New Comedy Arts Festival for Portaferry

What do you call a cluster of great nights out in Portaferry? Portico Comedy Arts Festival! 

Just a few weeks after winning an Arts and Business Award for being a “stand-out arts organisation”, the Portico of Ards has more good news: a brand new festival for Portaferry with every event designed to make people laugh. 

With funding from Ards and North Down Borough Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Portico Comedy Arts Festival takes place across two weekends, 17-25 September 2021, with all events happening in the stunning grade A-listed architecture of the Portico of Ards in Portaferry.

The festival launches with The Pirates of Penzance on Friday 17 Sept. Dive straight into the Comedy Arts Festival by the sea with this fabulous production of this Gilbert and Sullivan favourite. Opera Anywhere has been thrilling audiences everywhere with this energetic and hilarious show. 

Sat 18 Sept brings NI comedy sensation Paddy Raff accompanied by BT9’s most famous export, his alter-ego Nigel. This show is a mix of brand new material from the sold out SSE Arena show ‘Me, Myself & Nigel’ along with some songs & stories from last year’s nine-time-sellout ‘Paddy & Nigel Act Their Postcodes’ show. 

A family show from The Scott Brothers Duo on Sun 19 Sept provides the perfect introduction to classical music for all ages. The brothers perform a fun-filled concert of duos for piano and organ featuring thrilling music with captivating animations on the big screen. With gorgeous original animation and scores, this is a charming afternoon treat.

On Thurs 23 Sept, ‘Our Jimmy’ is back by popular demand. David Hull Promotions presents comedian William Caulfield’s latest show featuring the beloved Ulster characters first created by the late James Young. What have Derek, Lily O’Condriac, Emily Beattie, Willie Simpson, Billy Hulk, the wee Schoolboy, the shipyard worker and Orange Lil all been up to? Come and find out!

Neil Delamere, star of BBC’s The Blame Game, Fighting Talk and the Newsquiz, hits the road again with his riotous new stand-up show, Liminal, on Fri 24 Sept. Expect an evening perhaps best described as Schrodinger’s chat as our wisecracking comedic hero struggles to figure out this strange new world. 

The festival concludes on Sat 25 Sept withThe Iconettes and their band The Hitzvilles. Featuring hit songs from The Ronettes, The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and much more, this exciting musical homage pays tribute to the best ‘girl groups’ and ‘divas’ of the 60s and 70s. A fabulous night out guaranteed!

Wendy Smith, Tourism Manager for Ards and North Down Borough Council said, “Ards and North Down Borough Council are delighted to support such a vibrant and imaginative programme set in such wonderful surroundings. I would encourage everyone to get their tickets early!”

Portico’s manager Dr Verity Peet said, “If you don’t need a laugh after the last year then well done you. Everyone else, we’ve got you covered!”

To find out more about the festival or Portico please visit