Media release – Elephant Publicity, 14th October 2019
After a hotly contested showcase at The Classic on Saturday night, The New Zealand Comedy Trust are excited to announce five nominees for the 2020 Billy T Award.
Taking to the stage with their 2020 Festival show pitches, a judging panel of industry experts was impressed by the calibre of talent on offer, with creativity, ingenuity, and an incredibly high standard of performance presented by 19 brilliant applicants. Selected for their proven comedic ability, dedication to their craft, current form, and outstanding potential, five comedians are in the running to win the 2020 Billy T Award.
The NZ Comedy Trust are delighted to announce that our 2020 Billy T Award nominees are:
- Brynley Stent (Have You Been Paying Attention?, Funny Girls, Jono & Ben, NZICF 2016 Best Newcomer nominee)
- James Mustapic (Shorty Street Scandal, NZICF 2018 Best Newcomer winner, 2019 Billy T nominee)
- Josh Davies (2019 NZ Fringe Most Promising Emerging Artist nominee)
- Lana Walters (Have You Been Paying Attention?, Funny Girls, NZICF 2018 Best Newcomer nominee)
- Ray O’Leary (Have You Been Paying Attention?, 7 Days, NZICF 2017 Billy T nominee)
The Billy T Award celebrates the memory and achievements of Billy T James, a comedian who forged a hugely successful career and changed the face of comedy in Aotearoa. The award supports up-and-coming comedians with the outstanding potential to take their comedy career to the next level. All five nominees kick off their Festival with a performance at Billy T Jams on Friday 28 February, and help close the Festival season at the awards celebration Last Laughs on Sunday 24 May, as well as securing their own one-hour shows during the 2020 NZ International Comedy Festival (April 30 – May 24).
This year’s expert panel of five judges, who have a wide range of combined experience across the comedy, television and theatre industries, are Justine Smith (Comedian and Billy T Winner 2007), Kylie Sealy (Former Festival Director of the NZ International Comedy Festival, and current NZ Comedy Trust Chair), Steve King (NZ Comedy Trust Board member and original founding member of The Classic), Ahi Karunaharan (Theatre director, producer, writer and actor), and Tony Manson (Commissioner for TVNZ). Successful in their task to narrow down 19 applicants to five nominees, their next challenge is to judge this year’s crop of Billy T nominees all aspects of their performance, with the winner crowned during the awards presentation at Last Laughs.
Tickets to see the first offering from all the awesome 2020 nominees at Billy T Jams are on sale now from comedyfestival.co.nz. This excellent showcase of outstanding new talent will be held on Friday 28 February 2020 at Rangatira in Q Theatre, hosted by this year’s Billy T winner Kura Forrester.