Victorians can expect even more exciting performers, more free programming and more belly laughs from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival thanks to a multi-million dollar boost to the festival’s funding announced in the 2011-12 Victorian Budget.
“Everyone loves a good laugh and there’s no funnier place than Melbourne during the Comedy Festival,” Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu said today.
“This $4.2 million funding boost over four years will ensure that the festival continues to tickle our funny bone for many years to come, remaining ahead of the pack and delivering the best local and international acts and free programming.”
Melbourne Comedy Festival Director, Susan Provan was delighted with the announcement of an increase in recurrent operational funding: “This funding will ensure the festival continues to program the very best in all comedy art forms, provide great temporary venues, and consolidate the Comedy Festival as the major Festival event in Autumn.
“With rising costs of staff, production and venues, this funding will ensure the festival remains a leader and one of the most popular events in Australia.
“In 2011, we saw a new audience enjoy our extended free family programming. With a mix of international and local artists, Melbourne’s streets and major public places came alive with site specific performance with thousands of people getting caught up in the spirit of the Festival.
“This new funding will enable us to continue key parts of this program.”
Achieving the right balance between more risky groundbreaking and lower risk established programming is the critical challenge to maintaining the Festival’s “top two” status as a “must see” event for audiences and a “must perform” event for artists.
Early figures indicate ticket sales for the 2011 Comedy Festival are likely to have exceeded last year's record of almost 426,000.