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Winner, Kate Kindleysides with host, Lizzy Hoo. Photo credit: Jim Lee
MELBOURNE 5 APRIL, 2023 – 16-year-old Kate Kindleysides (QLD) from Northside Christian College has been awarded the winner of the 27th annual Class Clowns National Grand Final, held as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Part of the suite of development programs run by the Festival, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Class Clowns program has helped hundreds of young people develop their comedy potential and cultivated the next generation of funny people as well as new and unique voices.
Class Clowns alumni include Josh Thomas (Please Like Me, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay), Annie Louey (comedian and presenter), William McKenna (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Aaron Chen (Fiske, 2017 Best Newcomer Award and 2019 Directors’ Choice Award winner at Melbourne International Comedy Festival) and Rhys Nicholson (RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under and2022 Most Outstanding Show Award winner at Melbourne International Comedy Festival).
More than just a competition, the Class Clowns program gives participants from years 9-12 access to professional comedians as mentors, and the opportunity to take part in workshops and perform in front of live audiences at a local, state and national level.
This year saw over 150 participants from across Australia perform in heats and state finals. Today 15 finalists (12 acts), from around the nation took to the stage in front of a live audience and a panel of industry experts to perform stand-up, sketch and parody for their chance to be crowned the funniest teen (or teens) in the country.
Today’s event at the Forum Melbourne was hosted by Lizzy Hoo, with a special guest performance from Sam Campbell. Kate’s performance impressed the judges with her dry wit, natural stage presence and confidence. Kate walked away with a prize of $1,500, a $1,000 workshop package for their school, plus the Class Clowns trophy.
Three runners up were also given kudos by the judges: Kevin Farrell, Jarvis Watson & Jahrahn Neal-Yeatman (The Wrong Country) from St Teresa’s College Abergowrie, QLD, Max Simpfendorfer from Trinity Grammar School, VIC, and Rebecca Elphicke from Alfred Deakin High School, ACT.
The Class Clowns state finalists who performed at the national grand final today include: Kushi Venkatesh (Marryatville High School SA) Alexi Oblescuk (Darwin High School NT), Rebecca Elphicke (Alfred Deakin High School ACT), Hardy Croucher (Great Southern Grammar WA), Kate Kindleysides (Northside Christian College QLD), Max Simpfendorfer (Trinity Grammar School VIC), Ojas Panat (Suzanne Cory High School VIC), Jensen Spenser (Eltham College VIC), Asha Franklin & Lola Roberts (St Leonards College VIC), Phoenix Oxenbridge (Palm Beach Currumbin State High School QLD), Mika Hosking (Hobart College TAS), Kevin Farrell, Jarvis Watson and Jahrahn Neal-Yeatman (St Teresa’s College Abergowrie QLD)
The judging panel for the 27th Class Clowns National Grand Final were Catherine Andrews, Festival Director Susan Provan AO, comedians and previous Class Clowns participants Annie Louey and Rhys Nicholson and casting director Nathan Lloyd.
Class Clowns Producer, Libby Lynch said, ‘The comedic talent from this year’s Class Clowns heats and finals around the country has been exceptional! It’s been so exciting to see such diverse, smart and funny young people hit the stage, not just here at the National Grand Final, but across every state and territory. The future of comedy really is in safe hands and I can’t wait to see what these young people do next’.
“Today’s Class Clown 2023 Grand Final proved the future of comedy is safe,” said the Class Clowns judging panel. “Witnessing an incredible and diverse line-up of finalists, full of surprises, it was exciting to see such fresh and original material. We saw stuff we’ve never seen before.”
“I feel threatened they’re all coming for our jobs,” Rhys Nicholson added.
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