Features

Funny Women Awards Alumni – 16 years of brilliant, hilarious women

Introducing Gemma Higgins, the latest addition to the Funny Women team! Gemma is taking on the role of Awards Alumni Coordinator, so she’s been doing her research into the history of the Funny Women Awards and catching up on what our Awards alumni have been up to… 

I’m joining the team as we enter the 16th year of the Funny Women Awards. Which is pretty damn exciting.

From 70 entries back in 2003 (first job in post: do the research) – which, it has to be said, is a pretty good debut by anyone’s standards, the 2017 Funny Women Awards not only broke records but exceeded all expectations, with over 1000 applications from up-and-coming comedians, writers and creators. 

It would be hard to claim that Funny Women in its current form remains just a platform for women in comedy. Over the years it has become a community: like-minded, ambitious, hilarious (obviously) women have forged friendships, found creative partners, supported and championed each other along the way to being recognised by the industry. Yeah, this particular community is badass.

It goes without saying that we couldn’t have got to 16 years without the community we’ve built up – but, quite frankly, it shouldn’t. So we wanted to kick off the year (because let’s be honest, January’s a write-off) with a massive 16-year-old THANK YOU to the Funny Women alumni for helping to create this community. Go you. 

Not only have we had the privilege of meeting thousands of brilliant women, but we’re proud to have played a small part in your comedy journeys and grateful for all the subsequent support you’ve shown by keeping in touch, getting involved and encouraging others to come along to Funny Women events. It’s this sort of stuff that’s inspiring the next generation of female comedy talent, giving them role models who’ve not only successfully made it in the industry but are busy SMASHING IT.

I mean, check out what happened last year alone:

Thanyia Moore, Naomi Sheldon, Cam Spence, Alex Hardy and Cramps Comedy won 2017 Funny Women Awards categories.

A Funny Women Writing Award winner’s script was commissioned by the BBC.

Two of our Comedy Shorts finalists made their first TV shows and had their sitcom scripts go into development with super indies.

2008 Alumna Katherine Ryan bagged herself a six-part series commission with Netflix

2010 Alumna Rachel Parris won the coveted Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh TV Awards.

We saw our largest Edinburgh Festival presence to date and we penned over 100 reviews. 

We had our first tie-in with international broadcast giant Viacom by partnering with Comedy Central on the Comedy Shorts Award.

Funny Women Awards Alumni Sarah Keyworth, Olga Koch, Maisie Adam, Lauren Pattison, Sindhu Vee and Catherine Bohart had Soho Theatre runs.

Funny Women Awards Alumnae Sarah Keyworth, Sindhu Vee, Olga Koch and Maisie Adam were all nominated for Best Newcomer at Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Funny Women Awards Alumni Rosie Jones, Desiree Burch and Sindhu Vee made us super proud by nailing their critically-acclaimed shows and being profiled EVERYWHERE!

We’re always trying to offer our community more tips and tricks, resources, inspiration and encouragement and we want our alumni to be the first to know about what we have lined up over the coming months as there will be even more opportunities for you to continue your Funny Women journeys with us (which we’d absolutely love you to).

During 2019 we’ll be (drumroll, please):

Launching our new and improved Funny Women Awards.

Developing our recently launched Podcast Channel with a brand new show with producer Becky Singh launching in Spring.

Producing even more HERlarious events (Funny Women’s breakthrough corporate sister roadtested to glowing reviews in 2018) in partnership with some big cheese organisations across Britain.

Increasing our Funny Women broadcast partnerships.

Continuing our ever-popular Stand Up to Stand Out, Time Of The Month and Brighton Nights shows and workshops nationwide.

Expanding our Funny Women chapters (building upon the success of our Irish, North West and South West England chapters under the production of the fabulous Catherine Royle, Emma Deeley and Louise Leigh) with the launch of a chapter in Amsterdam plus Scotland in the works as we speak.

Developing the first ever Funny Women USA chapter…

I know, I KNOW. There’s some exciting stuff on the horizon. Which is where I come in, to give our alumni community someone to get in touch with if you want to be more involved in the awesome projects Funny Women is up to in 2019.

Fancy sharing your advice, experience and hilarious industry stories with women thinking about entering the Awards by writing something for the community?

Need to get hold of any official bits like logos or laureates to use on your promo?

Drop me an email or DM me on the Twitters and I’ll do the thing. How well I’ll do it is yet to be confirmed, mind.

Our website editor Kate Stone and social media manager (and talented photographer) Mariana Feijo are always keen to hear about any projects, campaigns, successes or show news you’d like shared with the Funny Women community, so you can tap me up for that sort of stuff too as they’re always happy to do a bit of alumni promotion.

Keep up to date with us by following our Funny Women social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as standard) as all your likes, shares, retweets and #FunnyWomen hashtags motivate new members of the community to come along to a show or a workshop, test their material at a TOTM gig or give the Awards themselves a go.

Oh, and I was asked to provide a photo so here’s me on a horse. I know.