The Glee Club

Last updated
The Glee Club
Glee Logo Cut Out.png
The Glee Club logo
Location United Kingdom
OwnerComic Enterprises Ltd.
Type Comedy club, music venue
Genre(s) comedy, music, spoken word
Seating typeTheatre style
  • Birmingham: 420 (Main Room), 150 (Studio Room)
  • Cardiff: 440
  • Oxford: 240
  • Nottingham: 400 (Main Room), 200 (Studio Room)
  • Glasgow: circa 400 (seated), 800 (standing)
  • Birmingham: 1994
  • Cardiff: 2001
  • Oxford: 2010
  • Nottingham: 2010
  • Glasgow: 2019

The Glee Club is a chain of independent live stand-up comedy and live music venues in the UK. The first Glee Club was opened by Mark Tughan in Birmingham's Chinese Quarter in 1994, [1] the first dedicated comedy club to open in the United Kingdom outside London. [2]


A second branch opened in Cardiff in 2001 with a third club opening in Oxford in April 2010 and a fourth, two room club debuted in Nottingham in September 2010.

The latest club to come online is The Glee Club Glasgow which opened in February 2019.

A number of major names cut their teeth playing at The Glee, including Jack Dee, Peter Kay, Lee Mack and Ross Noble. [3]

The brand has been directly involved with numerous urban comedy festivals in their host cities, and also presented stand-up stages at major outdoor events, including V Festival from 2012-2017. The Glee Club Comedy Tent at V welcomed appearances from Sean Lock (V2012), Eddie Izzard and Josh Widdicombe (V2013), Alan Carr (V2014), Frankie Boyle and Russell Kane (V2016), [4] and Joe Lycett (V2017).

Comedy show

The Glee's regular comedy show consists of three acts from the UK and international comedy circuits introduced by a compère. The Saturday shows are often followed by a disco in some venues. All clubs also host tour shows by more established acts. Unlike many other comedy clubs, the seating for all comedy gigs is arranged in a theatre style [5] and the clubs' bars close during the performances.

Professional comedians enjoy appearing at the clubs; as Tom Allen reported: "The Glee Club people are excellent at creating an environment where people can enjoy themselves. There’s a science to getting the venue and night out right and they are great at attention to detail, everything from the welcome at the door to getting the lighting right. In the past comedy could be quite a macho environment and the Glee Clubs have been great at tackling that and making sure their bills feature diverse performers." [6]

Many professional acts also opt to play secret or low-key tour warm-up shows at The Glee. Among those who've previewed largescale theatre and arena shows, and test out new material, are John Bishop, Lee Evans, Michael McIntyre, Sarah Millican [3] and Jack Whitehall. [7]

Live music

The Glee Clubs have presented live music since April 2001, and presently host gigs in Birmingham, Nottingham, Cardiff and Glasgow. Among the acts who have appeared include Adele and Mumford and Sons. [8] Music was initially brought to the Glee Club by promoter Markus Sargeant.[ citation needed ]

The Glee Birmingham

Situated in Southside, Birmingham, The Glee's original home opened in leisure development The Arcadian on 10 September 1994, and was the first dedicated comedy club to open in the UK outside London. [2]

The 20th anniversary show, in 2014, was compered by Ross Noble. [3]

The venue is home to several unique nights including Comedy Carousel and Rough Works. Hosted and created by comedian Andy Robinson, Comedy Carousel has won several awards including multiple What's On Readers' Awards for Best Comedy Club Night and a Chortle Award for Best Comedy Club Show 2015, [9] [10] while actress and comedian Jo Enight's Rough Works provides a platform for new and established acts try out new material. Also taking place at the club is The Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award, which recognises new and emerging talent from the West Midlands.

Many local comics have graced the Glee's stage, including Jasper Carrott, Joe Lycett, Lenny Henry and Guz Khan.

The Glee Cardiff

A second branch opened in Cardiff in 2001 and is located in the Mermaid Quay development in Cardiff Bay. The opening night line-up included Mark Lamarr [3] and was "an instant hit" with audiences. [11]

The venue has a seated capacity of 440 and a standing capacity of 600. [12] ITV Wales broadcast a series of eight stand up shows from the venue in 2006. [13]

It won the Chortle Award for Best Venue (Wales and West) 10 times between 2002-2017. [14] [15]

The Glee Oxford

The third Glee Club opened in Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford in April 2010 with a one-off appearance from Shappi Khorsandi and Angelos Epithemiou, and went on to host appearances from Sarah Millican, Russell Kane, Ross Noble and Jack Whitehall.

Due to redevelopment of the area, the club relocated to The Bullingdon in Cowley Road, Oxford, on 14 January 2017. [16] Appearing on opening night were Tom Allen and Ellie Taylor. [6] Tom described appearing as "a big honour."

The Glee Nottingham

A fourth, two room club debuted in Nottingham on 15 September 2010. [17]

Situated in the British Waterways Building, on The Waterfront development, the venue programmes comedy, music and special events. Hollywood actor and Academy Award winner Tim Robbins and his Rogues Gallery Band was the venue's first music show, [17] while a pre-fame Jake Bugg had a residency here in 2011,. [18]

The club also hosts regular cabaret and burlesque nights hosted by The Gilded Merkin. [19]

The Glee Glasgow

The Glee Club Glasgow opened on 1 February 2019 in Renfrew Street, and featured a rare club appearance by Sean Lock, plus Gary Little, Geoff Norcott and MC Jay Lafferty. [20] [21]

The club was planned for several years, and is open for regular mixed bill comedy nights on Fridays and Saturdays, with touring shows at other times. [11]

A mural in the entrance/ bar area depicts Scottish comedians Kevin Bridges, Billy Connolly and Frankie Boyle by local artist Michael Scott. [22]


Related Research Articles


Jongleurs is a chain of comedy clubs in the United Kingdom, running since 1983.

Toilet circuit

The toilet circuit is the network of small music venues in the United Kingdom which rising indie, rock and metal bands often visit to gain support and promote themselves. The name may refer to the size and often the cleanliness of the venue, or a lack of dressing rooms leading to the band being required to change in the toilets.

Josie Long

Josie Long is a British comedian. She started performing as a stand-up at the age of 14 and won the BBC New Comedy Awards at 17.

<i>The Sitcom Trials</i>

The Sitcom Trials is a stage and TV show devised, produced, and presented by Kev F. Sutherland. Beginning in Bristol in 1999, it showcases new sitcoms and comedy items in a head-to-head format. The audience then vote for the one they like best and only see the ending of the winner.

Tom Binns

Christopher Thomas Binns is a British comedian, best known for his character Hospital Radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury.

Rhod Gilbert Welsh comedian

Rhodri Paul Gilbert is a Welsh comedian and television & radio presenter who was nominated in 2005 for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award. In 2008 he was nominated for the main comedy award.

CrossCountry Train operating company in the United Kingdom

CrossCountry is a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Arriva UK Trains, operating the Cross Country franchise. It operates intercity and other long-distance trains across Great Britain, but does not serve Greater London. It operates the UK's longest direct rail service, from Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland to Penzance in western Cornwall, which has a journey time of more than 13 hours.

The Chortle awards were set up in 2002 by the comedy website Chortle to honour the best of established stand-up comics currently working in the UK. As of 2002, the Chortle Awards are the only UK-based awards that solely honour the live work of stand-up comedians at a professional level. A panel of reviewers draw up a shortlist, which is presented for public vote at the Chortle website.

Nottingham Comedy Festival is an annual festival held in Nottingham, England each November. It started in 2009 with 50 acts in 10 venues over 9 days and each year continues to grow but continues to organise the festival and other NCF events along with a small group of volunteers,

James Acaster English comedian

James William Acaster is an English comedian originally from Kettering, Northamptonshire, who now lives in London.

Elis James Welsh comedian

Owain Elis James is a Welsh comedian, broadcaster and actor originally from Haverfordwest. He grew up in Carmarthen and later lived in Cardiff. He is now based in London. He is bilingual in Welsh and English and has performed stand-up in both languages.

Just the Tonic is a comedy club with branches in Nottingham and Leicester, which also takes acts to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The club opened in Nottingham in 1994, followed by a Leicester branch in 2012.

Bob Slayer is an Edinburgh Comedy Award winning comedian and promoter. He has been part of a new economic model for venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which has made the event fairer and more affordable for comedians and audiences. Acts that have performed at his venues have won and been nominated for a number of prestigious awards.

Jay Shareef is an award-winning British stand-up comedian, broadcaster, podcaster and social commentator, also known by the stage name Jay Islaam.

The Midlands Comedy Awards are an annual awards ceremony for live comedy performers and comedy clubs based in The Midlands region of England. It also recognises achievement in online comedy. They were founded in 2014 and give out awards in eleven categories every year.

Birmingham Comedy Festival is an annual arts festival in the city of Birmingham. The festival takes place throughout the city for 10 days during October. While primarily focused on stand-up comedy, it also includes films, theatre, cabaret, visual arts, spoken word, music, dance.

Suzi Ruffell is a British comedian, writer, and actress.


  1. Doors will open on an improved Glee club Birmingham Post, 25 October 2001
  2. 1 2 Brum loses out in comedy stakes Evening Mail, 8 October 2003
  3. 1 2 3 4 Laws, Roz. "Birmingham's first comedy club The Glee Club celebrates 20 years of jokes", Birmingham Post , Birmingham, 5 September 2014. Retrieved on 28 October 2005.
  4. Falconer, Daniel. "V Festival comedy headliners announced - Frankie Boyle and Russell Kane to take centre stage", Female First, 23 April 2015. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  5. Live Comedy At The Glee Club
  6. 1 2 Hughes, Tim. "Much Glee: TV funnyman Tom Allen launches comedy club in new Oxford home", Oxford Mail , Oxford, 12 January 2017. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  7. Howard, Bronte "Jack Whitehall Surprised Fans With A Secret Gig Last Night" Wales Online, Cardiff, 18 January 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2019
  9. "What's On Readers' Awards 2017"
  10. " - Comedy Carousel"
  11. 1 2 "Interview with Glee Comedy Owner Mark Tughan", British Comedy Guide , 25 January. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  12. Live Music At The Glee Club
  13. ITV Glee - Late-night showcase for stand-up Chortle, April 23, 2006
  14. Cardiff Glee Club Chortle
  15. 2009 Chortle Awards Chortle
  16. Oliver, Mark. "Glee Club in Oxford finds new home for comedy nights at The Bullingdon in Cowley Road", Oxford Mail , Oxford, 15 September 2016. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  17. 1 2 Whiter, Tom. "Glee Club aims to 'break some new ground' in Nottingham", BBC , Nottingham, 17 August 2010. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  18. Atkinson, Mike. "The gig venue guide: The Glee Club, Nottingham", The Guardian , London, 31 March 2015. Retrieved on 28 October 2005.
  19. Pinchess, Lynette. "Birmingham's first comedy club The Glee Club celebrates 20 years of jokes", nottingham Post , Nottingham, 15 February 2018. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  20. Glasgow's newest comedy club has announced its opening date
  21. The Scotsman: Comedy review: Sean Lock, Gary Little and Geoff Norcott, The Glee, Glasgow
  22. Murray, Graeme. "New comedy club puts Glasgow icons in the picture", The National, Glasgow, 16 February 2019. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  23. 1 2 3 Midlands Comedy Awards
  24. "News: Midlands Comedy Awards Full Results". Beyond The Joke. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  25. Plunkett, John. "Who won the Chortle Awards 2017", Chortle (website) , London, 20 March 2017. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  26. "What's On Readers' Awards 2017",, West Midlands spring 2017. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  27. "What's On Readers' Awards 2018 - acceptance speech", YouTube , West Midlands 29 March 2018. Retrieved on 22 February 2019.
  28. "James Acaster and Kiri-Pritchard McLean lead Chortle awards", Chortle (website) , London, 18 March 2019. Retrieved on 19 March2019.
  29. "What's On Readers' Awards 2019 - Winner Announced", via What's On Birmingham Twitter , West Midlands 21 March 2019.

"Could hit TV show Glee be about to vanish from our screens after High Court ruling?". Wales Online. Retrieved 7 February 2014.