We're kicking off our Comedy Fest calendar with one hell of a comedy showcase to introduce you to our exceptional 2019 Billy T Award nominees.
It’ll be a night where you get a hilarious taster of the hottest up-and-coming comedians on the Kiwi scene;
- Donna Brookbanks
- James Mustapic
- Kura Forrester
- Ray Shipley
- Tom Sainsbury
Hosted by Melanie Bracewell (The Project), who took out last year's Billy T Award with special guest Chris Parker, winner of the 2018 Fred Award for best NZ show!
Proceeds from the tickets you purchase raise funds that will go directly to the 2019 Billy T winner. Supporting this event alongside us, you’ll be directly supporting New Zealand comedy (as well as having a good time).
The Billy T award is presented this year by our wonderful new sponsor, Electric Kiwi. Q Theatre is also proud to support Billy T Jams, as it provides a wonderful opportunity for Aotearoa’s next generation of comedians to perform in Q’s jewel, Rangatira.
The Billy T Award is named in honour of our 'cuz', Billy T James. The award is an initiative of the New Zealand Comedy Trust that aims to recognise and support up-and-coming NZ comedians with outstanding potential and commitment to their comedy career.
You can catch all of the Billy T Nominees' solo shows at the NZ International Comedy Festival, 2 - 26 May.
A Bit About the Nominees...
Donna Brookbanks is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor. She was a Billy T Nominee 2018 and sold out her 2nd solo show ‘You Do You Babes’ in Wellington and Auckland. She was nominated for Best Newcomer in 2017 for her first show ‘Cat Lady in Waiting’. Donna has recently appeared on 7 Days, Funny Girls and Jono and Ben. She has just returned from performing at The Comedy Store and Fringe Festival in Sydney.
James Mustapic (known for his web series’ Shorty Street Scandal and Repressed Memories) has a satirical, dry style and makes cutting observations which come in surprising contrast to his soft spoken presence. Known for sharing unapologetic stories of people who have done him wrong over the years, he enjoys candidly expressing his emotions in a self-deprecating manner. James doesn’t pull any punches and treads the line between polite and risky.
Kura Forrester was born and raised in Wellington and is of Ngati Porou decent. Kura has worked throughout the country as an actor, writer, comedian and maker of funny things since 2008. In 2014 Kura studied with master clown and professor of theatre, Philippe Gaulier. Kura debuted her solo show Tiki Tour in the 2015 New Zealand International Comedy Festival and gained a nomination for Best Newcomer that year. Kura loves to play characters and has enjoyed starring on Jono and Ben recently as one of her favs Bronson Atarangi. Kura also belongs to improvised comedy group Snort.
Ray Shipley is a comedian and poet, but mainly works at a very sunny library, teaching people how to delete their enemies from Facebook and use the printer/photocopier. Since starting stand-up two years ago, Ray has been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ at the 2017 National Raw Comedy Quest Final, and this year was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ for their show He & She at the 2018 NZ International Comedy Festival. Ray is also the current Christchurch Poetry Slam Champion.
Thomas has acted in New Zealand feature films Pork Pie and Waru and the television shows Wellington Paranormal, Shortland Street, Filthy Rich, Bad Seed, Hamish and Andy: True Story and Jono and Ben. In 2017 he rose to prominence doing short form video content, satirising New Zealand politicians using the Snapchat App. In 2018 he began doing similar political content for Australia’s Comedy Central. In 2018 he also performed in the theatre productions of Wigging Out, Gays in Space and Giggly Gerties. In 2016 and 2018, Thomas wrote and directed the winning short films in the 48hour film competition.