20th Slapstick Festival

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Drum roll please as we unveil the exciting and star-studded programme for Slapstick 2024, including the long-awaited return of our cherished Gala to the venue where it all began, now renamed Bristol Beacon and looking and sounding truly glorious after its extensive refit.

As you flick through this festival guide you will find information on the 30+ unique comedy events we will be sharing during the five days from Wednesday 14 to Sunday 18 February in the company of such famous guests as Samira Ahmed, Hugh Bonneville, Marcus Brigstocke, Terry Gilliam, Harry Hill, Robert Lindsay, Sylvester McCoy, Lucy Porter, Tim Vine and Adam Hills (to name just some).

As ever, the line-up is a mix of silent comedy classics and rarities accompanied always by world-class musicians; nostalgic revivals; honours for modern day artists keeping the slapstick spirit alive; fresh looks at beloved stars of the past and not one, not two, but three regional premieres.

Celebrating Comedy Horror

In a festival first, Slapstick 2024 will feature a Comedy Horror strand, starting with the seminal and much parodied 1927 spine-tingler classic THE CAT AND THE CANARY, hosted by Alasdair Beckett-King and Robin Ince. Events in this strand are flagged throughout this brochure with a special logo and include Tim Vine introducing his film FEARMOTH, a live from New York Spooktacular with Steve Massa and Ben Model, a ‘relaxed screening’ of ABBOTT and COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, and Brian da Palma’s rock opera parody PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE.

Leading Women On and Off-Screen

Another strand provides a triple bill of films from 1926 starring women, with Slapstick favourite Lucy Porter introducing two of them. And women take key roles elsewhere in the programme with Samira Ahmed urging a reappraisal of the insights and social impact of THE GOODIES; a Gala cameo by Cheryl Knight as Joyce Grenfell , Christina Newland revealing the real cost of early stunt work in the days before health and safety and Polly Rose highlighting Buster Keaton’s talkie talents and interviewing the author of a new book which puts Keaton’s life and work in new context.

Salutes to the greats

Chaplin, Keaton and Laurel & Hardy feature strongly, of course, including in a new film all about Stan and Laurel’s 1952 visit to Ireland. But today’s comic geniuses will not be overlooked. See inside for details of a day of events at Bristol Old Vic celebrating the work of Robert Lindsay, and Terry Gilliam.

In short, this line-up offers something for everyone who enjoys, or needs, more magic, mischief, and mirth in their lives and we do hope you will join us.

Due to unavoidable scheduling conflicts the GBH event is being postponed. Sign up for details of the new date here – link to newsletter page

Chris Daniels, Director, Slapstick Festival

Gala Chris Daniels All Photos © David Betteridge Photography 1 uai 516x772 2