Producing Cape Town’s Favourite Comedy Festival
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Show producer, Eddy Cassar shares the ins and outs of the festival, and just what goes in to putting this brilliant show together every year!
Putting together the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival delivered by Turkish Airlines is no easy task. Top comic Tumi Morake observed one year and commented. “I’ve worked it out. Eddy puts on a show of his favourite performers and then attends every one of them”. She is actually exactly right. But it’s not easy finding my favourites year after year.
To complicate matters, top international performers work on an eighteen month cycle, so I am always working two years ahead! I have been fortunate to have visited the Edinburgh Fringe Festival annually for the last decade. Over this time, the Funny Festival has changed, incorporating international street or variety acts and can now be best described as a comedy festival, where international variety acts meet local stand-up comics on a Cape Town stage.
I try and theme every year, even though the public are not aware of it, it is subconsciously evident as the evening unfolds. In 2016, the theme was “Elegance”. The silver stage, the C Squared suites, Ennio Marchetto all assisted in upgrading the experience and making it an elegant night out.
Last year the theme was “The Circus”, and featured international vaudeville comic performer, Mario: Queen of the Circus, accompanied by Norwegian circus superstar Captain Frodo, who has been performing in circus tents since the age of four.
This year, the show will once again be built around a core group of performers, supported by visiting acts for a limited time.
I like to mix fresh faces – especially new talent on the South African comedy scene – with comedic legends like Alan Committie and Marc Lottering, supported by top international acts. This is a winning recipe that keeps audiences coming back for more.
Over the years I have been fortunate to be invited to numerous international comedy festivals. I attended the Freiburg Variety Showcase in Germany in 2017, and the Adelaide Fringe earlier this year. I have found some beautiful variety acts on my travels, and it’s always fantastic to introduce them to local audiences.
I get to see about 100 shows each year, both locally and internationally. It takes time to creatively curate the Festival. Add sponsorship negotiations, contracts, air tickets, hotel bookings, set layout and overall production… and then getting each and every performance sold – this is no easy task.
As Hannibal of the A-Team says, “it’s great when a plan comes together”. In my heart of hearts, I know I have a great, diverse and interesting, hilarious festival. Let’s enjoy it together.
The #capetownfunnyfestival 2020 runs from 15 June - 12 July at the Baxter Theatre. Tickets at @webtickets (http://bit.ly/funnyfestival2020)!