Only a limited number of tickets remain for this year’s star-studded Happy Christmas Ipswich spectacular.
World-renowned keyboard player Rick Wakeman, Drag Race UK winner Danny Beard, comedian Rosie Holt and the Suffolk Sinfonia orchestra have been added to the bill, along with writer, performer, journalist and comedian Tessa Coates and highly-rated stand-up Sooz Kempner.
They will be joining others previously advertised for the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) fundraiser – comedians Griff Rhys Jones, Dara Ó Briain and Kiri Pritchard-McLean, legendary actress Dame Joanna Lumley, Gavin and Stacey favourite Rob Brydon, Hollywood actor Omid Djalili and West End star Miriam-Teak Lee.
More than 1,250 tickets have already been snapped up for the award-winning comedy and music extravaganza, spearheaded by EACH Patron Griff and taking place at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre on Monday, 4th December. Only 250 remain.
Incredibly, the total raised has already eclipsed last year’s eye-watering total of £106,000 and, even with more tickets to sell, the current total sits at around £110,000.
Griff said: “Every year seems to bring extra memories. It’s been a roll of honour but, if you missed previous shows, don’t fret because I honestly believe this year is going to be bigger and better.
“In terms of our stars, we had a staggeringly quick response.
“We send out our Christmas wish-list early and then wait for the elves to start responding round about November. However, this year people were amazing and started coming back to us in the Spring. All my shopping was done by September.
“It means we have a hamper of goodies and they come on board because this is such a great cause. Thanks go to them and big thanks also to those who buy tickets and come to the show every year. If you haven’t already bought your ticket, my advice would be to get in quick.”
Happy Christmas Ipswich 4 is being supported by joint-headline sponsors The New Homes Group and Johnston Quarter Ltd. To find out more and book tickets, head to each.org.uk/HCI4
“We’re here to make a bit of noise for the work EACH does,” added Griff.
“Our pretty big amount is still a very minor part of the huge sum collected by the whole of East Anglia every year. Fun runs, events, shops, fetes, carol services and sitting in baths of baked beans really make up the millions that’s needed.
“Everybody everywhere contributes the money necessary to keep a vital and moving local service on the road.”
The first Happy Christmas Ipswich event was in 2019 and featured the likes of Al Murray and Lee Mack. It raised £72,000. After a hiatus because due to Covid, the show returned in 2021 and starred Eddie Izzard, Johnny Vegas, Stephen Fry, Clive Anderson and Ruthie Henshall.
It scooped a coveted prize in the Event/Campaign of the Year category at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising East Anglia Awards, in June. Tickets sold out within 48 hours of the line-up being confirmed, meaning an audience of around 1,500, and it raised a staggering £92,000.
Last year’s show proved another colossal success. Another sell-out, the impressive cast list included national treasure Bill Bailey, impressionist Jon Culshaw and comedians Rory McGrath, Milton Jones, Andy Hamilton, Richard Herring, Adam Buxton and Tiff Stevenson.
CONFIRMED ACTS FOR 2023
Dara Ó Briain
Irishman Ó Briain has performed across the globe and is best-known for hosting TV shows Mock the Week, Blockbusters, Robot Wars, Stargazing Live, Dara and Ed’s Great Big Adventure and Dara O Briain’s Go 8Bit, while he also won the most recent series of Channel 4’s Taskmaster.
In addition to being a children’s author, he has also released five best-selling DVDs with Universal Pictures.
Dame Joanna Lumley
Dame Joanna is an actor, presenter, author and campaigner, who has had a long and distinguished career on screen and in the theatre. She is known globally for her portrayal of Patsy Stone in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, for which she has won two BAFTAS. She gives an incredible energy and dedication to her work, actively supporting many charities, and was awarded an OBE in the 1995 New Year’s Honours.
Her other television work includes Finding Alice, A Rather English Marriage (for which she was BAFTA nominated as Best Actress in a Drama) and The Cazalet Chronicles – co-produced by Joanna for the BBC in 2000. She has also filmed numerous documentaries across the world, including the Caribbean, India, Japan, and across the Arctic Circle.
Her notable film appearances also include On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Pink Panther and The Wolf of Wall Street, as well as comedy feature film Falling for Fargo and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
The Welsh actor, comedian, impressionist, presenter, singer and writer starred in comedy series Supernova, as Bryn West in BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey and as Keith Barret in comedy series Marion and Geoff, as well as spin-off The Keith Barret Show. He has appeared in a number of shows with Steve Coogan, including The Trip, The Trip to Italy, The Trip to Spain and The Trip to Greece.
Since 2009, Brydon has presented Would I Lie to You?, as well as hosting his own late-night chat show The Rob Brydon Show. He has appeared in films including Cruise of the Gods, The Gruffalo, 24 Hour Party People, The Huntsman, Winter’s War, Holmes and Watson and Barbie.
Djalili, who lives in Ipswich, is a multi-award winning stand-up comic, actor and writer, who has been performing to huge acclaim since the 1990s.
He has since become a popular face on TV and cinema screens, including starring in The Mummy and Pirates of the Caribbean III. He has also had his own BBC show and hosted Have I Got News for You, as well as playing Fagin in the West End production of Oliver.
Welsh comedian and writer Pritchard-McLean has performed for several consecutive years at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, while her numerous TV and radio credits include appearances on Have I Got News for You, Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Would I Lie to You?
Lee’s West End theatre credits include playing Juliet, in & Juliet, Hamilton and On the Town, at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. The latter marked her professional debut and she received Best Actress in a Musical at the 2017 Stage Debut Awards.
For creating the role of Juliet, she won the Olivier Award, WhatsOnStage Award and Black British Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
Rick is a keyboardist and composer best known as a former member of progressive rock band Yes across five tenures between 1971 and 2004 and for his solo albums released in the 1970s.
Actress and comedian Rosie came to prominence during lockdown for her spoof online videos, adopting the personas of Tory figures being interviewed from home. Previously, she was a finalist in Leicester Square New Comedian 2017, Bath New Act 2017 and Amused Moose New Comic 2018 and won the So You Think You Write Funny award in 2013 for her sitcom script, Fall Girl.
Suffolk Sinfonia, a symphony orchestra based in Bury St Edmunds, was founded in the autumn of 1998. It prides ourselves on being a local orchestra, consisting of local musicians, performing concerts for local audiences.
Liverpool-born Danny is a British drag performer and singer who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and Karaoke Club: Drag Edition before winning the fourth series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, in 2022. They became the first bearded winner of any Drag Race franchise and went on to appear in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks in March 2023.
Tessa, a writer, performer, podcaster and enthusiastic teller of anecdotes is one third of sketch group Massive Dad and half of the critically-acclaimed Nobody Panic. She also produces three other podcasts – Will You Read to Me, Badass Women from History and 1908! Live from the 1908 London Olympic Games.
Sooz is a stand-up comedian, actress and singer who was named Best Newcomer at the Musical Comedy Awards in 2010 and made her Edinburgh Festival debut in 2014. More solo shows have followed in the ensuing years and in March 2023 the BBC announced that Sooz would feature as the title character in Doctor Who multiplatform story Doom’s Day, as part of the show’s 60th anniversary.