Comedy stars step up to help save theatre group with laughter

A 30-year-old Black Country theatre group battling to keep going has announced some of the top UK comedy acts who will be trying to help them keep delivering high quality drama for thousands of people – with another two top TV acts to be included in the lineup over the next few weeks.

Wolverhampton’s Central Youth Theatre (CYT) was in danger of losing all of its £13,516 Wolverhampton City Council mainline funding but will this year (2014/15) get £2,450 after the council was hit by massive cuts to its income from central government.

Ben Clark, left, with Tom Parry, right, and Matthew Crosby make up Pappys

Ben Clark, left, with Tom Parry, right, and Matthew Crosby make up Pappys

Comedian and MC Daniel Kitson

Comedian and MC Daniel Kitson

Ex-members Tom Parry and Ben Clark, stars of Pappy’s and BBC TV’s Badults have got award-winning stand-up comedian, actor and playwright Daniel Kitson to compere the Hilarity Charity Gala at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre on Thursday May 29th (7.30pm).

Last year he took his new stand-up show After the Beginning. Before the End’on a UK tour and into Europe.

Although he has a reputation for shunning TV he was in That Peter Kay Thing, The Arena, and as the recurring character Spencer in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights.

Comedian Josie Long

Comedian Josie Long

Appearing with him will be Josie Long, who has appeared on Have I Got News for You and has been a 3 times Edinburgh Fringe Nominee and Isy Suttle, who played the character Dobby in Peep Show, and also appears with Pappys in Badults.

She  and Welsh comedian Elis James (8 Out Of Ten Cats, XFM and also a regular pulling full houses at the Edinburgh Fringe) will be appearing with two other TV headline acts who will be announced over the next few weeks.

The show which is recommended for those aged 14 plus.

Tickets are £20/£15 concessions from the Grand Theatre box office on 01902 429212.

CYT will also be helped by a  £10,000 grant from the Local Education Partnership for delivering educational work in the city. News of loss of its grant saw CYT launch a petition which gathered 2,532 signatures.

Director Jane Ward, MBE, said: “It is brilliant news for us.

Central Youth Theatre Director Jane Ward

Central Youth Theatre Director Jane Ward

“It means we have a bit more time and a bit more breathing space while we raise the money needed fro the year after that. It’s a big relief.

“We know the council has been put in a very difficult position with a huge cut in central government funding so we are grateful that they were able to give us some help.

“We have had many years of working successfully with the council to promote the city with great productions and to help equip thousands of young people with skills and confidence – now our top comedy friends are stepping up to help us continue that work.”

Help also came from Eton College with a £2,300 donation to mark CYT’s anniversary.


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