By NISHANT KULKARNI
Comedian Fran Middleton has welcomed a State Government grant to support emerging female comedians, saying she hoped it will lead to more women becoming successful comics.
Performing her Fran Solo show at this year's Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Ms Middleton said female participation in stand up comedy sorely needed a boost.
“If the audience sees only one woman doing comedy ever, then your view will be limited to what that one woman did,” Ms Middleton said.
“If the audience sees heaps of women in comedy, then (they will) see more variety in their content, styles and abilities,” she said.
The grant named Stand Up! will help cover the costs of preparing a show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Creative Industry Minister Martin Foley said the program was dedicated to comedian Eurydice Dixon.
The 22 year-old was raped and murdered in a Carlton North park as she walked home after performing at the Highlander Club in June last year.
“Eurydice Dixon was a young and talented emerging comedian,” Mr Foley said.
“Those that knew her remember her as brilliant, brave and unafraid to delve into challenging material,” he said.
“Stand Up! is an initiative that honours funny women who are serious about their comedy careers and using their voice, and talent, to create social change."
In 1997 female comics made up just five per cent of acts at the international festival. That number increased to 22 per cent last year.
Emily Tresidder, a stand up comic returning to the festival for the third time, said opportunities for women have increased.
“I think the more women who get into comedy and stay, mean there are more and more (women) willing to dive in,” Ms Tresidder said.
Comedians Annie Louey, Alex Ward, and duo Urvi Majumdar and Carla Wills are the inaugural recipients of the comedy scholarship.
The Melbourne International Comedy runs until April 21.