EP91 – Helen Stead – Founder of NCF Comedy – The differences in comedy audiences between places in the midlands.

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EP91 – Helen Stead – Founder of NCF Comedy – The differences in comedy audiences between places in the midlands.



Total run time: 1 hour 22 mins 03 secs.

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About Helen Stead…

Helen Stead (@helenls) is the director of NCF Comedy (@NCFComedy) which started back in 2009 at the Nottingham Comedy Festival. Since then NCF has grown and had 8 successful comedy festivals and runs shows in Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester and throughout the midlands all year long. 

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NCF Comedy…

  • Why did you start NCF? [0 mins]
  • What is different about NCF? [1 mins]
  • Is the midlands circuit in crisis? [7 mins]
  • How are diversity quotas impacting your job? [13 mins]
  • Should you chase if you’ve not heard back for a gig applications? [15 mins]
  • What is the ladder of progression in NCF? [18mins]
  • When people apply for your gigs, what are the biggest mistakes they do that puts you off booking them?
  • What are you relationships like with with other clubs in Nottingham like Glee and Jongleurs? [20 mins]
    • Do you see them as competition or do you all help each other etc?
  • How many gigs do you run?
  • Do you think there’s too many clubs in the midlands?
  • You do a £1 comedy open mic. Most open mic in London do not charge, is there a reason why you do? Have you ever been free? [3 mins]
  • The differences in the areas they operate. [5 mins]
  • Often comedy is seen as a male environment, what are you doing and what do you know is happening in the midlands to help bring through people of other genders and races? [5 mins]


Nottingham Comedy Festival…

  • Where does Nottingham Comedy Festival fit into the national festival circuit? [27 mins]
  • What is it good for ? (WIP shows / Edinburgh previews / show touring etc)
  • What do you look for in terms of shows / acts?
    • Are there any types of acts you don’t take on?
  • Why does it take place in November? [27 mins]
    • It’s been going since 2009. What has changed in Nottingham and at the festival in the last 7 years? [31 mins]
  • What is your relationship like with other local nearby festivals like the Derby Fringe? [31 mins]
    • Do you use those to scout for acts? [32 mins]
    • I know you’ve run shows at Leicester and Derby were these to scout for acts?
  • Do you scout for acts or is it all acts applying? [30 mins]
  • What are the mistakes people make promoting shows? [39 mins]

Everything else…

  • What are the best books on comedy, writing, stand up etc you’ve read? [51 mins]
  • Best show you’ve ever seen? [51 mins]
  • What are the common misconceptions people have about what you do? [51 mins]
  • What do you think is the biggest problem in the comedy industry and how would you go about solving it? [56 mins]
  • Best bit of advice you would give a comedian who wants to make a career in comedy? [49 mins]






Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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