The Leicester Comedy Festival is an annual city highlight, and hundreds of staff and volunteers put in hours of work behind the scenes to make it a success.
With De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) as a key sponsor for the festival, students regularly have the chance to get involved – and for some, this connection lives on even after they graduate.
Oli Page graduated from Cultural Events Management MSc in 2017. He landed the role as marketing manager for Big Difference Company, which produces the comedy festival, after first volunteering during his studies.
“I worked as many shifts as I could in so many different areas to learn as much as possible,” he said.
“I can't recommend the experience enough. It was so much fun, you get to meet so many new people and experience the hustle and bustle of such a popular festival.”
Oli credits the knowledge and skills he gained on his course with helping him break into the sector.
He said: “When I decided to study my MSc at DMU, I was swayed by the fantastic reputation of the course. Students from both the MSc and the BA have gone on to make a great impact in the city's creative and cultural sector.
“I'm very grateful for all the support and advice I was given from my lecturers. DMU gave me such a great experience. It’s allowed me to push on in my career as a freelance producer in an industry I'm so passionate about and I wouldn't be in the position I am today without it.”
Charlotte Laidet works with Oli at Big Difference Company as the festival producer. She also graduated in 2017 from the same course.
“Our lecturer would encourage us to grab any opportunity to get involved, so I volunteered. Then I contacted the festival again a few weeks later to do my work placement with them over the summer,” she said.
“It all went very well and I ended up getting a job as a special events manager. I’m now the festival producer, so the entire experience proved to be very successful and rewarding!”
Charlotte enjoys the variety of acts that the festival offers.
She said: “I love the fact that the festival presents emerging and new comedians as well as big names from TV. It brings together so many people, communities and even businesses that would probably not cross paths otherwise.
“And of course, seeing the city centre buzzing, with performers everywhere and the festival vibe – it’s such a warm feeling to get in February.”
Alumnus John Kirby also credited the festival for bringing people together and putting the fun into February.
“It gives everyone something to look forward to at what can be a bit of a rubbish time of the year. And it’s genuinely everyone, because everyone likes comedy,” he said.
John graduated from Art History at DMU in 2004. Since then he has worked for various galleries in Leicester including New Walk Museum. He is now a programming officer at the Attenborough Arts Centre, and programmes many events for the festival.
He credits the great friends he made at DMU for helping him find his career path.
“At the time I had no idea at all what I wanted to do with my life. The friends I made at DMU gave me the support and time I needed to work out who I was,” he said.
DMU loves to hear what alumni get up to after they graduate. If you’re a graduate, get in touch through DMU for Life.
Posted on Tuesday 3rd March 2020