Funny in Falkirk: Festival is taking to the waves

Comic Bruce Devlin joins Councillor Adrian Mahoney and BID manager Alastair Mitchell at the festival launch

Comic Bruce Devlin joins Councillor Adrian Mahoney and BID manager Alastair Mitchell at the festival launch

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Central Scotland’s biggest comedy festival will take to the waves when it returns next month.

Funny in Falkirk 2011 was launched at the Falkirk Wheel on Tuesday with organisers promising that this year’s event will be ‘‘bigger and brighter”.

Among the 58 shows will be two held on board a boat travelling along the Forth & Clyde canal.

Big names confirmed for this year’s festival include Elaine C Smith - star of the legendary BBC series ‘Rab C Nesbitt’ - who will be sharing her unique take on Scottish life at Falkirk Town Hall on July 29.

Stephen K Amos, a regular panellist on ‘Have I Got News For You’ and ‘Mock the Week’, will perform at the same venue on July 30.

One of the stars of last year’s festival, Fred MacAulay, returns to play Grangemouth Town Hall on the same day.

Organised by the Scottish Comedy Agency in association with the Falkirk BID and Falkirk Council, Funny in Falkirk was launched last year and immediately proved a popular addition to the district’s events calendar.

This year the festival will take place from July 22 to August 2 at a variety of venues across Falkirk, Grangemouth, Bo’ness, Denny, Stenhousemuir - and for the first time - Bonnybridge.

Speaking at the festival launch, Comedy Agency director Tommy Sheppard said that the line-up had something for everyone.

He said: “We’ve brought together a quality selection of comedians that will appeal to people of all ages. There’s a broad range of styles and tastes, from comedy greats such as Elaine C Smith to contemporary favourites like Stewart Lee.

“The first festival was a tremendous success. It set the bar high for this year. But I think we’ve more than matched it - this year’s festival is going to be bigger and brighter.”

The 2011 line-up was unveiled at the Falkirk Wheel by Edinburgh Fringe favourite Bruce Devlin.

He’ll be compering two special ‘comedy cruises’ which will be held on board a boat on the Forth & Clyde Canal.

“I won’t be having a drink those days” joked Bruce. “I’ve played gigs on boats before - but none of them have been moving at the time.

“I’m delighted to be playing Falkirk again, the audiences are always very receptive and know how to have a good time.”

The festival is however not just about laughs - it also provides a welcome boost to the night-time economy.

Corrie Cuthbertson, chairwoman of the Falkirk BID, hailed the contribution last year’s event made to local businesses and said she was looking forward to more of the same.

She added: “The festival brought a real buzz to the town centre. I’m sure that this year’s calibre of performers will make the event another big hit.”

Councillor Adrian Mahoney said: “Funny in Falkirk was a huge hit last year - it will be even better in 2011.”

Tickets for all festival shows are now on sale. For details, visit www.funnyinfalkirk.com