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Laughter After Lockdown: Fundraiser To Support NZ’s Comedy Industry Goes Live

The New Zealand Comedy Trust have launched a double-pronged fundraising initiative to help support Aotearoa’s comedy community, responding to the critical need for financial assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, the New Zealand Comedy Trust made the devastating decision to cancel the 2020 NZ International Comedy Festival in the interest of safety for everyone - just seven weeks out from the scheduled launch of the Festival. Cancelling the 2020 Comedy Fest has had a huge impact on the yearly earnings for all involved, and Aotearoa’s comedy community is now facing a period of immense financial uncertainty and hardship. Deeply concerned about welfare and wellbeing for artists and the broader comedy industry as a result of the decision, the Trust have sprung into action to get money to those who need it most.

The NZ Intl. Comedy Festival Artist Relief Fund, now live on Givealittle, is targeted directly at supporting local comics who were programmed to perform in the Comedy Fest this year to cover the costs they have already invested in their Festival shows. Collectively, 200+ artists due to perform have invested more than $100,000 into the creation of the 2020 Festival season, with marketing, design and printing, travel, ticketing charges, and production being just some of the costs comics have already paid in the lead-up to this year’s Festival. The donated funds will be spread as fairly as possible to help financially support as many people as possible.

In addition to organising the Artist Relief Fund, the New Zealand Comedy Trust are directly contributing to artist welfare by refunding all 2020 Festival registration fees and venue hire deposits to ease the financial burden of cancellation. The Trust have also stepped up their advocacy role in this climate, getting support and assistance to their artists, technicians, producers, venues, suppliers and Festival whānau. The aim of the Trust is to bring live art and comedy to Aotearoa for many years to come, but they first need to secure their immediate future.

The New Zealand Comedy Trust is a not-for-profit charitable organisation to champion the art of laughter. The annual Comedy Festival contributes substantially to running the Trust and the 2020 cancellation will result in a heavy financial loss, impacting the Trust’s sustainability for years. Under threat in this climate are all of the initiatives that the New Zealand Comedy Trust deliver, including future Comedy Festivals, artist development opportunities, mentoring for up-and-coming comedians, and advocacy for the comedy industry in Aotearoa, as well as their ability to retain highly skilled and experienced staff to continue all of these initiatives. The Trust are also welcoming donations to their organisation Givealittle page to help ensure their ability to continue bringing laughs to the people of New Zealand beyond this crisis.

“Those in the comedy industry are often the first called on to raise funds, restore joy, and bring people together in times of need - and now they desperately require help. Making a living in the arts in New Zealand is already challenging, with many Festival comedians living gig to gig and paycheck to paycheck. This doesn’t enable them to save much and keep financially afloat in unprecedented circumstances such as this. They have lost their live performance income for the foreseeable future.” Lauren Whitney, General Manager, New Zealand Comedy Trust

This unsettling time is impacting many New Zealanders in overwhelming ways, so the Trust is calling on those that are in a position to help out, to support the talented people of the comedy industry, and guarantee the laughs beyond the lockdown.

To donate to the NZ Intl. Comedy Festival Artist Relief Fund on Givealittle, click here.
The campaign will run until Friday 8 May, with an initial goal of $20,000.

To donate to the New Zealand Comedy Trust on Givealittle, click here.

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