Melbourne International Comedy Festival acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live. We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' spirit, imagination and rich history of storytelling and humour that is an inspiration to all Australians.

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Information for Performers - faqs

FAQ's

WHO CAN ENTER THE FESTIVAL?

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.

DO I HAVE TO AUDITION OR SUBMIT ANY MATERIAL TO BE SELECTED?

No, not if you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FESTIVAL?

In addition to writing and performing your show, you need someone to produce your show.

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. As part of your registration, the Festival provides information packs and workshops to assist, but it is up to you to make it happen. We have helpful podcasts available on publicity, marketing and production that can help to answers your questions.

WHEN DO REGISTRATIONS TAKE PLACE?

Registrations for the 2021 Festival will open in late 2020.

Register an account here to sign up to our participant newsletters to receive updates.

HOW DO I REGISTER A SHOW?

Information regarding registration and participation in the 2021 COVID-environment Comedy Festival will be available soon.

Previously, in non-COVID times, there have been three parts to registering a show:

  1. Fill out the online registration information
  2. Pay the registration fee
  3. Sign and submit the ‘Conditions of Participation’ documentation

This process may be revised for 2021 conditions.

WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED FOR THE ONLINE REGISTRATION?

Generally, to complete a registration, the following information is required:

  • Show title and copy
  • Good quality show image
  • Venue, dates and times
  • Ticket prices and booking information
  • Producer & Publicist contact details

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO REGISTER?

Registration fees for the 2021 Festival have not been set.

The 2020 registration fees were as follows:

The cost for AUS or NZ performers presenting an event or show with a max. of 2 performances is $375 AUD;
The cost for AUS or NZ performers presenting an event or show with more than 2 performances is $525 AUD;
The cost for International artists presenting an event/show is $685 AUD.

WHAT DOES THE REGISTRATION FEE COVER?

Registered shows are listed in Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s generic print and digital marketing materials. 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 and handbooks as well as regular 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 provides a publicity and marketing team dedicated to the promotion of the Festival as a whole (but not individual show PR). For targeted, individual show PR, participants may need to hire their own dedicated publicists.

IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT TO REGISTER?

No there isn’t, however, some venues are licensed and cannot permit under 18’s on the premises. You’d 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.

WHAT IF I DON’T FEEL READY TO PUT ON A SHOW BUT I’D STILL LIKE TO TAKE PART?

Performers not ready to present a full show might think about a more modest start in comedy with:

  • RAW Comedy National Open Mic Competition
  • Deadly Funny National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Comedy Competition 
  • Class Clowns National Secondary School Comedy Competition

More information about these competitions can be found on their websites.

I’M NOT AN AUSTRALIAN OR NEW ZEALAND CITIZEN OR RESIDENT, HOW DO I SUBMIT AN EXPRESSION OF INTEREST AND SEEK APPROVAL TO REGISTER?

Overseas artists are welcome to make enquiries about participating in the Festival or to submit an expression of interest at any time by emailing info@comedyfestival.com.au.

AS AN OVERSEAS ARTIST, HOW DO I APPLY TO HAVE THE FESTIVAL PRODUCE MY SHOW? 

Please open a conversation with the Festival Director by emailing info@comedyfestival.com.au.

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.

AS AN OVERSEAS ARTIST, IF I’M NOT PRODUCED BY THE COMEDY FESTIVAL, WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

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, accommodation, appropriate visas as well as finding a venue, organising ticket sales, marketing and publicising 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.

HOW DO I SUBMIT INFORMATION TO BE APPROVED AS AN OVERSEAS ARTIST?

Overseas artists are welcome to make enquiries about participating in the Festival or to submit an expression of interest at any time by emailing info@comedyfestival.com.au.

Please note that due to COVID-19, it is not looking likely that international artists will be able to secure visas by March 2021 and therefore unlikely that we will be able to welcome overseas artists to the 2021 Comedy Festival. We are monitoring that situation carefully.

Register an account here to sign up to our participant newsletters to receive updates.

AS AN OVERSEAS ARTIST DOES THE COMEDY FESTIVAL ORGANISE MY VISA?

There are a number of visa options available and we recommend checking with the Australian Immigration Department or your local embassy to work out which is most suitable for your circumstances.

For further information regarding this service and the process please contact us at info@comedyfestival.com.au.

WHAT IS A FESTIVAL MANAGED VENUE (FMV)?

As the name suggests, the Festival hires, fits out and staffs several venues within the Melbourne CBD, including the Melbourne Town Hall, Max Watt’s, Trades Hall, Victoria Hotel, the Chinese Museum, the Greek Centre and Forum Melbourne. If you apply for and are accepted to present your show in an FMV, you will be provided with a venue fully equipped with sound, lighting, staging and seating. You will also be provided with a technical stage manager, 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.

CAN I PUT MY SHOW IN A FESTIVAL MANAGED VENUE?

Due to COVID-19, plans for the Festival’s 2021 venue offering are still developing as we define capacities and confirm operational requirements according to legislated COVID-safe protocols.

Register an account here to sign up to our participant newsletters to receive updates.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY APPLICATION FOR A FESTIVAL MANAGED VENUE IS UNSUCCESSFUL?

You do not have to perform in a Festival Managed Venue to be part of the Comedy Festival. Many shows are performed in independent venues including large theatres, council & community spaces and smaller venues such as bars, pubs and clubs. These all offer a variety of spaces and hire arrangements at different prices, so there’s something to suit everyone. The Festival maintains a database of venues that have previously hosted 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 Comedy Festival venue.

HOW CAN MY VENUE BECOME INVOLVED IN THE MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL?

The Festival maintains a database of all interested, potential venues. This database is accessible to producers interested in registering a show in the Festival. The individual show producers will select venues to contact from this database according to their needs. Location, capacity and availability will determine which venues they approach for further information. If producers are interested in performing their show in a particular venue they will negotiate the hire agreement directly with that venue. Venues are expected to agree to ‘Terms and Conditions’ for participating in the Festival. The producer(s) of the shows in your venue will provide this document for you to sign as part of their show registration process.

In 2021 all venues will be subject to new COVID-safe regulations. In the interests of the health and safety of all performers, producers, staff and audiences, the Festival will urge rigorous application of all such regulations. We are developing reference materials that producers and venues can use as guides should that be required.

To express interest in being a Comedy Festival venue, please fill in the form here and we will add you to our database. In late 2020 we will contact all venues in our database to confirm details and availability for the 2021 Festival. Producers will be searching for venues from October and will need to have their venue locked in before registrations close in late December.