Funny Things – Call for artist commissions


Artists sought for unique Black Country Comedy Commission – Funny Things

We are seeking to commission artists (open to all art forms) to collaborate with us and the communities we are working with, to deliver Funny Things, the first comedy festival in Wolverhampton.

Funny Things is one of our landmark commissions. We want to prove to the world that Wolverhampton really isn’t the most miserable place to be; when reports from the Office of National Statistics found that Wolverhampton was the unhappiest place in the UK, locals didn’t agree, and now we’re going to prove it isn’t true, with Funny Things.

The main drive for the festival is to create opportunities for the local community to participate, and have a laugh. We want to design an engaging and exciting programme that will reach a diverse audience from all backgrounds, ages and interests.

Funny Things is in partnership with Wolverhampton City Council, Wolves Civic, Accord Housing Group, Big Difference Company and Express and Star, with Guest Director Janice Connolly.

The Idea
Many of the UK’s best known comedians and comic actors hail from the region; Frank Skinner, Meera Syal, Lenny Henry and Julie Walters. The Black Country has a reputation for its unique sense of humour, celebrities aside, local people aren’t short of a few jokes.

There are a number of successful comedy nights, comedy promoters, and programmers in the area with loyal and dedicated audiences. The appetite for comedy is very much there, however a unified ‘comedy festival’ has never taken place.

Creative Black Country aims to develop an exciting programme of activity that galvanises this, and provides a platform for existing activity to be showcased alongside new/non traditional comedy using visual art, theatre, dance, digital and music in a coordinated season.

This season provides an opportunity to bring together audiences that CBC and other promoters have built, family audiences, groundwork community groups, volunteers, pub punters and landlords, creative hubs, existing audiences, new audiences, and encourage new visitors to the area.

The programme
With humour at the centre, the season of Funny Things will act as an umbrella brand and offer venues, community groups, individuals, artists and producers the opportunity to contribute to the programme through:
Open Access – small awards/community commissions open for application (up to £4,000 each).
Professional commissions (info below) open call through this brief (up to £10,000 each)
– Coordinated marketing campaign – hosted by CBC
– CBC programmed events, projects and activities with a focus on community participation

The activity will be based in Wolverhampton, working with venues and unconventional spaces to present pop up events, in pubs, chip shops, local cafes, bus stops, market stalls and more. The ambition is to create a festival atmosphere in the city centre.

Artist Commission Opportunity

We would like to commission professional artists from any art form to create a series of events, installations or participatory activity that engages and involves local people and proves that Wolverhampton is a city filled with humour.

We are not looking for stand-up comedy, we are looking for unconventional funny things that create and explore humour through art, performance and creativity.

You must have established or strong links to the region and experience in developing works with community driven stories.

The commission will be based in the Black Country and you will be required to research and develop the ideas in the area with the local community.

The commissions will form part of the wider festival and the work will feature as part of the Funny Things programme.

We would like the artists to work over a period of four to five months between June and November 2017, to research, develop and deliver. The main focus of the delivery or sharing of the work will be during the festival, 27th October – 5th November 2017.

We are open to receiving proposals from individuals, joint applications, collectives of artists or organisations.

We are offering several levels of commission.
Up to £3000 | Up to 5,000 | Up to 10,000
These fees will be negotiable depending on experience and the proposal.

To apply, please send a short proposal outlining:
-Your artistic practice
-Why you think you are right for this project
-How you might approach this commission and potential outcomes
-Examples of your work

How to Apply:
The deadline for proposals is Thursday 20th April 2017
If you have any enquiries please call Jenny Smith on 07967 187822 during working hours or email

Send Applications to: Project Administrator, Creative Black Country
Post: 1st Floor Landchard House, Victoria Street, West Bromwich, B70 8EX

Next Steps:
• We will confirm receipt of all applications by email within 2 working days
• We will respond to shortlisted proposals by 28th April 2017

If short-listed you will then be invited to give a presentation and short interview on 17th May.

Estimated Project Start: June 2017


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