News Story

We are delighted to announce an exciting new 3-day Bolton Comedy Festival, coming to the Octagon in July.

Featuring some of the top names in stand-up including headliners - Dara Ó Briain, Dylan Moran, Emmanuel Sonubi and Catherine Bohart, plus appearances from Jenny Ryan, Justin Moorhouse, Huge Davies, Chloe Petts, Sophie Duker, Lucy Porter, Ania Magiano, Steve Bugeja, Ryan Cullen, Angelos Epithemiou, Harry Stachini and Johnny Pelham with more acts still to be confirmed.

This summer, over 20 comedians will perform at the Octagon across the 3 days from Fri 12 – Sun 14 July.

The packed programme will include daily headline performances in the Octagon’s main theatre, a series of work in progress shows in the intimate studio space and live podcast recordings with special guests. A great opportunity for comedy fans to get up close and personal with some of the biggest names in stand up.

Chief Executive Roddy Gauld commented: Bolton has a reputation for funny people! With names such as Peter Kay, Diane Morgan, Sophie Willan, Paddy McGuinness, Stu Francis, Hylda Baker and so many more hailing from our town. We felt it was time that Bolton had its own Comedy Festival, to celebrate our famous sense of humour and comedy heritage.

“The response we had for our Peter Kay shows at the Octagon last year was phenomenal and audiences loved seeing a comedy genius up-close - the atmosphere felt electric! So, this new comedy festival is great opportunity to come together and enjoy fresh new material from some of the biggest names in stand-up, as well as chance to discover someone new. The Octagon is known for its intimate, friendly environment and for just three days it’ll be home to the funniest people in Britain.”

Just days ago, Bolton was named as Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture for 2024, so the Bolton Comedy Festival promises to be a great addition to the town’s cultural calendar.

Friday night headliner will be stand-up comedian and television presenter Dara Ó Briain, best known for hosting Mock the Week, Blockbusters, Robot Wars, Stargazing Live, Dara and Ed’s Great Big Adventure and Dara Ó Briain’s Go 8Bit. His latest show So… Where Were We? was winner of Best Tour at the 2023 Chortle Awards and has been performed across the globe, touring in the UK, Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, the Middle East and North America.

London based Emmanuel Sonubi will be headlining on the Saturday. A regular favourite on the live comedy circuit, he has become one of the most sought-after acts working today. As seen on the recent series of ‘Live at the Apollo' Comedy Central’s Stand-Up UK and ITV2’s The Stand-up Sketch Show.

On Sunday afternoon Irish comedian, writer and actor Catherine Bohart will be bringing her new show And Now With Feelings to the Octagon. Best known for her BBC Radio 4 show Who Runs the World?, plus TV appearances on Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, A League of their Own and 8 out of 10 Cats.

Comedian, actor and writer Dylan Moran closes the festival as our Sunday evening headliner. Best known for his observational comedy along with the BAFTA award winning sitcom Black Books that he co-wrote and starred in. As a comedian, Moran has toured the world many times, and has also works extensively in film including performances alongside Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead and Run Fatboy Run.

Bolton’s own Jenny Ryan – better known as the dream-crushing brainbox The Vixen on the hit ITV quiz The Chase – will be making an appearance alongside Lucy Porter with a live podcast recording of their popular podcast Fingers on Buzzers – perfect for any quiz show fans or pub quiz fanatics!

Local Bolton comedian Justin Moorhouse will return to the Octagon after sell-out shows in 2023 with brand new material and commented on his home-town festival:Bolton has significantly contributed to my comedy career. Not only did it provide me with the incredible opportunity to join Peter Kay in Phoenix Nights and the various chances that followed, but some of my most cherished on-stage moments have taken place in the town. With Bolton being known as one of Britain's most fun-filled towns, it is only fitting that a comedy festival be held there.

See full Bolton Comedy Festival line-up & book tickets