Now in their fifteenth year, the Funny Women Awards have received a record number of applicants - the Stage Award, alone, received over 400 entries. That number has now been pruned down to 70 female comedians who will compete at this month's regional final stage. The search for the next female comedy icon (previous winners and finalists have included Katherine Ryan, Zoe Lyons, Jayde Adams, Desiree Burch, Harriet Braine, Sara Pascoe, Sarah Millican and Susan Calman) will now visit Dublin, London, Brighton and Manchester between February 10 - 28. The charity final will be held on 12 March, 2018 at The Duchess Theatre in London, and is hosted by Jan Ravens (Dead Ringers, Spitting Image). The Regional Finals will be hosted, in the above order, by Aine Gallagher, Rosie Jones (recently seen in Silent Witness), Sarah Keyworth, Sindhu Vee (Sindhustan, BBC Radio 4), Julie Jepson and Mrs Barbara Nice (aka Janice Connolly, star of Coronation Street, That Peter Kay Thing, Phoenix Nights, Max and Paddy's Road To Nowhere). Meanwhile, the finalists of the of the Comedy Shorts Award will have their films screened at a special event at The Vault Festival, London on March 4, hosted by Suzy Bennett and Sooz Kempner. More details below. Funny Women founder, Lynne Parker said: "We have received a record number of entries this year across all four categories (Stage Award, Comedy Shorts, Comedy Writing Award and Best Show Award) and over 400 women competed in live heats for the coveted Stage Award." "Women have such a strong and important voice in the comedy industry and so many of today's big names have taken part in the awards at the beginning of their careers. I am excited to see who comes next!"