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Book a June date with Jesterval as the comedy festival returns

Funny folk will be heading for the marquee on Gateshead's Baltic Square as the Jesterval comedy festival returns to tickle us

Roy Walker
Roy Walker

As fans of TV gameshow Catchphrase will be aware, sometimes all you need to do is say what you see.

So, when it comes to describing the programme for the returning comedy feast which is Jesterval, let’s just say that if you consider yourself a fan of comedy, you’re going to want to get involved.

Organisers of the popular festival, whose distinctive marquee has become an annual fixture on Baltic Square in recent years, have once again secured an impressive bill of comedy guaranteeing all tastes will be catered for.

And yes, the Catchphrase reference was not written on a whim.

The gameshow’s longest-serving presenter, Mr Roy Walker, will be performing alongside his son Phil during the 10-day event.

Boasting more than 30 shows, which will all be performed in the pop-up 300-seat venue, Jesterval 2015 will set up camp on the Gateshead side of the Millennium Bridge from June 5 to 14.

Sara Pascoe
Sara Pascoe

Gavin Webster, Sara Pascoe, Jason Cook, Chris Ramsey, Lili La Scala, Kate Lucas, Jimmy Cricket, Boy with Tape on his Face, Andrew Maxwell and Paul Foot are just some of the other standout names in the programme.

As well as the comedy venue, there will also be a hospitality tent and street food vans parked up to make sure everyone is royally fed and watered – and you never know who you might bump into over a pint in a plastic glass.

Jesterval director Della Haq says: “It gets more and more exciting for us every year. We look forward to it as much as the performers and the visitors.

“Comedy fans will be able to see some of the best comedy acts in the business from this iconic spot on the banks of the Tyne.

“Many of these shows will be previewing before heading up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, so we’ll get to see them here in our backyard.

“We’ve maybe gone towards a broader audience, with comics like Roy Walker – who I can’t wait to see – and Jimmy Cricket, who I saw years ago and loved.

“There are lots of family gigs and other entertainment too. You might just see a bit of music, too.

Jimmy Cricket
Jimmy Cricket

“We want Jesterval to be something which everyone can come down and get involved with.”

Tickets for Jesterval gigs range from £5 to £13, with a number of free performances scheduled, but most are priced at the lower end of the scale.

For a fiver you can catch shows by Patrick Monahan, Daniel Sloss, Kai Humphries, Seymour Mace, Nicola Mantalios-Lovett, Matt Reed and Lost Voice Guy, to name just a few.

Meanwhile, for those who like their comedy totally unscripted, there’s the popular Improv Comedy All Stars show featuring Steve Frost, Steve Steen, Andy Smart and Ian Coppinger.

Della says: “We’ve had a lot of support in the past few years from both the audiences in the North East as well as the comedians, which has helped us come back every year a bit bigger.

“We’re looking forward to seeing lots of new faces this year.”

* Tickets are on sale now. For more information and booking details, visit jesterval.co.uk

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