Comedy Festival Special: Liverpool, Sheffield & Women in Comedy

John Stansfield

Liverpool Comedy Festival, Sheffield Comedy Festival and Manchester’s Women in Comedy Festival are all on the horizon – here are our top picks of what’s on.

A couple of months have passed since the Edinburgh Festival – the biggest arts festival in the world, and maybe even the universe – hovered up all the best comedians. Now, it’s time for cities that aren’t Scottish to try their hand at the funny fest game. Over the next couple of months, Sheffield and Liverpool host a fine array of both what the city has to offer in the way of local comedians, as well as stand ups from further afield. Manchester, on the other hand, welcomes the return of the Women in Comedy Festival after the success of last year’s inaugural event. Three big hitters in three big cities – so let’s get to our top picks from each.

Women in Comedy Festival

There’s bountiful choice at the Women in Comedy festival; the line-up is the perfect answer to any myths or preconceptions about female stand ups. Bizarre space clown Cheekykita (The Castle Hotel, Fri 17 Oct) leads the more surreal offerings in this year’s festival; she is joined by the equally brilliant Jayne Edwards for a night of black holes and happy souls. Manchester sketch group Birthday Girls (at the newly revamped Gullivers pub, Sat 25 Oct) bring their acclaimed and often televised act to the festival for some party vibes.

Not quite in Manchester, but not far on the train and well worth the visit is Kate Smurthwaite (Todmorden Cricket Club, Sun 12 Oct) who will be peddling the excellent mix of witty observations and political dialogue that have seen her appear on Question Time and BBC1’s Big Questions. Also on the bill are Jo Caulfield of Mock the Week and Never Mind the Buzzcock’s fame (King’s Arms, 12 Oct) and the brilliant Sophie Willan (King’s Arms, 16-17 Oct).

Liverpool Comedy Festival

Instrumental sees Vikki Stone attempt to play twenty musical instruments, with differing results (Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, 26 Sep). Anyone familiar with Stone’s ode to Phillip Schofield will know that she can play the piano with aplomb but head to the show and find out where her other talents, both musical and comedic, lie.

Winner of the Best New Sketch Act and Audience Choice Award at London’s Sketchfest, Gein’s Family Giftshop (81 Renshaw Street, Fri 26 Sep) will be presenting their Edinburgh smash show Volume 1 alongside Kiri Pritchard-McLean’s Racist, Sexist Comedy Show. Something for everyone then. A thoughtful show about the links between race, sex and success Kiri is one to watch, whereas Gein’s need to be seen to be believed. PE kits never got so filthy. Meanwhile, local lad and bright young thing Tony Carroll (Hot Water Comedy Club, Tue 30 Sep) will be letting you know why he “Just Wants To Be Loved” in a story of love, loss and, of course, Liverpool.

Sheffield Comedy Festival

Sheffield born and raised comedian Tom Wrigglesworth (Crucible Studio, Tue 14 Oct) brings his poignant and hilarious show Utterly At Odds With The Universe to his home town. Wrigglesworth tells the tale of his relationship with his granddad and the influence he had on his life and career. The not so uplifting, but still entertaining Phil Ellis presents his Foster’s Edinbrugh Panel Award winning show Funz and Gamez (The Greystones, Sat 18th Oct, 2pm). It’s a mix of child cruelty and gross alcoholism – but it’s also unbelievably funny. One man train of thought Tony Law will also be at the festival (Sheffield City Hall, Tue 21 Oct), beckoning onlookers into the “Tone Zone”, an intangible mix of Law’s words and thoughts that will just about make sense, and may change your whole world.

Culture Guides

Image credit: Maryna Makarenko, Sun-Eaters, 2022

Cinema

Classic pre-Code cinema, the Artist Film Weekender and the music of John Williams are amongst our highlights this month.

Exhibitions

Pause in the hustle and bustle of festive prep to take in some inspiration from this month’s top exhibitions.

The Ocean at the End of The Lane at the lowry

Families

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Manchester is bursting with fun, family activities to keep the kids entertained in the run up to Christmas!

Poet Helen Mort. Photo by Jan Bella

Literature

There’s live literature and book-buying opportunities a-plenty as November unfolds and Manchester – celebrating five years as a UNESCO city of Literature – and the wider North region welcomes some great writers, both in real life and online.

Music

The festive season is here, and whether you want to escape it or embrace it, we’ve got you covered.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Alongside radical sci-fi adaptations and free arts festivals, we take a look at some of the Christmas shows happening in the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Explore the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North for autumn.

Tours and Activities

We’re deep into Autumn now but don’t let that stop you from finding a new tour or activity to get stuck into.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Compass Festival 2022
Activity Until 27 November 2022, FREE

Compass Festival 2022

sunny bank mills
Activity Until 27 November 2022, from £2.00

Sunny Bank Mills Christmas Art & Makers Market

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Pottery at Earth Pig Pottery and Fine Art in Buxton

Visual Arts Until 1 December 2022, from £20

Graffiti at Zap Graffiti

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £95

Blacksmithing at Forge Four

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £15

Embroidery with Sara Dennis at Lancaster Castle

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £59

Making silver stacker rings at The Old Granary

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £13

Candle making at Cheshire Workshops

Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £60

Glass fusing at Glassmonkey Studio

Textile taxidermy
Activity Until 1 December 2022, from £80

Textile taxidermy with Jaki Bogg at Craven Arts Studios