WE could all do with a laugh after the year we've just had so what better time to unveil the first ever North Essex Festival of Comedy.

More than 40 professional comedians are heading to our neck of the woods for a weekend of much-needed hilarity.

Braintree Comedy Club and Coggeshall Comedy Club have joined forces to stage the laughter fest.

The event is split over two venues – Bocking Arts Theatre in Braintree and Coggeshall's Stock Street Farm Barn.

The festival will also play host to the grand final of the first ever north Essex Golden Mic Comedian of the Year competition at Bocking Arts Theatre.

The competition is open to current and new stand-up comedians performing their own original material.

The winner will bag a cash prize and guaranteed professional gigs to the value of £1,000 as well as the coveted Golden Mic Comedian of the Year title.

The festival will also feature live music, DJs, street food and local ales and ciders.

Braintree Comedy Club's James Beatty said: “I’m very excited to be bringing so many fantastic comedians to north Essex this summer, across two wonderful venues.

"I’ve been running Braintree Comedy Club for 11 years and our summer festival is always a hit, so to expand to two venues and collaborate with Coggeshall Comedy Club is fantastic.

"Our Golden Mic Comedian of the Year Competition gives a chance to new up-and-coming acts, hopefully finding the next comedy superstar along the way."

Andy Tanfield, of Coggeshall Comedy Club, added: “This has been a dream of mine for a while and 2021 seemed like the perfect year to bring some happiness back into our lives.

"I think we have all earned ourselves a big laugh over the last year or so. I am so excited about bringing this event to Essex and hoping it will be around for many years to come.”

The festival takes place on July 16-18.

Tickets are on sale now at northessexcomedy.co.uk and prices start from £20.

To enter the Golden Mic competition email a video clip or link to northessexcomedy@gmail.com. A shortlist of 14 finalists will appear on stage to battle for laughs on July 18.