The Comedy Arena is one of the biggest draws of the weekend at Latitude; always bursting at the seams as everyone sits back and enjoys the stellar stand up performances from the cream of the comedy circuit. This year a programme of the biggest names and the newest rising talent will ensure continuous laughter throughout the weekend.
Britain’s best female comic Jo Brand is the latest addition to the all-star Comedy line-up at Latitude Festival. Brand rose to fame in the ‘80s pioneering the burgeoning alternative comedy movement. Her stand-up routines, delivered in her distinctive monotone drawl, poked fun at her weight and men, a self-deprecating style with radical feminist tendencies. Although her humour has slightly softened her explicit over-sharing honesty is still her trademark and has helped earn her the inclusion in the Observer’s 50 funniest acts in Britain and a must-see contestant in everything Comic Relief throws at her.
Film-maker, presenter, writer and of course stand-up comic, Dave Gorman joins the comedy line-up. Famed for his award-winning previous shows, ‘Are You Dave Gorman?’, ‘Googlewhack Adventures’ and ‘America Unchained’, he has just finished a stint on TV with his brilliant ‘Genius’ show which was transferred from BBC Radio earlier this year. But it’s a return to the more traditional stand-up routine that will keep Gorman busy this summer and through to next year. After showcasing his new routine at Latitude he will then begin the first part of his tour travelling to and from each gig around the country on his bike taking in 32 venues.
Once the world record holder for most jokes told in an hour (499) Tim Vine is a master at word-play, puns and quick-fire one-liners. He has performed many times at the Edinburgh Festival as well as his own shows such as ‘Tim Vine – Live In Concrete’ at Shepherd’s Bush Empire and appeared regularly on TV including BAFTA winning The Sketch Show, Mastermind, Countdown, Spelling Bee and Comic Relief Does Fame Academy.
Hollywood film and TV star, political activist, writer and stand-up comic Janeane Garofalo is bringing her observational wit, fire and passion to the Comedy line-up. Her strong, left-wing, atheist beliefs have led her to take part in many marches, debate shows and co-host The Majority Report on Air America Radio Network. Famed not only for her film and screen roles in Reality Bites, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, 24, The Larry Sanders Show (for which she won two Emmys) to name but a few – Garofalo first started out as a stand-up comic emerging in the late 80’s - early 90’s alternative comedy scene in L.A. A rare and wonderful outing for this phenomenal comic before her London show in September.
British stand-up comic and comedy circuit favourite, Stephen K. Amos has performed at Edinburgh Festival every year since 2003 and has also appeared on Live At The Apollo and the 2007 Royal Variety Performance as well as TV shows Mock The Week, The Wright Stuff and Have I Got News For You. His amiable style has earned him a Time Out Award for Comedy in 2004 and a Chortle Award for Best Compere three times, in 2004, 2007, 2008.
Canadian comic, singer-songwriter and actor Phil Nicol was first known as the guitar playing member of top musical comedy trio 'Corky and The Juice Pigs'. Phil's solo performances have earned him huge critical acclaim and many awards. He is a Tasmanian devil with a guitar, wickedly funny songs and superb improvisational skills that will be showcased in a string of dates in Edinburgh and at the London Comedy Store before he joins the Comedy Arena at Latitude.
Having been in the entertainment industry since a young age, Charlie Baker's experience shines through with his energetic and irrepressible show. This versatile star, with enthusiastic audience banter and interaction, plus a hidden wealth of musical talent as an accomplished, highly acclaimed Jazz singer and musician (solo, and with The Charlie Baker Band) is set to rise fast.
Kids may know him as Archie the Inventor in Balamory but Miles Jupp is also an award winning funnyman with live performances and appearances on Paramount Comedy TV’s ‘The World Stands Up’. He won two new act competitions in 2001 – Channel 4’s ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ and the Leicester Festival of The Year Award and in 2003 he was nominated for the Perrier Best Newcomer for his show ‘Gentlemen Prefer Brogues’.
Youthful and witty, Matt Kirshen is best known for his appearance as one of the top 10 finalists on the NBC talent show ‘Last Comic Standing’ and for his hilarious breakthrough Channel 4 show ‘RudeTube’ - a six-part guide to the wonderful world of the web. But it’s the perfectly timed gags and sarcastic sense of humour that is his winning formula.
Brighton-based newcomer Seann Walsh is already building up a strong profile after being proclaimed Winner of the Leicester Comedy Festival in 2009 and runner-up in the ‘So You Think You're Funny?’ New Act Competition in 2008. Walsh has the special talent of delivering punchy fresh humour with a natural and appealing charm prompting Time Out to declare: “Walsh is this generation's Dylan Moran, with the looks, gags and charm to become something quite special.”
These additions join an incredible comedy line-up that includes Ed Byrne, Mark Thomas, Adam Hills, Sean Lock, The Early Edition hosted by Marcus Brigstocke, Sean Hughes, Andrew Lawrence, Rufus Hound, Jon Richardson, Russell Kane, Shappi Khorsandi and Jessica Delfino.
Latitude celebrates the art of the written word and all its many splendid facets at Suffolk’s now legendary library by the sea. Like all good books, the Literary Arena will transport you to the far reaches of your imagination guided by the storytelling talents of the very best authors and special guests scheduled for the weekend. Discussions, Q&As, stories and comic genius are the order of the day for these book readings with a difference. Immerse yourself in Latitude’s literary world and learn, explore, laugh and discover at the literary event of the summer.
Comic, writer and political activist Jeremy Hardy is one of Britain’s most well-established ‘alternative’ stand-ups, unafraid to mix his socialist politics into his act. Although best known as a regular on Radio 4 panel games such as The News Quiz, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and Just A Minute, Hardy was also a regular columnist for Guardian and has written two books, ‘Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation’ based on his Radio 4 series of the same name and ‘When Did You Last See Your Father.’ He was nominated for the Perrier Award in 1987, and won it the following year, and has appeared at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival as well as numerous tours of the UK and Ireland.
British novelist and writer Jonathan Coe brings his acclaimed satirical work to Latitude. His award-winning novels include: ‘What a Carve Up!’ which reworks the plot of an old 1960s spoof horror film of the same name and is a caustic satire of British life in the 1980s, and won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (France). The Dwarves of Death (1990), a cult murder story filmed as Five Seconds to Spare in 1999 and The House of Sleep (1997), which won the Writers' Guild Award (Best Fiction) and the Prix Médicis Etranger (France) and recounts the adventures of a group of former university students. His work usually has an underlying preoccupation with political issues, although his serious side is always served with a clever wit and comedy. Coe has also written the narrative piece ‘Say Hi To The Rivers And The Mountains’ with rock innovators, The High Llamas, which will be shown in the Theatre Arena.
Kate Williams has brought the past to life with her fantastic historical novels ‘Becoming Queen’ (2007), about the passionate youth of Queen Victoria and Princess Charlotte, the Queen who never was, and ‘England's Mistress: the Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton’ (2006). Her first book was 'Book of the Week' on Radio 4, shortlisted for the Marsh/ English Speaking Union Biography Prize, and a ‘Book of the Year’ in the Times and Independent. But it was the BBC2 Timewatch special programme based on ‘Becoming Queen’ called ‘Young Victoria’ that had 2.2million captivated.
Comedian, musician, artist, author and actor Keith Allen will be performing his forthcoming spoken-word album, the vividly cinematic and thought-provoking ‘2 Pikeys On A Mini Cruise’ that he worked on together with musician and producer Pablo Cook. A powerful, passionate journey through reggae, funk, folk, disco, rock n roll and so much more.
Described as a ‘twisted British fabulist’ by the San Francisco Chronicle, Rupert Thomson published his first, critically acclaimed novel ‘Dreams of Leaving’ in the late 80s and has since published seven more novels including the award nominated ‘Air and Fire’, ‘The Insult’ and ‘Death of a Murderer’. Thomson’s style is hard to define as his novels’ subjects range from the gap between reality and perception to the male masochism.
Currently living in South London but originally from Zimbabwe, Brian Chikwava is part of a new generation of African writers and activists. The eclecticism of his work ranges from poetry, public discussions and music performances. His short story, ‘Seventh Street Alchemy’, was awarded the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2004 but it is his first novel, ‘Harare North’ - a witty and suggestive but yet effortlessly dark comedy set in Brixton.
Sudanese former child soldier Emmanuel Jal has received worldwide acclaim for his African-style of hip hop spreading half-spoken, half-chanted messages of peace and reconciliation. His political lyrics have lead him to perform at the United Nations in New York as well as Nelson Mandela's 90th Birthday concert last year. But it’s his autobiography: ‘War Child: A Boy Soldier’s Story’ that will hold the Literary Arena captivated and move the crowd to tears.
The son of a gangster who was shot dead in front of his eyes when he was young, Bernie Katz has a very different story from most novelists. Katz considers himself a night owl who made the glitz, glamour, dirt and sleaze of Soho his life. After a job as front-of-house for the media’s favourite Groucho Club for over 15 years, Katz put pen to paper in a gripping tell-all, dish-the-dirt, book called ‘Soho Society’ about rent boys, film executives, drug addicts and other debauched Soho misbehaviour.
The Literary Arena already boasts a fantastic line-up including: The School Of Life, Robin Ince’s Book Club, Blake Morrison, Geoff Dyer and Tibor Fischer.
If you want to experience something entirely different then seek out Latitude’s quirky den of mischief and mayhem; the Cabaret Arena. Inside you will witness comedy sketch shows, burlesque, freak shows, drag queens, sing-a-longs, illusionists and much more. With Vaudeville fun, sharp, incisive wit, camp entertainment and a good ol’ fashioned knees up, the Cabaret Arena positively encourages you to leave your inhibitions at the door and be game for anything and everything. This surreal bordello of surprises and spectacular stage shows is visually rich, beautiful and bizarre and will tempt and titillate in equal measure.
King of cabaret Lenny Beige, infamous for his London West End club The Regency Rooms which started life in 1995 and sold out every one of its 10 seasons, has became a cult hit with regular appearances on TV chat shows and Channel 5’s ‘Night Fever’. His energetic all-singing, all-dancing comedy extravaganza has won him a legion of fans including Matt Lucas and David Walliams, Sacha Baron Cohen, Armstrong and Miller, Terry Wogan and Chas & Dave!
TV Presenter Kirsten O’Brien brings her bubbly, fun personality to the Cabaret Stage at Latitude this year. Her show Kirsten’s Topless Ambition debated whether she should change her innocent image from BBC children’s Smart! presenter to a more sexy, lads mag’s one in order to become a primetime starlet. She will certainly have a lot to tell about this experience! One not to miss.
Bourgeois & Maurice will share their healing and easy listening powerpop neo-cabaret with us. They will take you on a musical journey through the 21st century pop culture with original songs and dazzling films and frocks you'll just die for! They have rapidly developed a cult following after shows at venues as diverse as Sadler's Wells, the Astoria 2, Vauxhall's legendary Duckie and 93 Feet East and at a Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club performance which was unashamedly littered with in-the-know A-listers including Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Rupert Friend.
Regulars on the London Sketch scene and appearances on BBC 3's comedy shuffle, Tommy and the Weeks are Tom Bell and Ed Weeks, papery indie waif and 80s power-suited lothario. Together they produce comedy so good your mind will think it's won a prize. "Few since Spike Milligan have had Weeks and Bell's ability to flip us into unexpected comic universes." The Guardian
In Wanderlust, an interactive, theatrical show, the ten foot tall, faux-Bavarian powerhouse, Hilda, administers your dose of beauty and pain. The show bursts with circus, kabaret, projections, masks, a massive skirt, a video marionette, a parachute and two drinkable vodka puppets. In this fairytale story, Hilda (a.k.a. Jessica Weinstein) attains her extraordinary height by obtaining a brew from a witch in the Black Forest. Also featuring the mute Gretel on violin, piano and ukulele,, Hilda delightfully whips you, the audience, along from a storybook Bavaria through an outlandish Eastern Europe to an apocalyptic, booty shaking Jerusalem.
Isobel Cohen founded Helix Dance, a dance-theatre company based in Cambridge in 2005. Since then she has toured her originally choreographed productions both regionally and nationally and for Latitude she will be bringing her understated twist dance sensation 'The Great Escape' to the Cabaret Arena. She has also been selected for an Escalator for the Performing Arts, a pioneering initiative by Arts Council Englan:d East to support young artists in the region. As a dance-maker, Isobel believes in multi-discipline theatre, where dance, music and text play equal roles.
The Cabaret Arena also welcomes Zimbani, Deborah Frances-White, Holly Walsh & Sophie Black, Jessica Delfino, Cardinal Burns and Watson and Oliver.
With the involvement of the country’s leading theatre companies, Latitude has established itself as one of the best theatre festivals in Europe. An auditorium has been specially designed to perfectly present a full schedule of contemporary, physical, classical, performance and local productions bespoke to the festival. Not to be contained within the confines of the stage, theatre can be found around every corner at Latitude, emerging from the woods, performed on the banks of the lake as well as in the Theatre Arena, drawing inspiration from the surroundings. There’s something for everyone so take a chance on an unknown play or watch a critic’s choice at Latitude 2009.
‘Say Hi To The Rivers And The Mountains’ is a new show written by best-selling novelist Jonathan Coe and indie-pop innovators The High Llamas. Set on a brutalist 1960s housing estate, the story touches upon themes of community, adolescent love, growing old and above all, the inexorable rise of consumerism. The High Llamas will play live on stage, providing a continuous soundtrack as the story unfolds. Combining Brian Wilson-inspired pop symphonics, Tropicalia, German electronica and Italian soundtrack music, they are responsible for a series of acclaimed albums from their debut ‘Gideon Gaye’ through to the now-classic ‘Hawaii’, ‘Snowbug’ and most recently ‘Can Cladders’. Led by Sean O’Hagan, he is one of the most significant Irish musicians to emerge from the post-punk period and has since gone on to develop a major career with The High Llamas (with Marcus Holdaway, Jon Fell, Rob Allum, Dominic Murcott, Pete Aves) and has collaborated with some of the leading artists spanning the progressive music scene.
Elsewhere, the very best in film, theatre, comedy, literature, poetry, dance, art and cabaret will be pitching up at the fourth edition of Latitude Festival. Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds will be headlining the Obelisk Arena plus Doves, Editors, Magazine, Gossip, Pretenders, Spiritualized, Ladyhawke, Little Boots and Bat For Lashes are also confirmed to play the music stages.
Top theatre productions presented by The Bush, Royal Shakespeare Company, nabokov, and National Theatre to name but a few will be running all weekend in the Theatre Arena. The stunning Waterfront Stage will host fantastic dance performances from Sadler’s Wells and Royal Opera House as well as the dynamic orchestral brilliance that is Britten Sinfonia and The Irrepressibles.
The Literary Arena plays host to some incredible authors including Mark Steel, Tibor Fischer, Afternoon Tea with Stuart Maconie with special guests and of course Robin Ince’s Book Club; and the Poetry Arena will house yet more breathtaking performances from some of the top poets around: Jackie Kay, Simon Armitage, Andrew Motion, Luke Wright and Jeffrey Lewis. Jeffery Lewis is also in the Film & Music Arena along with Mark Lamarr’s God’s Jukebox and LateNightTales who will be presenting some fabulous live performances from an eclectic set of bands.
The Cabaret Arena welcomes Zimbani, Deborah Frances-White, Holly Walsh & Sophie Black, Jessica Delfino, Cardinal Burns and Watson and Oliver plus plenty more exciting performances to announce.
Latitude Festival happens at Henham Park Estate in Suffolk from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th July 2009.