights Templar and near death await…and in the words of someone else ‘my is it funny’ (5 stars)

Tim will also be appearing in Fool Member’s Club – his late night nonsense of a…not so much a show more a travesty with Bob (insert your own made up surname here) and Comedy in the Dark on 20th Feb.

Tim FitzHigham is a multi-award winning expeditionary comedian, writer and water recycler.  He invented the definitive joke about crows AND dislikes unnecessary capitalisation

Saturday 21st February

Funz and Gamez

This might be of interest to your readers with kiddies and grandkiddies?  It’s a fantastic family comedy show which started in a tiny dingy room in Edinburgh last year as a bit of a laugh, it took the Fringe by storm and ended up packing out the houses, winning a Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award and transferring to the Soho Theatre for a month run over Christmas.  It’s such a brilliant – albeit very naughty – experience for all ages. Amazing reviews and we had a ton of comedians come with their kids and rave about it on Twitter – Josh Widdicombe, Sarah Millican, Katherine Ryan, Micky Flanagan, Michael McIntyre to name a few.

See this at Hansom Hall.



4th February 2015

This page forms part of our archives

Today workmen have started to erect the information signage for this year’s Leicester Comedy Festival,

So, here at Arts in Leicester magazine,  we are setting up up our own signage for our coverage of the festival.   This is it!   The main page for all things DAVE.

We will be going to some of the gigs and our reporters will be there clutching their little notebooks and pencils to tell you what they saw and heard.

So, please pop this page into your bookmarks and come back to it to find out what we have been able to offer.


See which shows we will be going to

on our JiggleMyJolly page

Gen up on the festival with

The website for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival

Find out what’s coming up at Curve

Live at De Montfort Hall

See also:

our contents page listing articles on this magazine

What’s on in Leicester, where we list dates of forthcoming shows

Our other page for the Leicester Comedy festival

News 2015

News about the arts, culture and heritage in 2015

Page last edited:  2nd November 2015

This page forms part of our archives

Scroll down ↓ for specific news articles

29th October 2015

Heritage panels tell history of Leicester’s Lanes

THE latest in a series of new heritage information panels are bringing to life the fascinating history of Leicester’s historic Lanes.

The panels tell visitors the stories of two landmark sites within The Lanes, including The Globe pub and Silver Street.

They are being installed this week as the latest in a city-wide series of heritage panels shedding light on the history of the city from Roman times to the modern era.

Serving beer since about 1720, The Globe is one of the oldest pubs in Leicester. Its ales were originally brewed with spring water from a well beneath the pub, and it was a popular inn with local knitwear workers in the 1800s.

Businessman Nathaniel Corah, founder of the hugely-successful Corah hosiery firm, started his business buying stocking-makers goods from the pub and selling them at a profit in Birmingham.

The pub’s name is reputed to come from the glass globes filled with water which framework knitters often hung in the windows to spread the amount of natural light. The new information panel will be placed outside the historic pub.

Neighbouring Silver Street, on whose corner The Globe stands, is one of the city’s oldest streets, and follows the route of the original Roman road from the town’s west gate.

Its name comes from the silver goods which were once made and repaired there, but its former uses were also reflected in the street’s earlier names, which included Sheep Street after its sheep market, and Hot Street after its bakery.

Silver Street was also once home to the Royal Opera House theatre, which was replaced in the 1960s by Malcolm Arcade, and the Il Rondo Ballroom, a dance hall at the site of a present day restaurant.

The panel is being placed outside Malcolm Arcade.

During the summer, a panel was also installed telling the story of the elegant and imposing former Natwest Bank building in Greyfriars, which was originally established as Pares’s Bank in 1900.

It was built on part of the garden of Greyfriars House, which itself was within the grounds of the former Greyfriars Friary, in which King Richard III was buried.

The bank changed hands and became a branch of Natwest until its closure in the 1990s.

[Source: Leicester City Council]

22nd September 2015

Golden Mile Gets Artworks

NEW banners designed by a local artist are being installed on lamp-posts along the Golden Mile.

The banners will help mark out the Belgrave Road area to both residents and visitors as a distinctive shopping and leisure destination.

The city council commissioned the banner designs – which were created by local artist Ashok Mistry – in consultation with the Belgrave Business Association and the local community.

There are five designs, all inspired by goods and services available along the Golden Mile, on the themes of men’s and women’s clothing, food, sweets and gold jewellery.

Ashok said: “Having grown up in Belgrave, this project was extremely enjoyable. Friends who aren’t familiar with Leicester have always commented on the energy of Belgrave. Visitors feel like they are in a whirlwind of activity, and it is this energy that I attempted to capture though the compositions.”

The banners will be installed in 50 locations along the Golden Mile.

18th August 2015

More history panels

MORE of the city’s popular heritage interpretation panels are being installed this month.

The panels, which celebrate Leicester’s 2,000 years of history, feature information on key buildings and well-known individuals associated with Leicester.

The latest installations include a series of panels called ‘Modern Leicester’, which focus on buildings of interest in the city since 1918. These include the former Palais de Dance and Lewis’s Tower, both in Humberstone Gate, and the former Leicester City Bus Depot, in the Cultural Quarter.

The Palais de Dance was built in 1927, and quickly became established as an upmarket dance venue complete with fountain, ornate plasterwork and crystal chandeliers. For the best part of 85 years, this building was the home of dance in Leicester.

It saw many name changes in more recent years ­– including The Studio, Zoots and Sosho – but to many local people, it will remain the place where they met their future husband or wife.

Lewis’s Tower has remained a popular landmark in the city, even after the demise of the department store below that gave it its name. The art deco tower – sometimes likened to the bridge of an ocean liner – conjures up fond memories of the store, which was well known for its Christmas grotto and decorations.

11th June 2015

BHM Radio2Funky

Volunteers Wanted!

Are you aged 14-25 and interested in a career in radio, journalism, arts or history?

Help us research and / or present the history of Black music, arts, culture and society in Leicester from the last 67 years.

Expenses paid! Boost your skills, knowledge and CV!

Training for volunteers will take place August–October 2015, Granby Street, Leicester.

This will include interview, research, presenting, media and broadcasting techniques, as well as working towards an Arts Award accreditation.

We are also looking for young people to help us manage the project.

Radio shows will be aired as part of Black History Month, October 2015.

Interested? Please contact Vijay Mistry


30th May

Popular music

Friday (June 5) is BBC Music Day. Each presenter at BBC Radio Leicester is championing a local band or artist, and there will be live performances throughout the day.

Down by the river side

BBC Radio Leicester will be at the Riverside Festival, where their gardening expert Ady Dayman will have “grown your own” sessions, helping people plant sunflowers and veg. Music in Leicester magazine will be covering the event.

The two-day festival takes place on the Mile Straight of the River Soar and on neighbouring Bede Park, Western Boulevard and Castle Gardens on Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 7.

The event is the city’s biggest free festival, combining live entertainment, activities for all ages and a dazzling array of arts and crafts and community stalls, demonstrations and attractions.
As part of the musical programme, the very best of local bands and musicians will perform on the main stage, including the winners of the city’s annual Original Bands Showcase event. The winners of the grand final held at The Musician Pub in May were Leicester band Dig Lazarus and runners up Not My Good Arm.

Both band will be playing on Saturday, June 6, at the festival, along with headliners The Brandy Thieves and The Strangler Figs. There will also be a beer tent with an acoustic stage on both days featuring local performers.
The festival finale on Sunday will be pop and soul band Sugabeat.

Tribute to great bands

A full report has been published on the Glastonbudget Music Festival on our sister magazine. The festival was held in Wymeswold 22nd – 24th May.

Read this report on Glastonbudget

Find out more about popular music in Leicester from our sister magazine.

Bid to honour Attenborough

CITY Mayor Peter Soulsby has joined those who are calling for one of Britain’s greatest cultural icons – and one of Leicester’s most famous adopted sons – to be chosen to appear on the back of the new £20 note.

Actor and director Lord Attenborough is already one of the bookmakers’ favourites for the spot, after the Bank of England invited members of the public to help them find a new face to replace the Scottish economist Adam Smith on the back of the note.

People are being asked to nominate Britons of historic significance who best represent the visual arts, with architects, photographers, filmmakers, sculptors, actors, artists and fashion designers all expected to feature on the long-list.

But the City Mayor thinks that the man whose work brought pleasure to so many, and whose generous support of the arts continues in Leicester to this day, deserves to be considered.

“Richard Attenborough was a brilliant director and a brilliant actor, and he passionately believed in making the arts accessible to everyone – particularly people with disabilities,” he said.

Arty Mayor

LEICESTER’S new Lord Mayor has taken on the chains of office at a ceremony in the city’s Town Hall. Cllr Ted Cassidy MBE, who has been a city councillor for 15 years, has been handed the role from outgoing Lord Mayor Councillor John Thomas, at a ceremony on Thursday, May 21. The new Lord Mayor (not to be confused with the Mayor of Leicester) has long been a supporter of music and the arts in the city.

Meanwhile the City Mayor (Peter Soulsby) has announced that Cllr Piara Singh Clair continues in his role, as Assistant Mayor, covering culture, heritage, sport and leisure.

Hall of Food

IT’S been twelve months since the new food hall at Leicester Market opened its doors to the public – and the bright and airy new building is proving to be a hit with both traders and shoppers.

Since it opened in May last year, market staff estimate that more than 500,000 people have popped in to buy meat, fish, cheese and other fresh produce.

See our article on the opening of the Food Hall.

TV Comedian heading for Leicester

Comedian Reginald D Hunter will be appearing at the De Montfort Hall on 17th June as part of his UK tour.  Television views have seen him on shows such as Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week and Live at The Apollo. Arts in Leicester magazine will be publishing an interview with Reginald soon.

29th April

Richard lll Appeal meets its £2.5 m Target

Leicester Cathedral is delighted to announce today that the appeal to cover its share of the costs of the reinterment of King Richard III is now officially closed, having met its target in full.

The appeal, for a total of £2.54m, was launched in May last year, immediately following the successful outcome of the judicial review, confirming that the plans for reinterment in the cathedral could go ahead.    The funds have been raised from a variety of places, including grant-giving bodies and trusts, including the Richard III Society;  individual donors, local businesses, and a community appeal to the people of Leicester and Leicestershire.     The names of all donors, whatever the size of their gift, have already been published on the Cathedral’s Appeal website, and are soon to be inscribed in a Book of Recognition that will be on display in the cathedral and St Martins House.

Some two-thirds of the money raised – £1.6m – has been spent on the tomb and the alterations to the cathedral to create the new space towards the east end where it sits, between the central sanctuary and the newly created Chapel of Christ the King.  Other expenditure is on the interpretation boards and displays, along with the creation of new part-time posts of education officer and volunteer manager for the cathedral as we move into the immediate new future, with greatly increased visitor numbers.  A grant from the diocese of Leicester of £500,000 got the appeal off to a flying start and this has more than covered the administrative costs of the project, such as core staff salaries and fundraising costs.

Call to Artists

As part of City Festival 2015, 21st – 31st August 2015.
A project put together by Silver Vine Arts


Silver Vine Arts invites artwork to be submitted to the second yearly Summer Art Trail 2015.

This exhibition gives practicing artists the opportunity to exhibit in LCB Depot and KN Arts in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter as part of City Festival.

Also part of Summer Art Trail are Attenborough Arts (formally Embrace Arts) , Graff HQ, Soft Touch Arts, Leicester Print Workshop, Cank Street Gallery, Unit 1 at The Great Central Gallery, Leicester LO-Fi Photography, The Queen of Bradgate, My Workshop, The Western and  The Cube Gallery at Phoenix Cinema

We welcome submissions of all artistic mediums such as painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, film, sound, projection, live art and design of the highest quality.

Submissions close 1st July

Find out more from the Summer Arts Trail website.

Training for Young Aspiring Arts Managers

2Funky Arts is running a FREE training course for people aged 16+ who are interested in a career in the arts, events and/ or festivals. The 7 week course will run on Thursdays, 6-8pm, from 30 April to 25 June 2015, at SEED Creativity Hub (Humberstone Gate, Leicester). It will include sessions, run by experts and guest speakers, on topics such as marketing, programming, photography, front of house and stewarding, as well as CV development.

It will also include work experience at UK’s Best Dance Crew at De Montfort Hall on Saturday 27 June.  The event will feature some of the most talented urban dance crews from across the UK and promises to be an evening of jaw-dropping routines.

Volunteers will gain valuable skills and experience that will give them an advantage in this competitive field of work. This programme, will be led by professional arts managers. Director of Seed Creativity, Dan Lamoon is a media production specialist and editor of From Dusk 2 Dawn online magazine. Vijay Mistry is Director of 2Funky Arts and a successful promoter of comedy, music and dance shows for established venues.  He has managed a variety of high profile shows, including The Real McCoy at De Montfort Hall and Leicester’s Best Dance Crew at Curve Theatre.

See the 2Funky Arts website

King’s prayer book on display

King Richard III's Book of Hours
King Richard III’s Book of Hours

A PRAYER book owned by King Richard III has gone on display at New Walk Museum.

Made of parchment and beautifully decorated, the Book of Hours was created in London in 1420, with handwritten prayers added for King Richard III around the time of his reign, from 1483-85.

It was loaned to the city for use in King Richard III’s reinterment ceremony at Leicester Cathedral last week, and is now on show at New Walk Museum. Read our article on the King’s reinterment.

The book is a collection of prayers to guide devotion throughout the day. It includes several additional hand-written prayers for Richard’s personal use, with his name attached. The date of the king’s birthday also appears, which is believed to have been written in by Richard himself.

One prayer reads, “Lord Jesus Christ, deign to free me, your servant King Richard, from every tribulation, sorrow and trouble in which I am placed…” As Richard’s personal prayer book, it is thought it may have been in his tent at the Battle of Bosworth.

It is known to have later belonged to Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, before eventually being passed into the library of the Archbishop of Canterbury during the early 1600s.

King Richard’s Book of Hours has been loaned to Leicester by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev and Rt Hon Justin Welby and the Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library.

Liz Blyth, director of culture and neighbourhood services at Leicester City Council, said: “We’re very grateful to Lambeth Palace Library for loaning this fascinating book to us, to coincide with our commemorations of King Richard III. This will give visitors to Leicester a fantastic opportunity to view this unique object, in the impressive surroundings of New Walk Museum.”

Giles Mandelbrote, librarian of Lambeth Palace Library, said: “Richard III’s Book of Hours is one of the medieval treasures preserved in the collections of Lambeth Palace Library. We are delighted to lend it for this historic occasion and for the enjoyment of visitors to the New Walk Museum.”

The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester said: “King Richard was clearly a devout Christian. The annotations show that this book was in regular use and it offers us an insight into King Richard as a man of prayer.”

The book will be on display at New Walk Museum until Sunday 28 June.

Other articles about the reinterment of King Richard III.

31 March

King Richard III’s Tomb open for public viewing

Leicester Cathedral has announced the times when the public can come and view King Richard III’s tomb this week

“King Richard III’s tomb is now a permanent feature in Leicester Cathedral. However, there are still a considerable number of visitors from all over the world in Leicester who we expect will want to take a last opportunity to see it before returning home,” said Liz Hudson, the Cathedral’s Director of Communications. “We anticipate a great deal of interest and suggest that people who live locally may find it easier to plan a visit to see the tomb at a slightly later date.”

Find out more about King Richard in Leicester.

21st March

King Richard in Leicester – things to see

A white rose on Bow bridge
A white rose on Bow bridge

Key points detailed on the funeral procession route.

20th March

Music for reinterment service composed

An anthem by York composer Dr Philip Moore will be sung at the service of Reinterment of King Richard III in Leicester Cathedral next Thursday, 26 March. Philip was Organist and Master of the Music at York Minster from 1983-2008 and is now Organist Emeritus of the Minster.  His setting of Psalm 150 ‘O praise God in his holiness’ is an adaptation of a much longer work written in 2007 for the Exultate Singers of Bristol.

He has reworked the piece for the Reinterment service by incorporating the medieval antiphon ‘Omnis spiritus’ (which would have accompanied the psalm in medieval liturgies) and adding parts for the same instruments as Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir has used in her arrangement of the National Anthem, which will be premiered at the same service.

Cathedral Director of Music Dr Christopher Ouvry-Johns said: “Finding the right setting of psalm 150 was one of the most difficult parts of planning the music for the Reinterment and I’m much indebted to Philip for the considerable work he’s put into revising the piece. This is possibly the most joyful and exuberant of all the psalms and while Christian belief in life after death means that there is rightly an element of hope in the service, it was important that this shouldn’t eclipse the solemn and dignified nature of the occasion.

While the lively rhythms of the main body of the piece conjure up images of celebration, even dancing, the inclusion of the antiphon ‘Omnis spiritus’ from the Bangor Pontifical (a 14th-century manuscript) at the start and the end of the piece put that celebratory atmosphere in an appropriate context. Indeed, what could be more appropriate for the 21st-century burial of a medieval monarch than a 21st-century composition incorporating medieval music?”

Philip Moore said “It is a great honour and privilege to have been asked to contribute to this unique and historic service, most especially because of my intimate association with York.   I was delighted when Dr Ouvry-Johns asked if he could see my setting of Psalm 150.

Although the adaptations I have made are considerable, I enjoyed revisiting the anthem and the chance to add parts for four horns was a refreshing challenge.  I am sad not to able to attend the service in person, but on my recent visit to a choir practice at Leicester Cathedral I was thrilled to see how well the choir was singing the work”.

[Source: Leicester Cathedral]

19th March

New medieval galleries open at Guildhall

LEICESTER’S medieval history has been brought to life in the fitting location of the city’s 600-year-old Guildhall.

Two new galleries have been created at the museum to house the city’s fine collection of medieval artefacts, thanks to a £69,000 grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Wolfson Foundation charity, and a £43,000 contribution from the city council. The permanent displays – which open to the public on Thursday – use digital technology and fascinating items from the collection to allow visitors to explore the streets of medieval Leicester.

The first of the new galleries looks at Leicester as a medieval market town and centre of trade, while the second gallery explores Leicester’s status as a religious centre.  An animated film provides an introduction to medieval Leicester, with a series of characters – based on real people from Leicester’s past – leading visitors on a journey through city life in the middle ages.

The new medieval galleries open to the public for the first time at 11am tomorrow (Thursday 19 March).

18th March

Solar eclipse echoes the fantastic astronomical events which took place during the time of Richard III

Historical astronomical data of the time of Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth examined by University of Leicester.

Richard III’s corpse could have been publicly displayed beneath a blood moon following his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth
A solar eclipse would have darkened the sky 529-years-ago today (MARCH 16) as Richard III’s wife Anne Neville died
Star charts showing the night sky on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth have been studied by University of Leicester photographer Colin Brooks.

This Friday’s solar eclipse has much relevance to Ricardians as it does for countless astronomers and stargazers across the globe.

Read the full story on King Richard in Leicester

Bones of the king are placed in coffin

The University of Leicester said, in a statement:

On Sunday 15th March, 2015 the coffining of the mortal remains of King Richard III took place in preparation for reinterment at Leicester Cathedral on 26th March.

The private occasion  took place in the Council Room – formerly a Chapel – of the University of Leicester. It was witnessed by a small number of representatives from the University and other key organisations, including the Cathedral, the City Council, the County Council, the Richard III Society, members of the University chaplaincy, an independent witness and relatives of King Richard III who donated their DNA as part of the identification process.

Following the completion of the University’s extensive programme of scientific analysis, the reinterment of all the mortal remains of Richard III, including samples, is considered to be a final act and there are no plans to reopen the tomb in the future.

In order to pack the bones into the lead-lined coffin, natural materials sourced from the British Isles which would have existed in the medieval period were used.  A combination of washed natural woollen fleece, wadding and unbleached linen were used for the layers of packing.  Linen bags, made by the pupils of the Richard III infant’s school in Leicester, were used for wrapping small bones and scientific samples.  The bones were laid out as if articulated in the lead inner casket. A rosary was placed in the coffin and the final layer was a piece of Irish linen embroidered by Mrs Elizabeth Nokes of the Richard III Society.  Once the lead inner casket was sealed, Michael Ibsen, a descendant of Richard III’s elder sister, Anne of York, fixed the lid of the outer coffin in position, which he made, of English oak, in his workshop.

17th March

Richard deserves a state funeral, claims Philippa Langley (BBC)

16th March

A LEICESTER performance venue is to be renamed in honour of the author Sue Townsend.

Upper Brown Street – formerly the Phoenix Arts Centre – is to be known as the Sue Townsend Theatre from tomorrow (Tuesday) as a tribute to the Leicester-born creator of Adrian Mole.

Sue Townsend – who died in April 2014 – began her literary career as the writer-in-residence at the old Phoenix and wrote her first play, Womberang, while she was there. The venue is now leased to Leicester College and used as a teaching venue for those studying the performing arts and music & sound technology.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby, who announced the city’s tribute to the author at her funeral service last year, will unveil a memorial plaque at the official opening tomorrow (Tuesday 17 March), when the new sign will be lit up for the first time.

See our review of Adrian Mole – the musical.

Archaeologists to be honoured

TWO archaeologists involved in uncovering some of Leicester’s most important historical finds are to be honoured jointly by the city’s Lord Mayor.

Dr Richard Buckley OBE and Dr Patrick Clay are both directors of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) – the organisation responsible for the stunning discovery of King Richard III’s remains in 2012.

In addition to finding the Last Plantagenet king, they’ve carried out painstaking archaeological work throughout the city over the last 30 years, including discovering the lost St Peter’s Church at the site of the Highcross shopping centre.

Dr Buckley was the lead archaeologist on the dig in summer 2012 which discovered not only the grave of the last English king to die in battle, but also revealed for the first time the long-lost Grey Friars Church.

While he was heavily involved in the now world-famous dig, his co-director of ULAS Dr Clay ensured the archaeological services’ other projects kept running smoothly.

Both men are due to be given a joint Honoured Citizens Award by Leicester Lord Mayor, Cllr John Thomas, at the Town Hall on Wednesday, September 24, at 3.30pm.

The work of ULAS is brought together in the book Visions of Ancient Leicester, which tells the story of the city’s archaeological discoveries from Roman times to the Middle Ages.

Lord Mayor Cllr Thomas said: “This is a unique partnership and a contribution which should be jointly acknowledged. They have put Leicester on the map and continue to encourage and engage public fascination in the city’s rich past.

“While Richard Buckley recently received his OBE, it would be truly wonderful for them both to be acknowledged for their contributions to the city by presenting them with this Honoured Citizens Award.”

Dr Clay said: “We are honoured to receive this award particularly from Leicester – a city to which much of our work has been devoted.

“The discovery of King Richard III is the most exciting of our achievements and is a testament to the breadth of expertise in our team. The experience and skills developed over 30 years laid the groundwork for the discovery of the king.

“Through our excavations of Roman and medieval Leicester, the Hallaton Hoards, prehistoric sites – in addition to nationally important ancient monuments – the discoveries we have made, interrogated and interpreted and led to a complete change in the way the archaeological landscape of the East Midlands is viewed.”

Dr Buckley, who led on the dig at Grey Friars, added: “We are delighted that the work we have done over the past 30 years is being recognised in this way.

“The work of our unit helped the university to win the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education – the highest honour in the university system.

“We are very proud of the increased knowledge of the archaeology and history of the city that has come about through our excavations, and to have helped people to appreciate its rich heritage.

“To be recognised by the citizens of Leicester in this way is truly an honour.”

[Source: Leicester City Council, 18th September 2014]

See also:

News about the built environment

News about Dance and dancers

News for 2014

Richard III worth £45 million to Leicester Economy (BBC)

See our contents page for an alphabetical list of all articles



22nd November 2014


Curve launches its 2015 season

When I picked up the brochure for the February to August 2015 season at Curve, I had a quick flick through it.  My immediate reaction was “Wow. This looks good!” But when I went to the launch event presenting some of the shows being planned for next year, I got really excited.

A panel of people presented some of the shows that are coming up next.  Curve Chief Executive Fiona Allan was in the chair, accompanied by Paul Kerryson (who bows out as Artistic Director at the end of this year), Nikolai Foster (Curve’s incoming Artistic Director), Luke Sheppard (Director) and Ben Atkinson (Musical Director).

Paul Kerryson has been the Artistic Director of Leicester Theatre Trust from 1991 – first at the Haymarket Theatre, and since 2008 at Leicester’s Curve – a theatre he was instrumental in founding, and which has become the cultural heart of the city. In 2013, it was announced that Kerryson will leave as Artistic Director at the end of 2014.

Nikolai Foster is to become the new artistic director at Curve in Leicester, and plans to turn the venue into the home of new musical theatre writing in the UK. [The Stage]

Shows featured in today’s presentation

(in date order)

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Ages 13 3/4. 7th March to 4th April. See our review.

Our County’s Good. – 16th to 18th April.

Inside Out Festival. 22nd April to 2nd May.
(where the world comes to see what Leicester is about)

Beautiful Thing. – 25th to 30th May. See our review.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. 9th to 13th June.

The Car Man – Bizet’s Carmen Re-imagined. 16th to 20th June.
(modern interpretation of the story from Bizet’s opera Carmen) with Matthew Bourne. See our review.

Calamity Jane. 30th June to 4th July.

Richard III. 25th July to 9th August.
(community theatre, auditioning in January). We saw this but decided not to review it.

Hairspray. 9th to 19th September.
5-star reviews and packed houses.

We are not going to say anything about these shows right now, because  Arts in Leicester will be publishing preview articles on them in the months ahead.

If you want to know more right away, pick up a copy of the Feb – Aug 1015 brochure from Curve.

Leicester is famous around the world for Adrian Mole and King Richard III.

Other shows that caught my eye in the 2015 brochure:

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival. From 7th Feb to 14th February.

The Woman In Black. 16th to 21st February.

English Touring Opera. 20th April and 21st April.

Bromance. 12th May. See our review.

Northern Ballet. 5th and 6th June. (Madam Butterfly and Perpetuum Mobile)

Blood. 26th and 27th June.

Theatre in Leicester faces the challenge of attracting a multi-cultural audience.

We will be published an article soon on the chellenges facing the arts in Leicester, so watch out for our postings.

See also:

What’s on now in Leicester

We look back at Chicago

We look back at The Water Babies



24th October 2014

A Fine Feast of Laughter

Stock up on euphoric giggles this autumn with 2Funy Comedy Show, which comes to Curve on Saturday 29 November 2014, at 7.45pm.

2Funny at Curve
2Funny at Curve

2Funy Comedy presents a first class night of laughs with some of the UK’s comedy circuit favourites! First on the menu is Will-E, who has appeared live at The Apollo, and as part of P. Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy.  Then there’s Kane Brown. Fearless, bold and energetic, Kane has graced the stage of Hackney Empire and The Comedy Store, among others.  Previously voted ‘Best Female Comedienne,’ UK circuit favourite Glenda Jaxson is an extraordinary talent. Last but not least, Dane Baptiste has an unmistakable stage persona that has seen him perform at venues such as Just the Tonic and Glee Club. An evening of rip-roaring comedy awaits you!

Event Info
2Funy Comedy Show
Saturday 29 November 2014, 7.45pm
Rutland Street
Tickets £15 from: 2FunkyTickets | or Curve
Ticket Office: 0116 242 3595
Please note, this show may contain strong language and explicit adult humour.