Pussy Riot tribute band and The Boy With Tape On His Face added to comedy line-up

Amnesty International today (10 August) announced an extended line-up for its famed Stand Up For Freedom comedy night at the Edinburgh Festival on Wednesday 15 August.

5* reviewed Edinburgh hit, The Boy With Tape On His Face will be joining the multi-talented Josie Long; Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer 2011 Hannibal Buress; star of Channel 4’s ‘Stand Up For the Week’ Sara Pascoe; sketch trio Pappy’s; winner of the Edinburgh if.comedy Award David O’Doherty; comedy cabaret sensation Frisky and Mannish; and new boy on the block Rob Beckett in the Stand Up For Freedom line-up.

Amnesty International Scotland Director Shabnum Mustapha said:

“Stand Up For Freedom is always a great night out, where people can see the pick of the Fringe. It’s also a chance to do your bit to protect freedom of expression, without which the Festival simply couldn’t happen.

“We’ve always had great support from comedians, who value the right to free speech more than most. The Boy With Tape On His Face is a fitting addition to the bill, and a rare example of a comedian who keeps his mouth shut. He is mute of his own free will, but around the world countless people are censored every day because what they are saying is displeasing to people in power.”

The show will be compered by Scottish comedy favourites Fred MacAulay and Susan Calman and in another addition to the bill, a tribute band to Russian punk group Pussy Riot will also perform. The band, made up of acts from the show, will perform to demonstrate their solidarity with the three members of the Russian group currently on trial in Moscow.

Pussy Riot performed the protest song “Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin” in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow on 21 February, with several group members covering their faces in their trademark neon balaclavas. The song called on Virgin Mary to become a feminist and banish Vladimir Putin. It also criticised the support shown to Putin by some representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church. It was one of a number of performances intended as a protest against Mr Putin in the run-up to Russia’s March presidential elections.

The Russian authorities subsequently arrested Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova on 4 March, and Ekaterina Samutsevich on 15 March, claiming they were the masked singers and charging them with hooliganism. If convicted next week, the women could face up to three years in prison. Amnesty has declared them prisoners of conscience.

Shabnum Mustapha said:

“Three years for a song is utterly ludicrous. Dissent and criticism is a legitimate and essential right in any democracy.

“These women are brave ambassadors for free speech and anyone who comes to listen to these comedians singing on Wednesday will be equally brave in my book. There’s not a professional musician amongst them.”

Amnesty is hoping that a “mass text action” from the 1,200-strong audience at the Stand Up For Freedom show will help its new free Pussy Riot campaign. People can find out how to take action at www.amnesty.org.uk/pussyriot

The flagship Stand Up For Freedom gig, organised by the producers of the acclaimed Secret Policeman’s Ball, is at Venue150 at the EICC on Wednesday 15 August at 10pm.

Tickets are £18/16 and available now from www.venue150.com /span>

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