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Nina Conti

Nina Conti

The quick-witted queen of ventriloquism.

Although sweet and softly spoken, London-born Nina Conti has been shaking up the male-dominated world of comic puppetry since the early 2000s. A classically trained actress, she got her start on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where theatre director Ken Campbell introduced her to the world of ventriloquism.

Conti won the BBC New Comedy Award in 2002 and she debuted her solo show Complete And Utter Conti at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2007. A Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival followed in 2008.

Over the years Conti has been seen on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief, Live At The Apollo, Russell Howard’s Good News and 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Among Conti’s best-loved puppets are Monkey (also known as “Monk”) and Granny, the Scottish grandmother, as well as loud-mouthed New Yorker Lydia and posh-sounding Owl. Plus, she often has volunteers from the audience come up on stage and wear a mask covering the lower part of their face that she manipulates.

The Telegraph describes Conti as “gut-bustlingly funny”, while The Guardian calls her shows “a plate-spinning feat, a hoot” and the London Evening Standard says “you will see nothing like it on stage”.

In addition to her live shows and TV comedy appearances, Conti created the documentary Her Master’s Voice in 2012 about a pilgrimage to Kentucky following the death of Campbell, her ventriloquist mentor. The BAFTA-nominated film was named the Most Entertaining Documentary at the Grierson Awards.

Later that year, Conti released a second documentary, Make Me Happy: A Monkey’s Search for Happiness, that was nominated for two British Comedy Awards.

In 2013, Conti portrayed Bea Chadwick in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary Family Tree. She has since made the 2015 film Clowning Around in which she trains as a giggle doctor with Theodora Children’s Charity and released the eight-episode web show Nina Conti: In Therapy in 2017, with a second series added in 2020.

In late January 2021, the renowned ventriloquist announced a pioneering new UK tour called The Dating Show for late 2021 and early 2022.

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