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Keith Donnelly

Keith Donnelly in water

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

Keith's Own Website / Hi Res Pic

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.

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, metaphysical-poet, human ping-pong ball, life and soul of the [kids] party, world-class athlete, leading socialite, raconteur, business tycoon, wit, author, half-wit, secret[sh!]-agent, [vauxhall] astral-traveller, shaman, geordie-cultural-attache, word-juggler, snake-charmer, underline-dancer, unexpected clairvoyant, dream-weaver, daydream believer, psycho-linguist, shark-wrangler, smile sculptor, [compulsive] lying-tamer, Great-British eccentric, [alleged] international-jewel-thief, hot-dog-skier, alien-abductee, zen grand-master, champion tiddly-winker, sandancer, friend to the pantomime horse, erstwhile slice of bacon, and... all-round good egg.

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

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.

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

Keith specialises in highly interactive stories and songs for children, inviting their participation, stretching their imaginations and stimulating creativity, with every tale and tune. His repertoire is such that he seems to have songs and stories for every imaginable topic [as well as many that you won’t have imagined yet!]. All of his songs, and many of his stories, are accompanied by Keith’s unique Guitar [and occasionally Didgeridoo] playing

To say kids love Keith is like saying they love chocolate, it just goes without saying! 
Keith's stories and songs will have children of all ages [and any grown-ups in the area!] in stitches. 
He specialises in infectious interactive tales and tunes, guaranteed to get everyone joining in. 
You really haven't seen children’s entertainment until you've seen Keith entertain children!

Keith Donnelly sings Jesus at the Airport

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 Gilley 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 Friend at Warwick Folk Festival in 2012 in the family concert Keith and bear













Keith's bonkers xmas

The brightest start to Xmas this side of Rudolph's nose!
Jokes, Stories and Singalong Songs, guaranteed to kick start Xmas as only the inimitable Keith Donnelly can.
For anyone who prefers Christmas to be more [Eric] Morecambesque than [Michael] Bublified, Keith’s Xmas show is the one for you. Having written for many years for the likes of Jasper [‘Keith could make sheep laugh!’] Carrott and Phil [‘Keith made me blow a whole cheese sandwich out of my nose!’] Cool, Keith has had audiences rolling in the aisles, at hundreds of Shows and Festivals, all over the world for the last few decades.
Down the Chimney! Off the Wall!
The most fun you can have this Xmas without mistletoe!