Spot emerging comedy talent tonight in free show

An Eastenders’ actor appears in tonight’s auditions for a long-running comedy competition which has seen the likes of comedians Russell Brand and Eddie Izzard grace the list of contenders.

Dan March – who appeared in the soap in 2001 as estate agent Mr Hammond - is part of the Stoke Newington based comedy sketch trio, The Real MacGuffins, along with Jim Millard and Matt Sheahan.

They are taking part in the seventh round of auditions for this year’s New Act of the Year competition, which has acted as an industry launch pad for Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, and comedians Harry Hill and Stewart Lee.

Other acts from Hackney appearing tonight include Stoke Newington stand-up Patrick Cahill, who claims to provide “manic illogical solutions to business, cooking and life,” and Upper Clapton comedian Jim Campbell, presenting his observations, stories, gags and rap songs.

The show used to be known as the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, but the 29th final will instead be held at the Barbican instead of the Mare Street theatre because of its closure and uncertain future.

Over 150 comedians have entered this year’s competition and entrants must have performed for two years, and have a recommendation from an established promoter.

Twelve acts will go through to the final at the Barbican on Saturday March 19 hosted by Arthur Smith.

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The auditions take place tonight at 7pm at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green Road, entrance is free.

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