ORGANISERS of the annual Darlington Comedy Festival are getting ready to bring laughs to locals, with the help of high-profile comedians.

Acts including Seymour Mace and So You Think You’re Funny winner Tommy Rowson will perform at the event, which kicks off on July 5.

A series of shows will run throughout the month in various venues across Darlington.

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On July 8, the festival will host its charity gala, a night created to raise money for local charities.

The money raised will be given to the Darlington Association for Disability, Butterwick Hospice, St Teresa’s Hospice and Daisy Chain.

Festival organiser Neil Jollie said: “People can expect a lot of laughs. We’ve worked hard to organise the festival and I am sure it’s going to be even more successful than last year.”

Last year, comedians such as Chris Ramsey and TV star Sarah Millican took part in the festival.

The festival has raised a total of £30,000 since its debut and last year it featured more than 40 comedians.

Organisers have hinted that a big name is set to be confirmed, but details of who it may be have not yet been announced.

While shows are individually priced, the festival will include five free-entry shows supported by Creative Darlington, a scheme developed to finance creative projects and encourage people to reconnect with the arts.

Other acts include multi-award winning Geordie comedian Carl Hutchinson, who is a regular at the Edinburgh festival, and has recently supported Chris Ramsey on his sell-out UK tour and Splash contestant Patrick Monahan, from Middlesbrough.

More comedians will be announced later this month.

Mr Jollie added: “We are trying to raise money for charity while bringing comedy and fun to people.

“The festival will not disappoint.”

The Northern Echo is media partner of the festival, which is sponsored by Planet Leisure, in Newton Aycliffe.

Patrick Monahan will entertain passengers on an East Coast ‘comedy train’ on June 11, to raise awareness of the festival.

A number of warm-up shows will also take place, starting on Saturday (June 7) at The Forum Music Centre, in Borough Road.

Tickets are priced at £10. To book, call 01325-363135. For more information about the comedy festival, visit