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Bath Comedy Festival - overview

Bath Comedy Festival 2018 – celebrating 10 years in style!

Festival Director Nick Steel says "This year sees Bath Comedy Festival enter its tenth year, and what a line-up we've got to celebrate! Opening night is 27th March and we're back at Bath's fabulous art deco Forum venue, this time with Jon Richardson giving us his first Bath gig in many years - I booked his last Bath outing many years ago at the old Widcombe Social Club and I'm over the moon to welcome him back at last! This gig will sell out any minute now."

Manuel, Basil and she who must be obeyed back by popular demand!
Other shows destined to sell out include a second visit of the fantastic Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience (Allium Brasserie at the Abbey Hotel, 3rd and 4th April) where the audience become the guests at possibly the worst hotel in the world, whilst, we might add, devouring a delicious three course meal.

German Comedy Ambassador sells out
Henning Wehn is bringing his work-in-progress show, or masterpiece-under-construction as he calls it – sorry folks, this show sold out before it even hit the world wide web!

Rachel Parris' show also sold out very quickly, the latest show to prove that this year you really need to secure your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment! But fear not - we've added an extra show at Widcombe Social Club - get in quick to secure a seat!

Wonderful Widcombe, comedy centre of the universe
Nick goes on to report: "The 10th Anniversary has warranted an expansion of the Festival to a scale hitherto not seen. Widcombe remains the spiritual home of the Festival, with the programme at Widcombe Social Club boasting some very special shows! The Club is all set to become a social hub of the Festival, with its unique venue space and newly refurbished Waterside Arts Bar - truly the place to be seen!"

The Club will be host to some wide-appeal evening shows to tickle everyone's fancy, including a six-day run of the fantastic five star cabaret Mother's Ruin, tickets for which include a free gin and tonic. The World Famous Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre will be there too, celebrating their status as the only act to have performed at every Bath Comedy Festival since its inception. Other highlights include celebrated impressionist Julian Dutton with his show about the Life & Times of John Le Mesurier, Simon Evans, Arthur Smith & The Smithereens, German Comedy Ambassador Henning Wehn, as well as Bath favourite Viv Groskop and acclaimed Australian comedian Sarah Bennetto, not to mention the Finals of the New Act Competition.

The Ring O Bells hosts a concentrated programme of seriously top quality acts performing in the wonderful intimate space which has been a firm favourite for Bath Comedy shows for many years. This year's line-up includes some fantastic talent including Rachel Parris, Ashley Storrie, Janey Godley, Arthur Smith, Archie Maddocks, Markus Birdman, Diane Spencer, Matt Green and Sally-Anne Hayward.

Ab Fab star to host famous Wine Trail Perennial flagship hit immersive show The Wine Arts Trail makes its bonkers boozy way around Bath's secret corners in the big red Routemaster bus on Sunday 8th April and rumours abound as to the wondrous delights in store this year – organisers promise a very special experience hosted by guest clippie Helen Lederer (subject to availability).

Festival on tour!
Residents of Bradford on Avon and those up for a ten minute train ride won't miss out as Radio 4 favourite Mark Steel is appearing at St Margaret's Hall on Friday 13th April, and Frome people can look forward to a walking tour with a difference – Rare Species will be presenting "Frome – The Fecund Coming" etc etc

Affordable fun!
Meanwhile, there's plenty of stuff for those of us with thin wallets, as the Affordable "Pay What You Feel" Festival returns to Bath Brew House with a plethora of free entry shows. You can guarantee a seat by purchasing a £5 ticket in advance instead – a wise choice given the way this venue fills up!

The Brew House is also host to some Fri/Sat evening bills organised by Mirth Control, featuring headliners Jonny & The Baptists, Jarred Christmas and Arthur Smith.

Brand new Apex Hotel hosts the closing Comedy Gala
Arthur Smith will also be at the Festival's glittering Closing Gala Show at the brand spanking new Apex Hotel Conference Suite – surely the best new venue Bath has seen in many years. Lucky ticket holders will enjoy characters by The Fast Show's Simon Day, a visit from Donald Trump & Melania aka ace TV and Radio impressionists Lewis MacLeod and Ronni Ancona (TBC) and a famous headliner yet to be revealed! The inaugural Lovehoney Award will be presented on the night to reward the most innuendo-laden joke writer of the Festival.

You saw it here first, folks!
The New Act Competition is now so popular that the heats have been extended to a total of twelve, to be held in the Igloo underneath the Abbey Hotel, The Westgate pub and The Bath Brew House. Our previous winners have all gone on to great things so it's all to play for, and the final should see another line-up of brand new stars in the making. The Winner will make off with the first ever Lovehoney Newcomer Award, akin to Edinburgh's famous "Perrier".

In a venue near you!
There is a whole host of other shows all over town in venues such as The Bell, The Assembly Inn, The Mission Theatre, St James Wine Vaults, Komedia and The Rondo Theatre boasts a full programme featuring such luminaries as Elf Lyons, David Mills, Tom Stade and John Otway.

How and where to book tickets
Nick Steel says: "Check out the Festival line-up online or pick up a programme around town from the beginning of March, from shops, bars and venues or the 'Polite Box' information point in Brunel Square. There are plans afoot to unveil a new popup box office at Widcombe Social Club, and look out for the Theatre Bath Bus which will be outside the station during the Festival, complete with free preview shows. I hope you enjoy this year's fantastic expanded series of events, see as much as possible and discover new comedians and venues in the process."

Check out the what's on pages which are constantly being updated with show details and bookng links, as more and more shows come online and on sale.

Read Festival press releases here.