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Editions

Comedy institute looking for new home

05 Mar 2015

Comedy institute looking for new home Image

Docklands could become home to the biggest comedy collection in the southern hemisphere.

Amassed by Australian comedy legend Peter Crofts throughout his life, the collection comprises some 30,000 humour-related books and 3000 comedy records, paraphernalia and memorabilia.

It includes some of the earliest joke books ever written, including a book printed in Britain in 1809.

Mr Crofts said the collection would form part of the Australian Institute of Comedy (AIC), which would be the go-to-hub for all things comedy and Aussie humour.

He believes the CBD or Docklands would be the perfect location for the collection.

“Sydney’s got the Opera House, Melbourne needs the comedy house,’ Mr Crofts said.

A not-for-profit organisation, the AIC would be a “national culture treasure” according to Mr Crofts.

Currently located in Murrumbeena, Mr Crofts wants to pass his collection of resources, memorabilia and paraphernalia onto a new generation of people who will value it and support it.

“As well as being a home to comedy greatness, the AIC will continue to build what will be a legacy from my own vast collection of 50 years and will provide comedy training, seminars, humour in business courses, presentation skills training and much more,” Mr Crofts said.

“I see Docklands as a creative hub and, of course, humour’s all about creativity so I would like to see laughter land in the Docklands,” he said.

Mr Crofts is widely credited as the pioneer behind the first humour festival at Melbourne University in the 1980s, which grew to become the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

His proteges include some of Australia’s top performers, including Elliot Goblet and Russell Gilbert.

Jack Levi (also known as Elliot Goblet) is part of the committee working to find a new home for Mr Crofts’ collection.

“It’s the biggest comedy collection in the southern hemisphere, so we really need to find a home for it where the public can go and experience it,” Mr Levi said.

The first fundraiser towards the cause was held at The Comic’s Lounge in North Melbourne on March 1.

“A Comedy Night for Pete’s Sake” featured comedy performances from Elliot Goblet, Russel Gilbert, Dave O’Neil, Bev Killick, Lehmo and Rod Quantock and raised significant funds.

For Mr Crofts, the most important part of finding a new home for the collection is ensuring it is open to the public to be appreciated by a wider audience.

“The immersive experience of being surrounded by physical comedic resources and bodies is a key element of the AIC,” Mr Crofts said.

“It’s ability to educate and fulfil its purpose and its value to future Australians is my greatest desire.”

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