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The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is an open access festival for all citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand. Overseas artists or their producers should submit an Expression of Interest to the Festival Director by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not if you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
In addition to writing and preparing your show, you need a venue to register your show. You will also need someone to produce your season. (This might be you).
Producing a show involves everything from organising and paying for venue hire, marketing and publicity, travel and accommodation, sourcing props and equipment, budgeting, ticketing, obtaining insurance and licences and much more. The Producer is also be the main point of contact with Melbourne Comedy Festival. As part of your registration, the Festival provides information packs and workshops to assist, but it is up to you to make it happen and to cash-flow your season.
Registrations for the 2024 Festival will open on Tuesday 17 October 2023.
There are four parts to registering a show:
Generally, to complete a registration, the following information is required:
Registration fees for the 2024 Festival are:
$375 for AUS/NZ for shows with up to 3 performances
$450 for AUS/NZ for shows with more than 3 performances
$575 for Overseas artists (approval by the Festival Director required before registering)
Registered shows are listed in Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s generic print and digital marketing materials (provided registration is received within the material inclusion timelines). Actual formats may change from year to year. Every registered show has a show page on the Festival website, with links to online ticket purchasing platforms during the Festival. You will have access to resource guides, staff and handbooks as well as information sessions provided by the Festival to assist in producing your show. The Festival negotiates discounted advertising rates and special offers with photographers and graphic designers should you require that support. The Festival’s publicity and marketing team are dedicated to the promotion of the Festival as a whole (but not individual show PR). For targeted, individual show PR, participants may need to engage their own dedicated publicist.
No there is no age limit, however, some venues are licensed and cannot permit under 18’s on the premises. You need to take this into account when deciding upon a venue that is best for you, your show and your target audience. At any age, the serious financial commitment that entering the Festival entails should not be underestimated.
There are several awards you may be eligible for as a participant in the Festival. Typically participants must have 10 or more shows within Festival dates to be eligible for awards. Performances that take place prior to or after Festival dates are not included. For information about each award and a list of past winners, please refer to our Awards page.
Performers not ready to present a full show might think about a more modest start in comedy with:
More information about these competitions can be found on their websites.
All international artists (with the exception of New Zealand artists) must have approval to perform as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Overseas artists are welcome to complete an expression of interst via completing an Overseas Artists Expression of Interest Form and emailing it to email@example.com.
Please open a conversation with the Festival Director by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send us information about yourself and your show, particularly information about any upcoming tours and performances. Please note that it’s unlikely we will produce an artist the Director has not seen performing live.
Securing a producer is important and the Festival can make suggestions if you do not have the relevant connections. Once you have secured a producer they will liaise with the Festival on your behalf to obtain approval for you to register. If you choose to self-produce, you will be responsible for organising (and paying for) all aspects of your show yourself including your own travel and accommodation. You will need to secure an appropriate visa and make appropriate arrangements regarding Australian taxation requirements. You will need to find a venue, make ticketing platform arrangements as well as organise marketing and publicity for your show. Demonstration of your ability to manage all of this will impact on the approval (or otherwise) of your application to participate in the Festival.
Register an account to sign up to our participant newsletters to receive updates.
There are a number of visa options available and we recommend checking with the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs or your local embassy to work out which is most suitable for your circumstances.
If you need further information regarding the visa application process please contact us at email@example.com.
The Festival hires, fits out and staffs a suite of customised venues within the Melbourne CBD for the Festival season, including Melbourne Town Hall, Max Watt’s, Trades Hall, The Victoria Hotel, The Westin and Forum Melbourne. If you apply for and secure a Festival Managed Venue (FMV), your venue rental will cover sound, lighting, staging and seating as well as the necessary technical stage management, front of house and box office staff. You will be responsible for all creative aspects of your show as well as all marketing and publicity.
Expressions of Interest for the 2023 Festival are now closed. If you wish to discuss a late FMV EOI for the 2023 Festival please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Expressions of interest for performing in a Festival Managed Venue (FMV) in 2025 will open again in late 2024.
You do not have to perform in a Festival Managed Venue to be part of Melbourne Comedy Festival. Many shows are performed in independent venues including theatres, council and community spaces and smaller venues such as bars, pubs and clubs. These all offer a variety of spaces and venue hire arrangements at different prices. The Festival maintains a database of venues that have previously hosted Melbourne Comedy Festival shows, as well as venues that have expressed an interest in doing so in the future. The database is a good start in your venue search but is not exhaustive – any venue is a potential Melbourne Comedy Festival venue.
The Venues database can be found here.
Any venue in Melbourne is a potential venue for the Festival. Many venues run independently, liaising with artists and producers directly. The venue is responsible for setting up the performing space, staffing the venue, programming shows, marketing the venue, and setting up a box office space. The Festival has a ticketing service which can be used by artists at any venue if the venue does not have an existing, contracted ticketing provider. Many independent venues have existing contracts with other ticketing providers in which case sales are accessed via a link to our website. Independently programmed and run venues in past Festivals have included The Athenaeum, Comedy Republic, Malthouse Theatre, The Toff in Town, Elephant and Wheelbarrow, The Butterfly Club, The Exford Hotel, Thornbury Theatre, St Kilda RSL and many more.
NB Any agreement with an independent venue is between the artist/producer and the venue, not with Melbourne Comedy Festival. Negotiations and agreements are between these two parties. It is strongly recommended that you have the agreement in writing. The venue’s Public Liability Insurance certificate of currency will need to be supplied to Melbourne Comedy Festival.
The Festival maintains a database of all venues interested in hosting a Melbourne International Comedy Festival show. This database is accessible to producers interested in registering a show in the Festival. To express interest in being a Festival venue please fill in the form here and we will add you to our database. Festival staff will be in contact once you have filled out this form.
We urge all participants to keep their vaccinations up to date and take advantage of access to the latest available COVID-19 boosters.
For further information, facts, and professional advice on Australia’s vaccination program, and the most up-to-date public health advice, please visit health.vic.gov.au.
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