Geoff Alnutt – The Speech Painter

Geoff Allnutt

Geoff Allnutt, aka The Speech Painter, has been a performance poet since 1988. He has performed all over the UK from poetry clubs to music and literature festivals and is the winner of numerous poetry slams (including Glastonbury Festival).

His verse play, Walt Disney, Man or Mouse?, premiered at Apples & Snakes in 1994. Between 1995 and 1998 he was a founder-member of poetry’s first pop group, Atomic Lip, together with Patience Agbabi, Steve Tasane, Pink Sly and Joelle Taylor. He staged his first one man show, Beating Time, in 2000 and, in 2003, he was co-host and co-programmer for Pure Poetry at Soho Theatre, a weekly poetry cabaret show placing page poets and performance poets together on the same stage.

His film poem, This Time Next Year, was commissioned for Channel 4 in 2004 and he is also a regular support act for chanson singer Philip Jeays. 2011 saw Geoff commissioned to write and perform at a celebration in recognition of the poets and writers Alice and Wilfred Meynells and the centenary of their house purchase in Greatham, Sussex.

In 2014, alongside Will Buchanan and Kylie Earl, he finally formed his first band Radio K W G and is their lyricist, backing vocalist and harmonica player. Radio K W G has released two EPs and is currently working on a third. His new book, The Twat in the Flat has just been published by Burning Eye Books and is the centre piece of a new set of material working towards a one man show, Bedtime with Geoffrey. An evening of poetic stories for errant adults.

Lucy English

Lucy English

Lucy English is a performance poet.  She has toured widely in the UK and North America. She has been featured at literature festivals including Cheltenham, Edinburgh Fringe, Hay Fringe, The Cuirt Galway, the Calgary and Banff Lit Fest and the Austin International Festival of Poetry, Texas. She was interviewed for Australia’s ABC poetry programme Poetica in 2008 and this was repeated by popular demand in 2010 and 2011.

She produced a poem live on air for a 2010 edition of Autumnwatch Unsprung. Her first collection of poetry Prayer to Imperfection was published by Burning Eye in 2014.


Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule has won several slam titles including Farrago Schools Out Slam Champotion 2010, Bang Said The Gun Award, Poetry Rivals 2011, Next Generation Slam 2012, Slambassadors 2010 and South West Hammer and Tongue Slam Champion 2012 and most recently The Roundhouse Slam 2014 and Hammer and Tongue National Slam 2014. She has worked with the Southbank Centre, The Bristol City Council and had her work featured on BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 1 and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, The Guardian, Blue Peter, Sky TV and TEDx in Vienna. She represented the UK in two European Slam Championships in Sweden and Belgium. Her debut poetry collection ‘Joyriding The Storm’ was published in April 2014.

She has performed at an array of renowned poetry events such as Blahblahblah at the Bristol Old Vic, Tongue Fu, Chill Pill in London, Hit the Ode in Birmingham and Shake the Dust in Plymouth and many festivals including Shambala, WOMAD, Wilderness, Secret Garden Party and Glastonbury.


Joelle Taylor

Joelle Taylor is an award winning spoken word artist, published poet, playwright and author. She has performed at hundreds of venues nationally and internationally with the British Council, and is the host of the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Day LIVE at the Royal Festival Hall.

Her plays Naming, (W)horror Stories, Lucid Johnston have been produced on the fringe theatre circuit, and her new piece The Space Between Words is scheduled for production in 2016. She is widely anthologised and has released two complete collections of poetry Ska Tissue (Mother Foucault) and The Woman Who was Not There (Burning Eye), which The Morning Star named as one of the 10 best poetry collections of 2015. Her short stories and flash fiction have been published in Brand, Intwasa, Wasafari among other journals.

She is the founder of the national youth slam championships SLAMbassadors UK, which she formed in 2001, successfully bringing the youth slam event to the UK and discovering and mentoring a generation of spoken word artists. The Southbank Centre in London named her in early 2015 as one of the Nelson Mandela 67 Change Makers who have altered the face of Britain.


Harry Baker

Harry BakerIn 2012 Harry Baker competed with National champions form 19 countries all around the globe to become the youngest ever World Poetry Slam champion. Since then he has been asked to Perform at TED events 4 times with one of his talks being shared on the main website and viewed over a million times. He has taken three solo shows based on his work up to the Edinburgh Fringe festival which all received 5-star reviews, the latest being ‘The Sunshine Kid’ which was based on his debut anthology released with Burning Eye in December 2014.

Harry’s way with words has taken him all over the world, with 2016 starting off in Australia and at the Emirates Literature festival in Dubai, as well as leading workshops all the way from Canada to China. His latest adventures have also led to him testing his writing and lyricism in the UK’s largest rap battle league, but he  still feels most at home on a stage sharing his poems, and having graduated last year to commit to this full time this seems to be happening a lot more frequently.

Bigger and better than ever, the Poetry Slam Competition pits local senior schools in a head to head battle to win the Haslemere Fringe Festival Poetry Cup.  Woolmer Hill, Bohunt and Rodborough all have competed against each other in the past and this year we hope to add some local independent schools too.

This is a unique opportunity to showcase not just creative writing, but also talented public speakers. The poetry, which is written and presented by each competitor is often of an outstanding quality and can evoke the audience by being extremely moving, controversial, topical and not least, very funny.

Andy Stedman

Comedy has been a central part of our diverse Festival since the first edition in 2012.   Andy SteadmanWe’re delighted to announce that Andy Stedman will be compering our 2016 event.  An incredibly popular local comedian, singer/ songwriter, and much besides, Andy has a natural warmth that instantly connects with his audiences.

I don’t want to over-use the adjective ‘great’, but Andy was a great compere. He connected with the audience and wrote two songs for a couple who had been dating a week… Very very funny comic.” – Martin Mullaney, Comedy CV

Matt Forde

downloadMatt is one of the country’s most in-demand satirists and is headlining the 2016 Haslemere Fringe Comedy Night. He has appeared on Have I Got News For You (BBC 1),  Rory Bremner’s Coalition Report (BBC 2),  Mock the Week (BBC 2 ), 8 out of 10 Cats (Channel 4), Question Time (BBC 1), This Week (BBC 1) and Russell Howard’s Good News (BBC 3). He also starred alongside Jon Richardson in Channel 4’s Jon Richardson Grows Up.

2015 saw Matt take his sell-out, critically-acclaimed 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show 24-Hour Political Party People for a week-long run at the Soho Theatre as well as taking it on a sell-out nationwide tour.

Matt’s monthly residency in London, The Political Party, sells-out Westminster’s St James’ Theatre. Alongside Matt’s trademark topical current affairs stand-up, the show brings Parliament to life as he interviews some of politics’ most notorious figures, past guests have included Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, Nigel Farage, Michael Portillo, Dame Tessa Jowell, John Prescott, Alan Johnson, David Davis, Stella Creasy, Jack Straw and George Galloway.

Colin Cole


Colin is literally one of the biggest comedy names in Australia – not only is he 6’ 7”, he is also known for his hugely dynamic performance. His delivery is fast and furious, and his material ranges from the topical to the observational. Colin’s TV credits read like a “Guide to Australian television” including hit shows such as ‘Hey Hey’, ‘The Max Gillies Show’ and ‘Bingles’. He has toured extensively in the US, Canada and Hawaii, and now he is taking the UK by storm.

“One of the most exciting performers to come out of Australia since Skippy!” New York Times.

“Takes the audience on a roller coaster of discovery and hilarity.” Bay Examiner San Francisco.

Tom Deacon

Tom is one ofimages the hottest young comedians and presenters on the circuit.

He has been performing live stand up for the past six years – with three Edinburgh solo shows under his belt – and has been the host of his own TV, radio and on-line shows on BBC2, Radio 1 and YouTube football channel Copa 90 – where his Eurofan escapades have notched up over 1 million views.

Tom has made guest appearances on BBC2s the Rob Brydon Show, Dave’s One Night Stand and ITV 2’s Fake Reaction. Currently he is the breakfast presenter on Capital Radio EM.

Mark Simmons

Mark will be our opening act of the Haslemere Fringe Comedy Stage.
Mark SimmonsDelivering an inventive stream of one-liners, Mark Simmons is quickly establishing himself as an upcoming comic to watch. With a strong, material-driven set laden with quirky quips and slow-burners, his understated style is intelligent and full of laugh out loud gags. Mark has performed at prestigious clubs such as Glee, Highlight, and The Stand and headlines around the UK each weekend. He is also a festival favourite having performed at The Green Man, Reading, Leeds, Chelmsford and Stratford Festivals.

His most recent Edinburgh Fringe show, “Laugh Yourself Thin” included Time Out’s Alternative Best Joke Awards 2015 for (take a deep breath) “THE BEST JOKE THAT’S TOO LONG FOR THE BEST JOKE’S LIST” which you can find online if you use your detective skills.

Dimitri Bakanov

Dimitri BakanovDimitri is an upcoming comic talent who did a great job at Hasleway in 2015 so we have asked him back to the town to entertain us again. He manages to get away with material others may not be able to because of his likeable and mischievous sense of humour. Don’t miss him, he is a rising star and you can say you saw him first here.

Competition Credits:

  • Laughing Horse New Act Of the Year 2015 – Finalist
  • CAN Comedy New Act of the Year 2015 – Runner Up
  • Amused Moose Laugh Off 2015 – Semifinalist So You Think You’re Funny 2015 Semifinalist Leicester Square New Comedian 2014 – Finalist

Matthew Giffen

Matthew GiffenBuckle up, because when Matthew comes on stage you are in for one hell of a ride! Fans of BBC 3’s “The Fear” will be familiar with Matthew, who presented the show with critical aplomb and in his own debonair style.

Fast-paced, frenetic and sometimes furious, he explores his roots as an Irish, Colombian brought up in Windsor and the implications this has on his unique outlook on the world. A subtle blend of intelligence and crass self-deprecation.

“His controlled explosion of energy drew the focus to his lines rather than dissipating it all over the stage, to the extent that he made me forget to write because it was all so enjoyable.” – Chortle


Yuriko Kotaniyuriko-kotani-2014-november

Yuriko Kotani is the Japanese comedian who was named as “One to Watch” by Time Out in 2015. She went on to become first runner up in So You Think Your’e Funny and won BBC Radio New Comedy
Award 2015.

Yuriko’s blend of tightly scripted off-beat punchlines and disarming persona has been delighting audiences in comedy clubs across the UK.