Comedy course at University of Salford attended by Peter Kay and Jason Manford axed due to 'lack of interest'

Some incredible alumni, but it’s the end of the road.
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If you ever thought that comedy is something that is natural and couldn't be taught, then a course at the University of Salford might make you think differently. Over the years, comedy icons such as Bolton’s Peter Kay and Salford’s own Jason Manford completed the course module in the 1990s. 

Back in the day, Kay will become the first person to perform at Manchester’s brand new Co-op Live- an arena that will become the biggest in Europe when it opens its doors. He started his comedy career playing intimate venues around the North West, and the course at University of Salford is something which more than helped him along the way.

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In 2012, the module was turned into the Comedy Writing and Performance course, in a development of the original module. However, this course in full is set to be dropped from the university’s academic catalogue due to a decline in student numbers.

Peter Kay has been confirmed as the first act to play Manchester's new Co-op Live arena in April Peter Kay has been confirmed as the first act to play Manchester's new Co-op Live arena in April
Peter Kay has been confirmed as the first act to play Manchester's new Co-op Live arena in April

During a ceremony at the University of Salford where he received an honorary degree in 2016, Kay acknowledged how much the original module and the university meant to him. The 10 minutes of material Kay used to win the North West Comedian Of The Year award and kickstart his career were pieced together through attending the course. 

On receiving the degree, he said: “I wouldn’t have had that but for Salford. I don’t think I would have gone into stand-up, I think I’d have carried on doing full-time jobs. I waited until I was 23 and I thought I needed to do what’s in my heart – and it wasn't working for Netto.”  

The cutting of creative degrees is not restricted to Greater Manchester. Earlier this month, the UK government announced that funding for performative and creative arts degrees will be cut next year. Education Minister Gillian Keegan has announced grants for these courses at undergrad level will be frozen, whilst post-graduate grants will be cut. 

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Jason Manford has built a top career in comedy Jason Manford has built a top career in comedy
Jason Manford has built a top career in comedy

A spokesperson for the University of Salford said: "We can confirm that we will no longer be taking applications for new students on our BA Comedy Writing and Performance degree from September 2024. This decision was not made lightly and we are incredibly proud of the programme's success and its alumni who have showcased their immeasurable talent within the UK's creative sectors over the years. 

"However, its important to stress that we will be continuing to teach comedy at Salford as part of our long-standing commitment to inspire the next generation of comedians through our BA Theatre and Performance Practice and BA Media and Performance Programmes. Members of our comedy team will continue to deliver their teaching on these programmes or within any new programmes that may be developed where there is strong student demand.

"For Comedy, Writing and Performance, the number of students applying in recent years has meant the cohort levels have declined to a level that means it is not viable for these programmes to run. We are working to keep the academic expertise that we have in this area through other areas of activity within the University or as part of new programmes that will be developed where there is strong student demand. 

"The University of Salford is committed to creative practice in all its forms and will continue to offer students the opportunity to learn, develop and showcase skills that push boundaries and help provide them with the confidence to perform in whatever role they choose to take in life."

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