Sky LogoNow in its nineteenth year, one of the world’s best-loved comedy festivals has agreed a title sponsorship with broadcaster and TV and home communications provider, Sky.

The picturesque medieval city of Kilkenny, Ireland will play host to The Sky Cat Laughs Comedy Festival from Thursday, 30th May to Monday, 3rd June and Sky tell us festival organisers are thrilled to announce an exciting new creative partnership with them, which will include the broadcaster introducing a unique programme strand to the festival.

The Sky Cat Laughs Comedy Festival will proudly host a world-premiere screening of the first two episodes of series two of Sky 1 HD’s critically-acclaimed and IFTA award winning comedy series Moone Boy, in the company of its co-writer and star, Chris O’Dowd, co-writer and Kilkenny native, Nick Vincent Murphy and fellow cast members. The Sky programme will also include other special screenings with further details to be announced in due course.

Jane Russell, CEO for The Sky Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, says, “This year’s Cat Laughs programme is the most exciting in years. We believe our collaboration with Sky represents a new and more powerful approach to sponsorship. With Sky bringing to bear their expertise and success in TV comedy together with the Cat Laughs’ stand-up heritage, festival-goers now have the chance to see the very best of both worlds. With top Irish acts performing alongside heavyweights of the international comedy circuit, the 2013 line-up has something for young and old alike. It’s shaping up to be an incredible 2013 festival.”

On the stand-up front, this year’s festival programme, created by new Artistic Director, Naoise Nunn, features comedians from the US, UK, Canada and Australia as well as the best in home-grown comedy talent. I

Nick Vincent Murphy adds “I’m delighted that the second series of Moone Boy will premiere in my home town. To write this show, Chris and I are constantly mining our childhoods for good stories and fun characters, and growing up in Kilkenny gave me plenty of both! So it seems fitting that Kilkenny comedy-lovers will get the first chance to enjoy it.”

The festival is also delighted to welcome home, among other Irish comedy stars, the critically-acclaimed comedy mastermind, Dylan Moran. The star of Black Books will take to the stage for a very special show featuring his grouchy, hilarious and unfailingly accurate insights into the human condition. Joining Dylan is a who’s who list of the best of Irish comic talent, including Andrew Maxwell, Neil Delamere, Barry Murphy, David O’Doherty, Colin Murphy, Colm O’Regan and 2012 So You Think You’re Funny winner, Aisling Bea to name only a few, may more will also be taking the stage.

Speaking about Sky’s sponsorship with the acclaimed comedy festival Michael Markey, Head of Brand Marketing, Sky Ireland said: “The Cat Laughs has an unrivalled reputation when it comes to attracting the world’s best comedic talent, and we know Sky customers are big comedy fans, so we’re delighted to partner with the festival and to bring some of our great shows to an audience of comedy lovers.”

New programme elements in 2013 include the return of Kilkenny Exposed in which comedians hold a sometimes unflattering, but always hilarious mirror up to the people and city of Kilkenny and the International All Star Improv, featuring the stars of Whose Line is it Anyway and the Dublin Comedy Improv.An upcoming talent showcase – Wildcats – will also run in the medieval tavern, The Hole in the Wall.

For the first time ever there will be a programme of family-friendly and kids’ events at the festival including two shows daily in the magical Rothe House, featuring RTÉ televison’s Reuben and Australian comic Bec Hill plus special guests. The Masters is a new series at the festival which celebrates the work of veterans of the comedy circuit, introducing or reintroducing them to appreciative audiences. This year the festival features comedy legend Jimmy Cricket with support from Dublin’s master jokesmith, Sil Fox.

Sky’s Head of Comedy, Lucy Lumsden concludes, “I’m thrilled that we’re working together to create the Sky Cat Laughs Comedy Festival. I have very fond memories of the festival in Kilkenny and it’s wonderful to be welcomed in to be part of it. This festival has always been a real jewel in the comedy calendar… Together with Cat Laughs and the fantastic line up of top comedy talent on this year’s bill, this promises to be a vintage year.”

[Reported by Neil Lang]

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