The West End Comedy Club has launched a bursary programme aimed at supporting working class comedians attending this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Recognising "the obstacles faced by individuals from working class backgrounds", the bursary seeks to provide financial help and a platform "for these talented performers to showcase their skills".
The organisers say: "Since its establishment in August 2021, the West End Comedy Club has run mixed-bill pro-shows four nights a week in Covent Garden, quickly growing to be one of the largest clubs in London. As the comedy scene continues to evolve, the club recognises that individuals from working class backgrounds still encounter significant barriers to entering the world of stand-up comedy.
"The bursary is specifically aimed at comedians taking their first full-length solo show to the Fringe this summer and the winner of the bursary will receive a grant of £500, providing crucial financial support to help them bring their comedic talents to the festival. In addition, four other finalists will each be awarded £100 and offered future spots at the West End Comedy Club, ensuring continued opportunities to showcase their skills to a wider audience."
The club's live comedy producer Megan Porter comments: "We believe that comedy should be a platform where everyone's voice can be heard, regardless of their background. However, individuals from working class communities still face some of the toughest barriers to entry. By launching this bursary, we hope to empower and provide opportunities for talented comedians who may otherwise struggle due to ever-worsening financial constraints. Our goal is to create a more inclusive and diverse comedy landscape, where the voices and experiences of working class performers can shine brightly."
The West End Comedy Club is collaborate with crowdfunded profit-sharing organisation Best In Class for this bursary.
Best In Class founder Sian Davies comments: "Anything to further support working class artists within the comedy industry is welcomed. The cost of living crisis and spiralling rents have added to the systemic inequalities faced by working class performers. The Edinburgh Fringe is such a costly endeavour. It's great to see West End Comedy Club offering a tangible level of financial support to acts. The audience for the bursary show will enjoy a varied line up of excellent comics, who just so happen to be working class. And the acts will all receive a bursary payment for taking part and get future paid work for the club. It really is a win for everyone involved."
The showcase of the finalists is planned to be held at 5pm on Saturday 8th July at club.