There’s some exciting news for High Street as Leicester Comedy Festival announces today that they’re opening their very own venue.

Big Difference, the registered charity behind the annual Leicester Comedy Festival, have announced they are taking on the lease of The Cookie, and will be promoting live shows throughout the year.  The venue, which will be known as The Big Difference when it reopens, has been a huge part of the Leicester music scene over recent years but has also been a massive part of Leicester Comedy Festival, putting on incredible shows for the past few years.  In fact, over the years the space has hosted performances by comedians including Rhod Gilbert, Russell Howard, Romesh Ranganathan, Katherine Ryan, Tom Allen and many more.

the cookie leicester

Big Difference is starting to look forward to the festivals in 2021 and the 30th anniversary of the Leicester Comedy Festival in 2023.  Taking on the venue is planned to help financially sustain the festivals for the future, as well as providing an exciting platform for the charity to expand its work at the heart of the cultural life of Leicester. In addition to the February festivals, Big Difference also organises a programme of year-round community projects, and it is hoped the venue will be a base for some of this activity.

As well as hosting their own events the venue will continue to work with promoters and artists to host a whole range of entertainment throughout the year. The launch programme will be announced later in the year, but interested promoters, artists and producers are encouraged to get in touch to discuss dates and potential projects.

We know that alongside the excitement for the opening of The Big Difference will come questions of what this means for The Cookie and the acts they brought to the city. Nik Sharpe told us, “The Cookie was always ‘more than just a venue’ and The Cookie presents will continue to promote its usual 100+ shows a year at various venues across the city.” Over the years they’ve presented the likes of Royal Blood, George Ezra, Easy Life, Declan McKenna, Sea Girls, Mahalia, and many more. But this won’t be the end of that… it’s just a change. You can keep up to date with all gig announcements via The Cookie’s Facebook page.

leicester comedy festival

Geoff Rowe, Founding Director of Leicester Comedy Festival, said: “the last 30 years or so have been a real rollercoaster as we have sustained the festival, and produced some amazing community projects and events alongside it.  I’ve had the privilege of working with so many amazing people and taking on the venue is the next exciting step on our journey.  We will be presenting a fab programme of comedy in addition to music gigs, spoken word and other live entertainment.”

The Big Difference is based at 68 High Street, Leicester LE1 5YP.  Further details will be announced later in the year and are subject to the latest Government Covid restrictions as well as licensing and planning applications.  Anyone interested in booking the venue can contact [email protected].