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Keith Donnelly

KeithThe funniest thing to happen to folk music since the banjo!

In no particular order Keith has been described as -

  • a great singer-songwriter
  • a stunning storyteller
  • a fine guitarist
  • a superbly original stand-up
  • a kids' entertainer par excellence
  • the cleanest comic I’ve ever seen

Keith is available to play: festivals and clubs, nurseries and schools, arts centres and theatres, colleges and universities, TV and radio, after dinner entertainment and parties, corporate and charity events throughout the UK and indeed the world. He plays shows for adults, children and mixed family audiences. Scroll to the bottom of the page for details of his Chritstmas Show.

Stand-up comic, fall-down comedian, surreal snigger-songwriter, guitar-hero, performance-artist, [tall] story-teller, philophoser, scriptwriter, [none can] compere, man-of-mystery, inner-childminder, actor, stuntman, life and soul of the [kids] party, raconteur, author, wit, half-wit, secret[sh!]-agent, [Vauxhall] astral-traveller, Geordie-cultural-attache, word-juggler, unexpected clairvoyant, dream-weaver, daydream believer, psycho-linguist, smile sculptor, [compulsive] lying-tamer, Great-British eccentric, [alleged], champion tiddly-winker, sanddancer, friend to the pantomime horse, and... all-round good egg.

Never, ever, offensive - safe to bring your kids, your mother or your great-great-granny too!


And now Keith is doubling up to duo-land. He is available with the lovely Lauren South. This gives Keith the opportunity to air some of his more serious songs and to play for Lauren's beautiful singing.



Just in case you were worried he was turning too serious, here's Keith's version of Bohemian Wellerman from his hilarious SHANTYSKEPTIC SHOW

For festivals Keith offers: mainstage one-man-shows, family shows, MC-ing, meet-the-artist, round-robins and workshops (The Bits Between the Songs is his most popular, but there's also The Serious Side of Keith Donnelly, and the Workshop Workshop). He's a veritable one-man festival.

His Shantyskeptic show is new for 2023

Keith also offeres storytelling for children in schools and at festivals and any other events you can imagine.


The Real Biography

Keith started playing guitar in his teens, on a ‘beaten up old monster’ that his dad had traded with a Norwegian Sailor. He had Classical lessons for a couple of years in South Shields, the perfect grounding for the finger-picking style he went on to develop for accompanying his original songs. Whilst studying (Psychology and Education) at Warwick University he met and teamed up with the Multi-Instrumental Singer Songwriter Martyn Oram, and the two worked for a couple of happy (and poor!) years as Waterfall, eventually becoming a trio when Gilly Derby joined in 1980.

Keith and Gilly worked as Little Aeroplane for a while with a successful album of the same name, before becoming Nothing By Chance. doing numerous national and international tours, culminating in the album ‘Ghosts of Love’ for Chrysalis and their own BBC special (first shown on BBC2 then repeated on BBC1 due to public demand) and had reached ‘Cult Status’ (Keith says this means they made lots of money for other people) by the early 90's.

In his solo projects, from the early nineties onwards, Keith’s comedy genius has been allowed to flourish. He has written substantial live Stand-Up routines and TV material for the likes of Phil Cool and Jasper Carrott, as well as having written for TV companies such as Celador (the 'Who wants to be a Millionaire' people) and Ragdoll (the 'Tellytubbies' people). In the last couple of decades Keith has played at literally hundreds of festivals, colleges and universities, arts centres and theatres, comedy clubs, etc. etc. in the UK and worldwide, as well as being widely in demand for After-Dinner Speaking and Corporate Events. He also script-writes light-hearted speeches for corporate events.

He also runs Storytelling and Music and Song workshops at Stratford YHA and works as often as his schedule allows with nursery and primary schools across the country bringing live music and story to preschool children.

He has worked for one series on BBC 1's Pebble Mill writing and performing a new humorous topical song each week and has done the difficult 'warm-up-man' job on many TV shows and live tours.

Keith and bear

Keith and Friend at Warwick Folk Festival in the family concert



KD = Keith solo
D&S = Donnelly & South


Sat 11th May KD
Folk on the Pier

Cromer Pier

25-26th May D&S
Chippenham Folk Fest

Thur 30th MayLS

Sat 1st Jun KD

Sun 2nd Jun LS

6-7th July KD
Gate to Southwell Festival

25th-28th July D&S
Warwick Folk Festival

5th August D&S
Lighthorne FC

11th - 12th Aug D&S
Broadstairs Folk Week

5th $ 8th D&S
Bromyard Festival

Sat 7th-8th Sep KD
Swanage Folk Fest


Donnelly & South's Christmas Cracker
Starts Here!

Wed 27th Nov D&S Cottingham Live
The Back Room 173 Hallgate HU16 4BB

Sat 30th Nov D&S
Morton Concerts

New Day Baptist Church, Morton, Bourne PE10 0NR, UK

Sun 1st Dec D&S
Scrag End Folk

The Railway Inn, 31 Ashby Road, Moira DE12 6DJ

Thur 5th Dec D&S
Bideford Folk

Joiners Arms, Market Place, Bideford. EX39 2DR

Sun 8th Dec D&S
Folk on the Moor

The Moorland Hotel, Wotter, Plymouth, PL7 5HP

Wed 11th Dec D&S
Xmas Costa Festival

Hayling Island

Thur 12th Dec KD
Xmas Costa Festival

Hayling Island

Sat 14th Dec D&S
Anteros Arts,

11-15 Fye Bridge Street, Norwich, NR3 1IL

Fri 20th Dec



Fri 3rd Jan KD
Poynton Phoenix Folk

Sat 1st March KD
Private gig, Gloucester

Fri 7th March (Lauren, solo)
Poynton Phoenix Folk

Fri 11th April D&S Woodman Folk Ashwood Marina, Ashwood Lower Lane, Kingswinford, DY6 0AQ

Wed 30th April KD
Banbury Folk