The shortlist for the BCG Pro Talent Awards for Performance 2021 has been revealed.
Selected by British Comedy Guide's judges, the five acts will now perform a set at a live final at London's Museum Of Comedy on Friday 25th March. Tickets are available now
The finalists are as follows, with the biographies they have supplied:
Coral Bevan is a comedy character actor who has numerous alter egos - Fisherman Jon being one. She was the winner of the Fulwell 73/Comedy 50:50 Comedy Short competition 2021 and a longlist finalist for the Funny Women Comedy Shorts 2021 award with her film Lockdown City.
Dave Bibby is a sketch / musical / stand-up / improv comedian. Kind of like an all-you-can-eat comedy buffet. Broadway Baby said he "could very plausibly develop cult status" which means he's not everyone's cup of tea but someone is gonna LOVE him.
Amber Phillips is a comedian and writer from Essex. Amber's work has featured on Radio 4 Extra as well as BBC Essex, and she also hosts her own sketch comedy podcast, The Amber Phillips Comedy Sketchbook. You can expect stories about life in her beloved Essex, as well as how she finds most things rather difficult.
Hartley Pool started stand-up as a way to get out of reading his poetry to hundreds of people in Budapest. His second gig was at The Comedy Store's King Gong, where he dressed up as an old man and walked on in character very slowly to Eminem's Lose Yourself, giving him a lovely view of the gong being sounded and the opportunity to turn round and sit back down before anyone realised who on earth he was.
Justina Seselskaite is a new comedian based in Manchester. She is an immigrant from Lithuania who is trying to master the English language through comedy. She has been described as: "A nice breathe of fresh air who makes the audience so excited to hear the next line. One to watch."
The Performance prize - open exclusively to subscribers of BCG Pro, British Comedy Guide's platform for comedy creatives and professionals working in the industry - is for those who perform on the stage. The initial entry round involved members uploading a video of themselves performing.
The award is split in two self-identified categories: one ('Starter') for those beginning their comedy careers and one ('Pro') for those who are more established. The above nominees are all Pro members and will now battle it for the crown in a live final with a public audience, to take place on Friday 25th March 2022 at London's Museum Of Comedy.
Meanwhile, the winner of the Starter category - Adam Hopkins - was picked outright by the judges and will perform at the live final as part of his prize.
A stand-up and writer from Leeds, Hopkins started doing comedy while living in China and has performed in cities all across Asia, including Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, Taipei and even Wuhan. He was second runner-up at the 2019 Bangkok International Comedy Competition and performed in the regional stage of last year's BBC New Comedy Awards.
On receiving the news he'd won, he said: "I'll be honest, I had forgotten about this! So, when the email came through, it was a really nice surprise. I've been struggling to get regular stage time and to get my name out there since moving back to the UK last August, so I'm very grateful and am looking forward to the opportunity."
Coral Bevan's supplied statement on making the shortlist is: "Bevan's mum is very proud that she is in the final for this award."
Dave Bibby comments: "I'm absolutely stoked to make the final! I don't think I've ever even used the word stoked before - that's how excited I am."
Amber Phillips says: "I'm absolutely delighted to be a finalist in the BCG Pro Performance Award. Performing in front of a live audience! In London! On a weeknight! It's a bit overwhelming, actually. I think I need a Tizer and a lie down."
Hartley Pool joked: "Hartley is very excited to learn that his strategy of paying random people to enter competitions using his details and email address has finally paid off, though in retrospect it has proven expensive."
Justina Seselskaite concludes: "I can't believe I made it to the final."
Tickets to attend the live show on Friday 25th March are available now via the Museum Of Comedy
The BCG Pro Talent Awards will open again this summer, with the submission window running from August to October 2022 inclusive. Open to any live stage performers - stand-up, sketch or improv - entrants will again be asked to submit recordings of their act, filmed in any setting.