New comedy club Felt Nowt aims to tickle ribs at Sunderland's Dun Cow pub

A new North East comedy cooperative plans to tickle some ribs in the city with a new comedy club.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 2:51 pm
Kevin Marquis, BIC’s Social Enterprise Manager with stand-up favourite Lee Kyle.

Felt Nowt is a not-for-profit organisation set up by a group of well-known North East comedians with a shared goal to transform the regional comedy scene.

Working with social enterprise experts at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), the organisation has developed a business model that reinvests profits with the long-term goal of taking comedy to communities which might not otherwise have access to it.

Felt Nowt has already thrown open the doors to a new club at Laurel’s Theatre in Whitley Bay and Sunderland is next on the agenda, with plans to soon launch a weekly gathering at the historic Dun Cow pub.

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Stand-up favourite Lee Kyle with Kevin Marquis, Social Enterprise Manager at the North East BIC.

Felt Nowt member Si Beckwith said: “The city is buzzing with regeneration and is ripe for a new comedy scene that acts not just as a platform for comics, but also for other creatives, writers, producers and communicators.”

Felt Nowt started in the wake of the pandemic when a group of out-of-work performers came together to consider ways they could create new opportunities.

Though their initial plan was to simply generate some income, they quickly realised the potential of their combined skills and experience to create something bigger.

Their comedy co-op concept, brings together dozens of comedians into one place, making it easy to find and book a comedian for events, workshops and corporate jobs.

And by working with social enterprise experts Kevin Marquis and Michelle Booth from the BIC, they’ve found a way to fulfil their social purpose as well as making a living.

“What we’ve ended up with is something much more impactful,” said Si. “We all volunteer our time to drive Felt Nowt forward, and it’s all been about generating work for the talented comedians in the North East.

“Comedy has the potential to do incredible things in all kinds of contexts to improve confidence, mental health and relationships. Our driving force is to bring those benefits to our community.”

The founders of Felt Nowt approached the BIC for help in getting established and were supported with everything from business and financial planning to advice on attracting funding.

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