Leicester Comedy Festival Looks For Support To Build Archive Of Images

Leicester Comedy Festival Looks For Support To Build Archive Of Images

Leicester Comedy Festival, produced by registered charity Big Difference, are seeking volunteers to join an informal heritage group to help catalogue & preserve images stored in the Festival’s archive.  The festival team have collected hundreds of photos and images since the annual event began in 1994 but they are not currently catalogued in any formal order.  The heritage group will aim to work their way through the files before donating them to the Festival archive held at De Montfort University,  The group is being led by Festival founder Geoff Rowe, who led the development of the festival for 30 years before stepping down in 2023.  People wanting more information are encouraged to email [email protected]

The archive contains images of comedians such as Shaparak Khorsandi (who first performed in the festival in 2007), Dylan Moran (1998), Andy Smart (with The Comedy Store Players in 1995) and Sarah Millican (pictured, 2007).  The aim is for the group to start meeting monthly and go through each file and rename them with the vital information so the archive can be more easily searched by members of the public.  A knowledge of live comedy since 1994 would be important and a knowledge of Leicester Comedy Festival would be ideal.

Leicester Comedy Festival Founder, Geoff Rowe, said “I’ve occasionally looked through the festival archive and there are some real gems in there!  Pictures of comedians looking really young, at the start of their careers and before they became famous.  There is no way one person can catalogue the entire collection of images saved since 1994.  There are simply too many photos and it would take forever. 

We’re hoping people will come forward and volunteer a few hours a month to help.  The idea is we’ll all meet up together and share stories and memories as well as go through each file.  Perhaps once we have completed the Leicester Comedy Festival archive we can offer our voluntary services to other festivals and comedy promoters and build up a national library of live comedy over the last 30 years.”

Once the photo library is properly catalogued and saved it will be become part of the larger Leicester Comedy Festival archive stored at De Montfort University’s special collections.  The archive complements archival holdings already stored at DMU including papers relating to giants of comedy, Norman Wisdom and Tony Hancock.

Sarah Millican picture credit: Leicester Comedy Festival archive


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