Award-winning self-titled ‘wobbly comedian’, writer and actress Francesca Martinez will host this year’s National Fundraising Awards on 1 July.
Martinez launched her comedy career in 2000, beating a thousand UK comedians including Mathew Horne, Karl Theobald and Jimmy Carr, to become the only woman to win the Open Mic Award. She has performed in Australia, Ireland, France, Sweden, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, in Hollywood, on Broadway and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland alongside actress Emma Thompson.
She has also appeared on numerous TV shows, including five series of BBC’s Grange Hill, BBC2’s Extras opposite Kate Winslet, BBC3’s Russell Howard’s Good News, and ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show, as well as two series of Channel 4’s Very British Problems, and three consecutive series of RTE’s The Saturday Night Show. In addition, Martinez has written and performed in verse for BBC 3’s Shakespeare Centenary and The Verb.
A regular commentator on TV and radion, she was also voted most popular guest on BBC3’s Free Speech, is a regular on Channel 4 News and has made several appearances on Radio 4’s hugely popular The News Quiz alongside Jeremy Hardy.
In 2018 she completed a 140-date tour of her award winning show ‘WHAT THE **** IS NORMAL?!’, as well as starring with Kevin Hely in her first BBC Radio 4 play How We’re Loved. This year, she is finishing a commissioned new play for The National Theatre.
Martinez also delivers motivational and after dinner speeches across the globe and in 2005 was nominated for the ‘Motivator of the Year’ Award along with Sir Bob Geldof. She was awarded Public Affairs Achiever of the Year 2013, nominated a Top Ten Game Changer in BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Power List 2014, and Hero of the Year in the European Diversity Awards.
Her other accomplishments include a popular Tedx talk, collecting 100,000 signatures for the WOW campaign leading to a historic debate in the House of Commons, and making global headlines in 2008 when she became the first Olympic Torch-Bearer to pull out of the London relay in protest at China’s treatment of Tibet.
She has an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University ‘for making Britain a more compassionate and fairer society’, and a second honorary doctorate from Bradford University ‘for her contributions to equality, inclusive thought and social commentary’.
The awards take place on 1 July, during Fundraising Convention.
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