Arts Diary: Will Marriott

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If you are heading to the coast this weekend, watch out for a new addition to Scarborough’s seafront.

While the likes of John Bishop, Tim Minchin and Jason Manford are preparing to entertain thousands at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena, a new comedy festival in Leeds is hoping to give up and coming comedians a chance at the big time. The first Laughter Lines Comedy Festival will take place next month and will feature the likes of Paul Foot and Alun Cochrane alongside new faces. “Our goal is to bring top quality comedy acts to a new audience at an affordable price,” says Patrick Turner, who has organised the festival with Chris Quaile. “We’re really excited to have a lot of great acts for this first festival and hope that it will pave the way for many more.” The festival will run from March 10 to 13 and for more details visit www.leedstickets.com

Someone who knows all about comedy is Maureen Lipman. The Hull-born actress has been in the business for 43 years and she recently admitted that after all that time she only has one regret – making her mother the butt of too many jokes. “She was hilarious, as all mothers are,” Lipman said recently. “Mine was the mistress of the rhetorical question, and would always say, at an opportune moment, something like: ‘Ooh, doesn’t it soon get to 10 to 10’, or ‘Doesn’t a black skirt cover a multitude of sins.’ Looking back there have been times when I wish I hadn’t talked about my mother so much in public. Partly I wish I’d been generally kinder to her, but also I see other people doing it now, and I just think, ‘What a pillock’.” As always, Lipman has a way with words.

The longlist for the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award has just been announced and this year it seems good things do come in small packages. The Abbey Museum in Leeds and Hull’s Hands on History are among the 20 attractions vying for the award and both are proof of what can be done on limited budgets. The longlist will be whittled down by a panel of experts before the finalists are road tested by families. We wish both venues luck.

If Arctic Monkeys ever needed proof of the support they have in their home city, they got it last week. Last Friday, tickets for the band’s upcoming gigs at Sheffield’s Don Valley Bowl in June went on sale. Within one hour all 20,000 had been snapped up. “It proves what we already knew – that Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys remain one of the top touring bands in the world,” said a spokesman for the venue. “Everything sold out in an hour. There’s nothing left. The band may be doing festivals this summer but anyone who wanted to see them made sure of a ticket for one of these shows. We had sales nationwide and beyond.”

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