DMU students encouraged to 'face their fears' at comedy festival & boost their careers


The founder of the Leicester Comedy Festival says the ‘sky’s the limit’ for students as he recognises his own ‘nervous excitement’ and ‘fearless spirit’ in them.

Helping to boost career prospects is the reason Geoff Rowe is so keen to involve De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students in the 19-day annual festival and encourage them to have such high-profile roles.

He says there would not be a comedy festival without the students as they take care of managing venues, running the box office, promoting events, filming events and writing reviews.

Comedy Festival Geoff Rowe WEB

Leicester Comedy Festival director and founder Geoff Rowe

Geoff set up the event in 1994 as part of his final year practical project as an Arts Management student at DMU.

Twenty-five years later, it is the largest and longest-running comedy festival in the UK and Geoff remains at the helm as director.

Geoff hopes the unique on-the-job experience will help DMU students to follow their career aspirations.

He said: “I see myself in so many of the students; it’s how it all started for me.

“They act just like I did, I recognise their nervous excitement and fearless spirit.

“At first it can seem daunting but once they get going, I hope they have the time of their lives and learn so many workplace skills.

 “It’s a learning curve and that’s just what working in the industry is like, you have to face your fears. They will not always get everything right first time, but they will learn on the job.”


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Geoff said he doesn’t know of any other university that offers this kind of opportunity and for many students, it is their first experience of working in the industry.

He likes hearing how being involved in the comedy festival goes on to open up a myriad of opportunities for DMU students.

Comedy Festival the start WEB

How it all began: Geoff Rowe and Claire Walker as DMU students with comedian/actor Greg Proops in 1994

Geoff said: “It’s a chance for students to put into practice what they have learnt at university; it is real life experience.

“These students are the next generation of workers in the industry.

“The festival hopefully shows them that anything is possible, the sky’s the limit for them.”

There will be about 50 current and past DMU students involved in this year’s festival. As well as Arts & Festival Management students managing the venues, Journalism students will be writing reviews, Demon Media will be filming shows, and several of the comedians themselves are ex-DMU students.

Geoff said: “DMU is responsible for the birth of the Leicester Comedy Festival and it’s been the main organisation we have partnered with for 25 years and I hope that will continue for many years.

“You can’t move for DMU students helping out, their contribution is amazing.  The Festival just wouldn’t happen without DMU. They’ve got everything covered.”

Comedy Festival Geoff speaking to students

Comedy Festival founder and director Geoff Rowe talks to DMU students

DMU is the higher education partner at the Leicester Comedy Festival, which runs from February 7 to February 25.

This year’s festival will feature more than 1,000 comedians in 847 shows, which is an 8% increase on last year.

Geoff said: “I’m really excited about this year’s festival; it’s going to be great.

“It’s a year of hard work, but it’s definitely worth it. We all thrive on the adrenaline.”

Tickets to all shows are on sale from the Comedy Festival website.

Posted on Friday 2nd February 2018

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