New Variety Lives
Back in the early 1980s, Left Wing Theatre Troupe, CAST (Cartoon Archetypical Slogan Theatre), held their first New Variety auditions at the Old White Horse in Brixton.
With help from Greater London Council they went on to set up a pan-London circuit of eight, one-night venues, were they introduced artists such as: Julian Clary, Paul Merton, Benjamin Zephaniah, French and Saunders, Curtis Walker, Attila the Stock Broker, Felix Dexter, Capt. JJ Waller, Otiz Cannelloni and many more. Then emerging, many became household names in the exploding galaxy of live modern Comedy.
In 1986, CAST New Variety took on the almost forgotten Hackney Empire Theatre and there, through their policy of encouraging emerging talent, developed the annual NATYS (New Acts of The Year Showcase)
Over the next 25 years, the annual NATYS became a foundation of the Hackney Empire, launching 100s of New Variety Comedy acts onto thriving live comedy circuit.
The NATYS continues to provide an independent industry showcase platform for live acts, as part of the fast moving, diverse and dynamic popular entertainment network