Charlie Hartill Special Reserve

A designated fund specifically for new theatre & comedy

How it works...

The Charlie Hartill Special Reserve is a designated fund to support emerging theatre makers and comedians in bringing their work to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Now in its 15th year, the reserve enables artists to hone their talents and focus on their creativity, by offering vital support in the form of cash investment and mentorship. The fund was established in 2004 in memory of Charlie Hartill and consists of two strands - the Theatre Reserve and Comedy Reserve.


Theatre Reserve

Each year the Reserve provides a young theatre company with the rare and extraordinary opportunity to present a fully produced performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We offer up to £10,000 financing from Pleasance towards the cost of presenting your show, which includes:

  • A guaranteed prime slot in our Edinburgh programme at Pleasance and programming option in our London transfer run.
  • Accommodation and Travel
  • Edinburgh Fringe Registration and brochure fees
  • PR and marketing support
  • Mentorship
  • Rehearsal, development, sharing and work space
  • Support to develop and deliver accessible performances (including the provision of captioned performances).

 To be eligible for the Theatre Reserve:

  1. 40% of the entire production and creative team must be no more than 5 years from full time education on the final performance date.
  2. The play must have a performing company of 4 or more cast members.
  3. Directors and producers must not have created more than two professional productions, including Fringe.

The 2019 recipients of the Theatre Reserve are Poor Michelle with Bible John along with Wonderbox's Womb of One's Own as a Charlie Supported show.

Click here to check out our 2019 shortlist. 

Applications for the the 2020 Theatre Reserve will open later in the year.


Comedy Reserve

Over the past decade, the Comedy Reserve has supported a great number of comics by providing a unique platform at the Fringe, acting as a launch pad for some of the best acts on the circuit today. After a series of tryouts at Pleasance, four of the best up and coming comics are chosen to perform in a nightly show at Pleasance, Edinburgh Fringe, without any financial risk. We offer:

  • A prime programming slot at Pleasance Edinburgh without financial risk
  • Accomodation
  • Paid subsistence
  • PR and Marketing Support
  • In kind support including (but not limited to); mentoring from the Pleasance Comedy team; rehearsal space, sharing & Work Space at our London theatre; additional marketing presence as part of our Pleasance Comedy marketing and advertising campaigns

To be eligable for our Comedy Reserve you must:

  1. Be an ‘up and coming’ comic
  2. Attend a series of tryouts at Pleasance Islington
  3. Be able to attend Edinburgh Fringe for the duration of the festival

The recipients of the 2019 Comedy Reserve are Josh Jones, Lily Phillips, Mamoun Elagab and Mo Amar.

Applications for the 2020 Comedy Reserve will open next year.


About Charlie Hartill

The Fund was established in 2004 in memory of Charlie Hartill, who died in January of that year.

Charlie was a wit, writer, performer, ex-President of The Cambridge Footlights, 8 years a director of the Festival Fringe and the Pleasance's man of the computer. He is very much missed not just for his practical skills and quite extraordinary contributions to the Pleasance, but as the most engaging of human beings. He laughed a lot, constantly entertaining so many of those who met him, and he liked a glass of wine. He was 32.


In 2005, Minor Irritations by Sam Peter Jackson and The Comedy Reserve (featuring Simon Brodkin, Lee Bannard, Oliver Maltman and Roisin Conaty) became the first beneficiaries of the Special Reserve and both were presented at the 2005 Festival Fringe. In November 2005 Charlie Hartill's very own Aladdin - The New Pantomime became the first production in London to receive an investment from the Special Reserve Fund.  Since then we have taken one piece of theatre and four comedy acts to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every year.

Comedy Reserve Recipients:

2019 - Josh Jones, Lily Phillips, Mamoun Elagab & Mo Omar. 

2018- Helen Bauer, Jack Gleadow, Michael Odewale & Chloe Petts

2017- Catherine Bohart, Danny Clives, Sophie Duker & Nigel Ng

2016 - Alasdair Beckett-King, Jack Carroll, Kae Kurd, Tom Lucy, Darren Harriott, George Lewis, Yuriko Kotani & Michael Stranney

2015 - Malcolm Head, Tom Little, Jamali Maddix & Joe Sutherland

2014 - Chris Betts, Evelyn Mok, Phil Jerrod & Brennan Reece

2013 - Jack Barry, John Hastings , Tez Ilyas & Tom Toal 

2012 - Suzy Bennett, John Kearns, Matt Rees & Chris Turner 

2011 - Luke Benson, Jim Campbell, Julian Dean & Joe Lycett 

2010 - Tom Goodliffe, Rhys James, Mark Restuccia & Daniel Simonsen 

2009 - Doc Brown, Pat Burtscher, Jared Hardy & Chris Stokes 

2008 - Daniel Rigby, Gareth Richards, Lou Sanders & Holly Walsh 

2007 - Benny Boot, Brett Goldstein, Jack Whitehall & Tommi Walamies 

2006 - Marlon Davis, Pippa Evans, Michael Fabbri & Stuart Hudson 

2005 - Lee Bannard, Simon Brodkin, Roisin Conaty & Oliver Maltman 

Theatre Fund Recipients:

2019 - Bible John - Caitlin McEwan

2018- Freeman - Strictly Arts

2017- Flesh and Bone - Unpolished Theatre

2016 - We Are Ian - In Bed With My Brother

2015 - Molly - Squint

2014 - Lorraine & Alan - Bucket Club

2013 - Outside on the Street - Invertigo

2012 - Don Quoixte! Don Quoixte! - Panta Rei Theatre Collective

2011 - Fit for Purpose - Catherine O'Shea (Writer) / Concorde Theatre Company

2009 - A Stroke of Genius - PIT (David Bryne, Artistic Director of New Diorama Theatre)

2007 - Greedy Scratchers - Richard Marsh

2006 - The Same ... But Different - Jacob Tindle (Playwright)

2005 - Minor Irritations by Sam Peter Jackson

If you have any queries, feel free to contact us on


Donations to the fund are gratefully received and help us to continue our support of the best new talent and ideas. If you would like to donate, please email


PDF icon 2019 Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Theatre Pack.pdf PDF icon Charlie PDF shortlist.pdf

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