London's first Museum of Comedy
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 3rd Apr 2014
  • |
  • London Fringe

The Museum of Comedy is due to open its doors fully to the public from the end of April and will be curated by Leicester Square Theatre Director, Martin Witts. During a career spanning over three decades in the comedy industry Witts has amassed a collection of over six thousand artefacts and print from some the most iconic comedians and comedy shows both past and present. These include everything from Tommy Cooper’s hand made magic props toThe Two Ronnies’ glasses; fromCharlie Chaplin’s caneto Steptoe and Son’s stuffed bear and will be on permanent display in a purpose built space in the under crypt of St George’s Church Bloomsbury.

This is the first time that the UK will have such an expansive collection of Comedy ephemera housed under one roof.

Despite having permanent exhibitions covering particular aspects or personalities within the comedy world, this is the first time that the UK will have such an expansive collection of Comedy ephemera housed under one roof.

The Museum’s remit will be to illustratethe history of British comedy from Court Jester to thepopular Stand Up Comedians oftoday.As well as the permanent exhibition the Museum has also invested in an online resource which will be available for educational and research purposes. There are also plans for seasonal exhibitions throughout the year that will be curated by some of the leading lights of the comedy industry. 

This innovative space will also include The Cooper Room, a hundred seat performance space and cinema which will be programmed with a mixture of one off shows as well as specially curated seasons of films and performances.

The Museum’s Academy of Comedy - a centre of excellence for all things humorous - will feature master classes from some of the country’s leading Comedy practitioners including Jerry Sadowitz, Spymonkey and Logan Murray. It will become a hub where students from all walks of life will be able to study a wide selection of comedy styles from Magic to straight Stand Up and will also provide courses in comedy writing and backstage craft in sound and lighting.

And what better way to complete a visit to the Museum of Comedy than to relax in the comfort of The Comedians’ Arms bar before perusing the collection available to buy in the Museum’s very own specialist comedy book and gift shop

The curators of the Museum are also very keen to hear from anyone who may have artefacts or documents pertaining to the history of comedy or to any of the collections already held at the Museum of Comedy that they would be interested in donating or loaning. They should do so by contacting the Museum at [email protected]

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