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EXCLUSIVE: Curtain up on comedy line-up

Tickets go on sale as the Corn Exchange reveals the acts for the eighth Newbury Comedy Festival in July

WE can today (Thursday) reveal the line-up for Newbury Comedy Festival 2011, a laugh-laden two weeks of the finest new and established comedy shows, hand-picked from the best acts in the UK, which takes place between Monday, July 4 and Saturday, July 16.

An annual highlight in the local calendar, the Newbury Comedy Festival is celebrating its eighth year, and returns refreshed and with the strongest line-up in years.

Among the headline events announced today is Britain's best-known impressionist, the satirical comedian, Rory Bremner, who brings his brand new show to the Corn Exchange on Friday, July 8. He is joined on the bill by the likes of Trigger Happy TV's Dom Joly, the incomparable Mark Watson and reigning Fosters Comedy Award winner, Russell Kane, who returns to Newbury to kick off proceedings at New Greenham Arts on Monday, July 4.

Across the two weeks there are more than 20 events, with prices kept low to encourage people to see more than one show.

Katy Griffiths, the director of the Corn Exchange and New Greenham Arts who organise Newbury Comedy Festival said: “We are really excited by this year's line-up. We wanted to showcase a range of comedy forms, not just stand-up, with some great events aimed at really capturing the whole festival vibe too.

“In Roisin Conaty, Tom Binns and Laura Mugridge we have some of the most impressive young acts around, alongside established TV stars like Dom Joly and Mark Watson, and a comedy legend in Rory Bremner.”

Returning to the Festival for 2011 is Newbury favourite Clare Plested (of Plested and Brown), who previews her new show Vegas, Jesus and Me at New Greenham Arts on Wednesday, July 6. With her long-term performing partner Adam Brown off filming the major motion picture The Hobbit, Clare has written a solo show that is sure to delight the duo's adoring fans. It focuses on her forthcoming marriage in Las Vegas to a man who looks like Jesus, and how her life as a classic Catholic Watford girl binge drinker has gotten her to this momentous point.

Other highlights include Tom Binns, of Ivan Brackenbury fame, who returns with his brand new character comedy show, where he takes up the role of Ian D Montfort – The Sunderland Psychic who channels dead famous people. Likely to make an appearance on the night are Ernie Wise, Rod Hull, Jeremy Beadle and William Shakespeare. But to find out exactly who turns up you'll have to book your tickets to the Corn Exchange on Thursday, July 7.

There's so much in store across the two-weeks that Corn Exchange marketing manager Ian Wilmot explained that they have struggled to fit it all in.

He said “As lovers of live comedy, the team here have been lucky enough to be able to pick from some amazing acts this year. We've got some really fun shows like the Fringe First Award winning Running On Air, which performs to just five people per show in a VW campervan outside the Corn Exchange. Whether you've heard of the acts or not, give them a go – Michael McIntyre performed to just 80 people during the festival in 2007, which is crazy looking back.”

Tickets to events in this year's Newbury Comedy Festival are on sale from this morning (10am, Thursday) at the Corn Exchange box office, telephone (01635) 522733 and online at www.cornexchangenew.com

A full festival guide will be produced ahead of the festival, but for special updates on the events in store, sign up for email newsletters on the Corn Exchange website.

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