Many of you may be winding down for a summer break, but at Harrogate Theatre we have our eyes firmly fixed on autumn, with our biggest flagship events only a few weeks away.

Harrogate Comedy Festival is coming – and this year is the 11th year of this fabulous festival of funny talent. The festival takes place every October and has become an institution for the town, putting Harrogate firmly on the comedy map as ‘Comedy Capital of the North’.

This year Harrogate Comedy Festival will bring 59 comedians to Harrogate with 27 shows over 20 days at Harrogate Theatre and the Royal Hall. With the usual premium standard of big names on the line-up Some shows are already selling out, including John Bishop, James Acaster, Ruby Wax, and Jimmy Carr.

Also on the line-up we’ve got Desiree Burch, Des O’ Connor & Jimmy Tarbuck, Harrogate’s own hugely rising talent Maisie Adam, Stewart Francis, Paul O’Donnell, Sindhu Vee, Frisky & Mannish, Andy Parsons and more.

In addition, it’s the 8th Comedian of the Year competition where a host of tip top comics battle to impress the audience and judges enough to secure a place in the final on 15th October, as well as a spot at the much-coveted Hyena Lounge Comedy Club Closing Gala on Sat 19th October. The value of this competition is not to be underestimated, as previous winner Mickey P Kerr went on to reach the Britain’s Got Talent final.

The Harrogate Comedy Festival is a real gem for the town and has a fantastic reputation for the quality of the acts. This year we hope to build on that and the festival programmers are proud of not only the big names but also another diverse comedy offer of 'not just stand-up'.

Having started in 2009 at Harrogate Theatre with a commitment to bringing both ‘the bright stars’ and the ‘hotly tipped next big things’ to Harrogate, the festival has gone from strength-to-strength. In its first year just over 4,000 tickets sold for shows at Harrogate Theatre.

Last year and from a total of 21 shows, 9 were complete sell-outs and overall the festival achieved an outstanding 81% capacity. Headliner Sarah Millican sold out months ahead of the festival opening, with other stand-up royalty on the line-up including Sarah Pascoe, Stewart Francis, Ross Noble, Nish Kumar and David O’Doherty. 

Over the last 10 years, more than 70,000 people have attended the Harrogate Comedy Festival achieving an average of 73% capacity over the decade. What’s more, more than 55% of that audience travelled from outside of Harrogate, equating to increased footfall of almost 40,000 people and generating significant secondary spend in the town. Do join us this October if you can.

First published in the Harrogate Advertiser Thursday 18th July.