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Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase returns for its 10th run at Liverpool’s Royal Court

3 weeks ago

Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase returns for its 10th run at Liverpool’s Royal Court
Credit: Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase / Royal Court Liverpool

The showcase is designed to provide a platform for black and brown comedy and entertainment talent.

The Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase will celebrate its 10th instalment next month at Liverpool’s Royal Court on 11 April. 

Run in partnership with Boisterous Theatre Co. and founded by comedian and resident host Che Burnley, the showcase began at Edinburgh Festival in 2016 before finding a regular home in the Liverpool theatre five years ago. Over that time, the showcase has provided a platform for over 150 artists including Desiree Burch, Emmanuel Sonubi, Paul Sinha and Dane Baptiste. 

Che Burnley has been a comedian for 14 years, he said:

“It was in Edinburgh when an Irish friend pointed out there wasn’t a showcase for Black artists, while there would be one for Irish or Welsh acts and I thought ‘I suppose I’m going to have to create one’.

“It’s hard for Black acts to get started, and I have to be honest, the further up North you go the harder it gets. I always say it’s about giving people what they didn’t know they wanted, while providing a platform people didn’t know they would need.”

Che and Sir Lenny Henry. Credit: Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase / Royal Court Liverpool
Che and Sir Lenny Henry. Credit: Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase / Royal Court Liverpool

Based on the cabaret shows of the 70’s like the Wheeltappers & Shunters Club, Che wanted to subvert the tropes of those days whilst opening up the doors for a more diverse range of comedians, The Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase includes comedy, music, performance and welcomes acts from all over the world, from Liverpool to Los Angeles. 

Che added:

“It isn’t just about new acts, it’s also about providing a place for people to see older acts they might never have seen live.

“You’ll often find in comedy or in touring, for Black acts, if they don’t get the TV slot, or the regular venues, it feels like they fall off the radar. I work as both a comedian and a promoter and it’s just as important to be providing somewhere that Black acts can be seen, can showcase their work, can be in front of an audience as it is to write that zinger of a joke, or that perfect ten minutes of material.” 

Having begun in Edinburgh, found a residency in Liverpool and a guest night in Manchester, the showcase is hoping to expand to further venues in the Midlands and into Yorkshire and the North East. 

“For traditional theatre venues there’s a real potential to present new Black shows and open up what are often traditionally white spaces to a more diverse audience”. 

The tenth Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase is on 11 April at Liverpool’s Royal Court and the line up includes;

Desiree Birch. Credit: Andy Hollingworth
Desiree Birch. Credit: Andy Hollingworth

Headline: Funmbi Omotayo Funmbi is a force of nature, a natural comedian who oozes charisma that makes the audience instantly fall in love with him. A circuit headliner who boasts a host of awards including Best Newcomer At The Black Comedy Awards, Winner of Amused Moose & Leicester Square Comedian Of The Year.

His talents have seen him perform across the globe including Canada, Holland & Germany to name a few. Funmbi has provided tour support for John Bishop & Hal Crutteden, has popped up on ITV, BBC, Comedy Central & Channel 4 and to top it off has performed two shows at the Edinburgh Festival. 

Middle: Sharifa Butterfly Sharifa is a talented comedian known for her unique sense of humour and her unusually entertaining life story. With a knack for storytelling and a natural ability to connect with audiences, Sharifa has become one to watch. Born and raised in London, Sharifa has spent her entire adult life working professionally as a Hip Hop dancer.

Falling into the societal pressures to get an “adult job” Sharifa is transitioning into a more grown up and sensible career, something to make the grandparents proud – stand up comedy. King Gong winner at The Comedy Store, Gong winner at Top Secret comedy club. 

Opening: Andy White Andy escaped from a call centre to become a stand up comic who mixes silly voices and faces with observational humour, topical humour and his mixed race background.

He can do material that’s clever, cheeky, sick or just silly and his performance can shift from deadpan to loud and physical.

Tickets are £12 and available to book now.

To book for Alternative Black Cabaret Showcase click here.

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