Unique conference to examine comedy industry in Nothern Ireland

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As part of the Belfast Comedy Festival, a special conference examining the comedy industry in Northern Ireland will take place on 7 October at the MAC.

The aim is to review the current state of the comedy industry in Northern Ireland and consider ways to better support performers and writers.

Speakers include performers Victoria Armstrong, Paul Currie, Peter Davidson and Bec Hill.

Participants will have an opportunity to develop new knowledge and skills in order to develop their careers in the comedy industry. In addition, proposals and ideas for improving support to performers, promoters and venues will be reviewed, hopefully resulting in long term benefits for the arts, tourism and entertainment sectors in Northern Ireland.

The conference will shine a spotlight on issues such as how to effectively build audiences, how performers can stand out from the crowd, mental health issues and comedy and conflict transformation.

Peter O’Neill, director of Belfast Comedy Festival, said: “During the conference, we will share practical advice and hear from some of the most successful local industry figures. We will also get an opportunity to debate what is needed to support performers and further develop the local comedy scene.“

After the event, a conference report will be published with recommendations for the future development of the industry. Estimates suggest that the comedy industry contributes £300 million a year to the UK economy with major benefits for the drinks and restaurant trades. Belfast has a strong tradition in humour and the local comedy industry has grown with the rise of new clubs and a diverse range of performers and genres.

Peter O’Neill added: “We believe there is a strong case to help develop the local comedy scene as it could be a major creative and economic driver with tourism, health, and other benefits.”

Registration details are available at belfastcomedyfestival.com.