Adédàmọ́lá Láoyè will be the 107th person to hold the roleLouis Ashworth/Adédàmọ́lá Láoyè

Adédàmọ́lá Láoyè, a finalist at Wolfson in Politics and International Relations, has been elected to lead Footlights, the famous student comedy troupe, in 2021-2022, announced by outgoing secretary Lara Mandell last week (04/05).

Láoyè produced Danai Gurira’s The Convert last at the ADC, the first all-black ADC show. In his manifesto, Láoyè emphasised his “desire to make the comedy scene inclusive for all students.”

During the pandemic Láoyè oversaw the transition to virtual performances as the Footlights’ Smokers’ Officer, and has also coordinated the Wolfson Howler, a popular monthly stand-up night which saw him work with comedians such as Phil Wang. As a producer he staged FootDarks: Edinburgh Fringe in 2019.

Láoyè told Varsity that he was “‘pretty stunned” at the news of his election to find out he had won, which he received while “in the middle of battling a very temperamental network reception, on the phone with my grandmother, back home in Nigeria.”

Láoyè seeks to draw on his early experience of theatre in the university in order to focus on increasing access to the comedy scene in Cambridge, feeling “a huge sense of responsibility to serve the entire theatre and comedy community.” For Láoyè, this means “providing a creative and welcoming environment for BIPOC, disabled, LGBTQ+, women, and NB people, also including students from regionally neglected areas to feel able and comfortable to hone their comedic skills on the biggest stages within Cambridge.”

“The Footlights have a long-standing reputation of being an exclusive clique occupied by white-middle class students, and while there remain persistent structural access issues that the University need to continue to address, I want to do away with the idea that there is some sort of hierarchy within Cambridge theatre and comedy and emphasize that the Footlights prioritise the development and well-being of the entire comedy community in Cambridge.”

The Nigerian Guardian has written of Láoyè’s that his “leadership at the forefront of change in Cambridge has served to legitimise the voices of fellow Nigerians and black students within both the university and theatre scenes.”


Mountain View

The Convert deserves our attention

As well as looking forward to resuming in-person smokers and shows again in Cambridge, Láoyè aims to increase access into the industry across all levels, from focusing on access efforts in schools in “historically disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances”, to increasing workshops with industry experts for Cambridge students.

His upcoming projects include an inaugural footlights comedy web series merging comedy and film, which will offer first and second year comedians “a chance to perform and draw on the experience of the membership body.”

“It’s going to be a jam-packed year of comedy and I just can’t wait till we can all meet in person again and bask in the exhilarating energy of a full auditorium once again.”