Main Image 2021 twitter cover
Main Image 2021 twitter cover


1-7 March 2021

Chaplin famously said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted”. Well, I’m not too sure about that, but I do know that laughter is a great way to help us forget about our troubles, and in these unprecedented times who wouldn’t want that?

Working closely with our board, Slapstick decided at the end of last year to move the 2021 edition of the festival online, due to both the global and local impact of Covid. It was a hard decision – for almost two decades Slapstick Festival has welcomed people from the South West and beyond to live interactive events, discussions and films from the world of comedy, and to break with that tradition is a hard wrench. But it was one we felt was inevitable and sensible under the circumstances.

So in 2021, we will be offering an exciting online platform featuring: seven days of classic and unseen silent comedies, live comedy events, artist talks and a community connection via our Zoom ‘Hangout’ live events. And later in the year, we will also be partnering with venues across Bristol and beyond to safely host in-person events.

Since late last year, we’ve been focusing all our energies on programming a thrilling online festival – one that hopefully people will be talking about all year. And being online isn’t all bad news – we’ve realised there are many positives too!

One of those positives is that we’ll be able to work with special guests from overseas for whom time and cost have meant coming to Bristol has always been impossible. Dr Harriet Fields and Suzanne Lloyd Hayes are granddaughters of silent screen legends W.C.Fields and Harold Lloyd, and we’re excited at the prospect of hearing their insights about their forebears. Other Stateside guests include silent comedy expert Steve Massa and musician and silent comedy champion Ben Model, who will be beaming into your living rooms from New York.

Our slate of contemporary comedians this year includes our Patron and supporter Rob Brydon, who’ll be probing Graeme Garden on his comedy influences; Patron Matt Lucas joins Noel Fielding who’ll be with Robin Ince to celebrate Laurel & Hardy, and Lucy Porter and Jessica Martin who’ll be exploring the renowned “It Girl” Clara Bow in a series of special events.

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Director Slapstick Festival