The Funny Women competition is to start charge aspiring comedians to take part.
Would-be comics are being asked to stump up £15 if they want to appear in one of the heats across the country this year, making it the first established competition to charge a 'pay-to-play'fee.
Organisers say it is to ‘cover essential administration and promotional costs and the provision of a fantastic career-boosting prize’.
There is no cash prize advertised for the Funny Women winner. Instead they are promised a management and development deal, a website, an edited DVD copy of their performance and a tour dates.
Last year, when it was won by Thankless Child, the awards attracted 350 entrants – meaning a potential income of more than £5,000 if the same number apply in 2011.
Organisers also make money on the door of the events. Tickets to see the amateur performers take part in a London heat cost £12.50 – more than professional weekend line-ups at big clubs such as the Stand or Up The Creek.
In contrast, neither So You Think You’re Funny, the BBC New Comedy Awards, the Chortle Student Comedy Award, nor any major awards run by clubs, charge entrants to take part.
The Funny Women entry page is here