Frog Box is the brainchild of Andy (electronic artist) from Slomanmusic Promotions. Recently, while being treated for cancer at St James’s hospital in Leeds, Andy came across the children’s wards – and met the head radiographer for paediatrics, Lucy. During the visit he came across a poster, which was trying to raise £28,000 to create a chill out room for children and their parents, who are waiting for or recovering from daily treatments of radiotherapy.
‘Having gone through radiotherapy as an adult I know how gruelling it can be, and I want to help with this project to create a space where children can relax, and have many of the things like toys TVs and games that children are familiar with, which can really help to distract them. A place where the surroundings are homely and familiar, rather than clinical and hospitalised,’ Andy explains. ‘It got me thinking that there are a whole range of issues that need support and I wanted to find ways that I could start fundraising for some of these.’
As someone who has done a lot of music promotion in the past, Andy initially considered putting on fundraising music event. ’Music promotion is great but to make events a success you need a lot of outlay which can eat into money raised for charities,’ Andy says. So instead he decided to focus on another passion – which is comedy, and started asking around among friends and colleagues in the comedy sector. This included friend and colleague, Sarah Buczynski, who is closely involved with comediennes, Manchester based Laughing Cows, and was at the time working at The Golden Lion.
‘We started getting really good feedback from people who thought having charity comedy night/club was a really good idea,’ Andy says. ‘And here in Todmorden we’d love a comedy club to compliment our ever growing music and arts scene, which happens at the Golden Lion and other venues in town.’
Big thanks to Gig, the landlady of Golden Lion (known for putting on free live music ), Andy was able to build a stage in the pub’s function room. (Frank from LSF also helped to glue some of the carpet). Tony Beddows – who is a graphic artist as well as member of Reggae sound system Chapter 4, created the identity and branding for the comedy club.
Andy explains that while he is very grateful to all the people who have volunteered their time for free, he is also very keen to pay performers. Initially expenses and to ensure that they have the best treatment possible, but would like to move to a point where artists can be paid what they deserve. ‘We don’t ever want to take it for granted that performers will take part in charity events for nothing – because they have to put a lot of time and effort into preparing their acts. Even if we can’t pay their normal rate, we hope to eventually be able to do this, but whilst establishing ourselves we are looking for artists new and old, that either want to have ago at some point maybe at one of our open mic nights, plus also happy for artists to try out new material or stop over gigs and to maybe negotiate fees, based on what we are trying to achieve charity wise.
The first Frog Box Comedy Club event takes place on Sunday 30th August, in the Upstairs Room at the Golden Lion. Headlining the bill will be Sophie Willlan from the Laughing Cows, who is going from strength to strength on the comedy circuits plus, The Two Eddies and Titus Freelove. There will also be a raffle to raise money for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre and MacMillan Cancer Support and all profits from the evening will go to these charities.
A £10 ticket will include a delicious Thai Buffet and dancing afterwards to Daz and Dave’s Discotheque downstairs, after the show. Advance tickets are available from the Golden Lion, Todmorden, Hotcakes shop, 4 Hilton St, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 6EZ, and Skiddle.co.uk.
Frog Box initially wanted to hold events quarterly but already there are a few extra events creeping into the diary. Look out for a ‘really dark’ Halloween special event with an optional fancy dress. Prize for best, scheduled for November 1st. If you fancy a break from the Jesus birthday bash. On December 27th A Burlesque, Cabaret, Comedy night and not a sprout in site.
‘In the future we will be fundraising for a range of charities,’ Andy says. ‘We are very keen to hear from performers or members of the audience/public who have a good cause in mind that they’d like Frog Bog to host an event for.’
Frog Box on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frogboxcomedyclub
Frog Box Comedy Night
30th August 7.30pm