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Keith Donnelly

The funniest thing to happen to folk music since the banjo!Keith

In no particular order Keith has been described as -

  • a superbly original Stand-Up
  • a great singer-songwriter
  • a fine guitarist
  • a kids' entertainer par excellence
  • a stunning storyteller
  • 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!

Keith and Lauren


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


1st/2nd July
KD + D&S
Gate to Southwell

7th - 8th July - KD
Bromsgrove Festival

9th July - KD
Ely Festival

21st - 23rd July
D&S + KD
Festival at the Edge.

27th - 30th July
KD + D&S
Warwick Folk Festival

3rd August - D&S
Tump Folk Club

12th - 13th Aug - KD
Dartmoor Folk Festival

18th - 25th Aug - KD
Whitby Folk Week

1st - 3rd Sept
KD + D&S
Bunkfest, Wallingford

5th Sept - KD
St Neots Folk Club

9th - 10th Sept - KD
Bromyard Festival

17th Nov - D&S
Church House
South Tawton, Nr Okehampton

Donnelly & South's Christmas Cracker
Starts Here!

30th Nov - D&S
Skirwith Village Hall
Church Street, Skirwith, Penrith, CA10 1RL
as part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme

1st Dec - D&S
Levens Village Hall
Lowgate, Levens, LA8 8NL as part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme

2nd Dec - D&S
Newton & Bywell Community Hall
Newton, Stocksfield
NE43 7UL

as part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme

3rd Dec - D&S
Edmundbyers Village Hall
Edmundbyers, Consett, CoDurham

as part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme

8th Dec - D&S
Potteries Folk
The Cafe, Fenton Town Hall, 1 Albert Sq, Fenton, Stoke on Trent, ST4 3FA

9th Dec - D&S
Warkworth Memorial Hall, Northumberland.

10th Dec - D&S
Howick Village Hall
Howick, Alnwick
NE66 3LE as part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme

11th Dec - D&S
Stirling Folk Club
Stirling Rugby Club, Bridgehaugh Park, Causewayhead Road, Stirling, FK9 5AP

16th Dec - D&S
St Mary's Church,
Lowdham, Nottinghamshire, NG12 5EN

17th Dec - D&S
Village hall, School Lane, Springthorpe DN21 5QD